January 22, 2023


Strength training almost always involves some form of planking. The plank could be in the form of a push up or it could be a plank held as a plank. Lots of folks pride themselves on holding planks for long durations. But being an impatient trainee myself, I enjoy making planks harder. The ab wheel is a popular tool found in gyms and homes. It's a little steel pipe with a wheel in the middle. You hold it with both arms and roll the wheel forward and back while maintaining as steady a hip and spine as possible. Your abdomen has to brace and hold tension as your spine extends and elongates. This movement is called anti-extension. People butcher this movement while they perform it. Often because ab-wheels are terrible to use. They are far too narrow. The point of the ab-rollout is to challenge your abdomen, spine and muscles around the hips. Not your shoulder stability. Enter another toy that we made in Madras: the ab-axle. 

When designing and building our own ab wheel, we asked ourselves: If the point is to make the plank as hard as possible, why not put the shoulders in the best position that we can. So we took a 25 mm stainless rod, knurled it (diamond pattern) for better grip, machined it to fit two high density plastic wheels on either end. We put a bearing in each wheel for good measure and the smoothest spin. 

I can't help but fidget and play with the wheel when I am not training on it. But when you do train with it, the difference between our ab-axle and a traditional ab-wheel is noticeable to put it mildly. It challenges you more in the right sort of way. It's easier to brace and maintain a steady hip. Do you need an ab-axle for effective abdominal training? NO! But it does make doing roll outs so much more fun? YES and that fills me with joy. As always we made this in Madras less than 10 kms from our doorstep.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility