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Barbell Rollouts

In past entries, I have highlighted various homemade  ab wheels designs.  I also wrote an article on the subject in early 2008.   Standing rollouts are definitely one of my favorite exercises for the core.  I regularly receive emails however from individuals who do not have access to wheels at their gym or are not looking to build one.

Traditional ab wheels only cost around $10, but I realize that you may not want to bring equipment to a commercial gym.  If this is the case, a barbell can be used to perform rollouts (standing or from the knees).  The video below includes a few brief demonstrations of the barbell rollout.

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As you can see within the video, resistance bands can be easily added to the barbell to perform an assisted version of the standing rollout.  It’s much easier to add a resistance band to a barbell than an ab wheel.  The band seen within the video is actually a pallet band used for commercial shipping.

To perform the resistance band rollout, first attach the band to a secure object (ex. power rack).  Within the video, I actually used a heavily weighted trap bar.  I then slid a 5 pound plate under each side to prevent it from rolling.  You can see the slip-knot below.

Next, simply loop the other end around your barbell.

As you roll forward, tension within the band will increase.  This will help you to maintain control as you descend, and will then help you return to the starting position.  The band essentially pulls you back (similarly to a band assisted pull-up).  If you are looking to perform your first standing rollout, the resistance band may be one useful progression.

Additional progressions can be seen here (partial rollouts and ramp rollouts) and here (with lashing straps).

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21 Comments so far

  1. macoelmeco February 21st, 2010 2:21 am

    Just tried this one, thanks!!

  2. Nonick February 21st, 2010 12:43 pm

    Might be a good alternative for doing the pushup to roll out.

  3. Jim February 21st, 2010 2:08 pm

    I’m wondering what you are using too get the bar to roll in your hands?

  4. Lee Newton February 21st, 2010 4:30 pm

    I will be trying this next week, thanks Ross! The same or similar can also be performed with the gymnastic rings that you have advertised on this page.

  5. Administrator February 21st, 2010 4:39 pm


    The weight plates roll. You don’t need to put anything in your hands. Just grab the bar.

  6. T Vitiello February 21st, 2010 8:57 pm

    This is a good exercise, it’s really challenging to try and hold the position for a minute.

  7. Tiny February 22nd, 2010 1:38 pm

    Did these for the first time on sunday – total coincidence. Bloody hard work, so probably worth repeating!

  8. [...] Don’t have an ab wheel? Substitute the barbell rollout. This is one of my personal favorites for all-around core [...]

  9. Ollie February 22nd, 2010 5:47 pm

    Thanks for this video Ross, I’ve been doing standing rollouts for a few months and adding the resistance band to a bar for some help, allowed me to get my first fully stretched roll out!!

  10. Ibrahim February 22nd, 2010 11:36 pm

    Just creative and hardcore at the same time.
    Man to watch the close grip variation hurt but it can help to have some memorable workouts :)

    Great video

  11. LeslieW February 24th, 2010 3:08 am

    Nice, Dan John talks a bit about BB rollouts in his new book.

    One idea I’ve had recently for working with Barbell plates rather than just a bar at a “conventional” gym is to just grab the plate and treat it like a “homemade” kettlebell.

    YouTube video here:

    Of course, the BB plate needs to have the proper holes, but some of you will get lucky =)

  12. 02/24/10 – The year is already 15% done! February 24th, 2010 6:23 am

    [...] Barbell Rollouts – Good for the core [...]

  13. T Vitiello February 24th, 2010 12:19 pm

    I added a variation to this. When you are almost fully extended, lift your body off the ground. It’s an extended push up and it’s intense.

  14. Administrator February 24th, 2010 12:39 pm

    Keep in mind that the legs/body do not touch the ground during a true standing rollout. If the body/legs touch, it makes the movement much easier (particularly as you reverse from bottom to top).

  15. joe February 24th, 2010 10:35 pm

    whats the song name?

  16. Sheryl Blystone February 25th, 2010 7:19 pm

    Thank you Ross! With your idea of the barbell plus resistance bands, I was finally able to perform rollouts. I am thrilled with the functionality of the move. Plus, it’s fun and I am sore. Definetely a “keeper.”

  17. Chris March 29th, 2010 4:24 am

    Great idea..I always wanted to see a variation of these exercises…Thank you!

  18. Tyciol April 14th, 2010 5:10 pm

    I notice the light plates, I wonder if the elevation due to the larger radius of the heavy ones allows your chest to sink deeper?

  19. Administrator April 14th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Larger plates are actually much easier to roll. Give it a try and you’ll quickly notice the difference.

  20. macco May 14th, 2012 4:55 am

    This is great, awesome!

  21. reinhold January 3rd, 2013 5:17 am

    Wow, great video with great music. The resistance band tip is awesome.

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