Your dad had an old-school ab wheel down in the basement-right next to his Bullworker, his wood-framed tennis racket, and the stash of Playboys he kept in his fake toolbox. Nobody ever used it, though, because the ab wheel isn't a fitness gimmick. If you want results, it makes you work for them.
"If you don't have stability in your abs, you're going to get crushed when you try to squat heavy," says Jay DeMayo, head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Richmond's nationally ranked basketball program. "Ab wheel exercises are tough, but they're the best way to develop the kind of stability you need to get stronger.”
You’ll probably have to work your way up to performing ab wheel rollouts the right way—meaning you start in a standing position. But once you're capable of using your abs to maneuver your body parallel to the floor and then back to a standing position, you’ll find yourself getting stronger in all your main lifts, especially your squats.
“The idea [to keep in mind] when you’re progressing with these,” says DeMayo, “is to start with your upper body higher up, then work your way down to the actual ab wheel, which is very low to the ground.”