Home-made Ab-wheels: A step by step guide

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Smitfire, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Home-made Ab-wheels

    Inspired by this article http://www.rosstraining.com/articles/wheel.html by functional fitness guru Ross Enamait on the construction of his homemade Ab-wheels, I set about seeing if I could make my own set using products available to people in the UK.

    I bought the Ab-wheel pictured below from Asda a couple of years ago and really rate it as a piece of exercise equipment. However, having seen what Ross could achieve working with a set of wheels in each hand I wanted to emulate him (I can hope right?) and also expand the versatility this type of equipment can offer.


    Finding the Components

    Initially I found it pretty tricky to find decent wheels that would also fit onto a suitable handle. Nowhere could I find hex or coach bolts long enough to really do the job (as used for Ross’s wheels). The wheels I found also tended to be quite lightweight such as pram wheels that didn’t look robust enough for heavy or extended use.

    Eventually, I settled on a combination of items from two suppliers, Screwfix and B&Q.


    What follows is a list of components you will need to construct a pair of hand-held wheels.

    The following items were purchased from Screwfix.
    I’m lucky enough to work just over the road from a Screwfix centre and so saved on postage and packing. If ordered from the website you will need to add £5 to the overall cost of the project.

    4x Rubber tyred wheels (160mm diameter) (Code number 18206) @ £4.99 each = £19.96
    1x Pack of 10 hose clips (16-25mm) (Code number 11187) = £2.79

    From B&Q I purchased the following components. Again I got them directly from a store so saved on any postage (they are not actually available online anyway).

    1 x Chrome plated tubing 19mm x 0.91m (A003AC) = £5.48
    1 x Climaflex pipe insulating tube 15mm-13mm-1m (013571170107) = 42p

    Total cost of components = £28.65

    At nearly £29 the wheels have turned out to be more expensive than I’d initially wanted to spend but feel the robust nature of the components has resulted in a very hardwearing end result.

    The parts for each complete wheel look like this…


    Additional items needed for construction are:-

    A hacksaw
    A metal file or emery paper
    A roll of gaffer tape (I had a roll that cost £5.34 left from a previous project, you’ll only need a little bit to finish off the grips…any left over will undoubtedly come in handy for repairing damaged punch-bags, mats or rattan Kali sticks)
    Sharp scissors
    A flat headed screwdriver
    Marker pen (one suitable for writing on CDs will work on the chrome well enough)


    The first step is to cut two lengths of chrome tubing to form the handles.
    I allowed 150mm for the grip area (you may want to reduce or expand this to suit your hands) and 90mm for each end, therefore I needed tubes 330mm long.
    When they are cut, a metal file may come in handy to clean up any rough edges (a tip here is to use the ends of the tubing as bought from the shop, that way you only have one rough hand-cut end per handle).

    Take one handle and fix two hose grips on it so that there is 150mm (or hand sized gap) between each inner edge leaving roughly 78mm free at each end.
    It should look something like this…


    Next, slot a wheel on each end and secure with another two hose clips. Make sure you bend in the bit of the hose clips left sticking out when fully tightened so you don’t catch yourself on it.

    One wheel should now be largely complete and should look something like this…


    (An amendment I would make here is to reduce the width of the grip area to about 110mm and so move the wheels further in from the end. I found that on tightening the two end hose-clips that they distorted the tubing.
    There’s a chance this might compromise the overall construction.
    150mm turned out to be more than enough width for the grip anyway so the wheels could easily be brought in a bit.
    A grip that is too wide also brings in the possibility that the chrome pipe may bend when in use and shorter grips would make this less likely to happen.
    I weigh 83k and they’ve stood up well enough so far, however I’m not sure how they stand up to anyone heavier using them.)

    Repeat this process with the other handle and you should end up with a pair of wheels like this…


    Although the wheels are now able to be used , after a couple of sessions on them I found that the handles were a little thin for my hands so I wanted to bulk them up a bit and make them more comfortable.

    If you want to do the same with your wheels follow the next steps.

    Cut two 150mm (or however wide your grip area is) lengths of the Climafix foam pipe insulation (the hacksaw will do this too).
    Split them along the pre-formed cut and place them over the handle section of the wheels.

    They will now look like this…


    Using the gaffer tape, start at one end of each grip and using an angled or spiral motion, cover the whole foam grip. Trim off the bits of tape that overlap each end.
    Finally, run a couple of straight turns of tape around each end of the grips to cover up any remaining foam and fully seal the grip.
    Your wheels are now complete and will look something like this…


    Mine took me roughly an hour or so to make (with some measuring up and rough mock-up construction initially) and hopefully will last many sessions to come.

    Using the wheels

    Before using your wheels I’d advise watching this tutorial video covering some of the fine points of correct body alignment and form. [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl_Hp1Wf52k"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl_Hp1Wf52k[/ame]

    For more advanced versions Ross Enamait’s great article and videos about Ab-wheels are a great resource.


    These videos cover the initial beginner’s exercises right up to very advanced variations including weighted vests and facing downhill for example, perhaps for the more adventurous.
    Beware…Ross Enamait makes using wheels like this look deceptively easy.
    These wheels are by no means an easy piece of equipment to use and you may need several sessions to really get the hang of even the most basic of rollouts.

    I’d suggest a thorough warm up before using the ab-wheels with a few sets of gentle crunches and spinal twists to get the abs and spine ready.
    As with all exercises, start gradually (rolling out from the knees, partial roll outs and/or rolling up hill) and build up to harder variants as you improve.
    They are a great piece of equipment that not only tones the abs but also works the whole power linkage assembly (legs, hips, torso, chest, shoulders and arms) which is so important for fighting and throwing strikes.
    Additionally, doing any exercise on these will really work the deep stabilising core muscles as you struggle to control each independent wheel.
    I like to incorporate using them into my regular body weight and Yoga routines or as one of the stations in a circuit training session.

    An additional exercise of my own you might like to try is something I call the “Ab-wheel burpee”.
    Grip your Ab-wheels and jump in the air holding them aloft.
    On landing drop into a low squat and then drop to your knees.
    Place the wheels down and roll them outwards in front of you (as you would in a standard kneeling rollout).
    Roll back in again, drop your butt back into a low squat position once more.
    Spring immediately into the air.
    Repeat until knackered or for as many reps as you can do in a minute (or two).
    Enjoy. :)

    I also use them as grips for doing regular press ups. This not only takes the bending strain off the wrists but also works the stabilising core muscles as you struggle to keep control and stop the wheels rolling out from under you.

    Paul Smith 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2010
  2. Saz

    Saz Nerd Admin

    Wow, great article :D
  3. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    When I get to Ross's level I'll post up a video of me using them.
    See you in about 20 years then. :)
  4. Satchoki

    Satchoki Valued Member

    Cool. I'd like to set some up for myself
  5. shift

    shift Valued Member

    Nice write up...I hope I can reach the stage where I can do the ab wheel with one arm like Ross
  6. Commander Nitro

    Commander Nitro Valued Member

  7. Commander Nitro

    Commander Nitro Valued Member

    Interesting. I'll try setting one up for myself
  8. worshiper

    worshiper New Member

    Interesting article of making home-made ab-wheels.I appreciate the way that you have explained for this home made tips.Please do join with us for future also.

  9. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

    Small point. Why didn't you use threaded bar and locknuts?
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I looked around for all sorts of materials. B&Q, Screwfix, local hardware stores etc.
    I could never find the right sort of wheels or bars or nuts etc. There always seemed something wrong or something that didn't fit together very well. Bars not long enough, wheels too small etc.
    Plus I wanted something that lasted and the threaded bar would tend to wear away the bearing of the wheels I think (as it would be essentially grinding on the thread without moving along it).
    I'm sure there's a cheaper/easier way of making these things but this is the way I did it. :)
  11. Paulo123

    Paulo123 New Member

    This is very interesting and it seems that I can make it easily with the help of your post. Thanks man for sharing it. I am searching for these wheels in market but they are so much expensive but now I can make them myself.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  12. bbroad11

    bbroad11 New Member

    Very simple and easy to follow. :cool:
  13. StevieB8363

    StevieB8363 Valued Member

    Having tried an ab-wheel a while ago and been greatly impressed with its ab blasting, er, "blastiness" I'm definitely going to make one. It hadn't occurred to me that two might be better. I'll be giving it a go during my upcoming holiday. Thanks to PASmith for the advice and pics.

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