Ab Rollouts vs Pikes

Ab Rollouts vs Pikes


Execution Cues:


Ab Rollouts:

- Collect an ab wheel (also works with loadable bar with small, circular plates on it) and foam pad/yoga mat. Find a 3x8 foot space on flat ground with low friction. Turf or carpet won’t work as well as hard flooring or mats. 

- Kneel onto the pad with your knees about shoulder width apart. Stay on the balls/toes of your feet (dorsiflex rather than plantarflex). Grip each handle of the ab wheel tightly in front of you. 

- Place the ab wheel on the floor ~12 inches in front of your knees. Protract your shoulder blades and keep your elbows extended but just short of locked out. Your hips should be extended and spine neutral from head to pelvis. Most of your weight should still be supported by your lower body at this point. Start in a slightly posterior pelvic tilt. 

- Begin the eccentric by slowly shifting your weight forward allowing the wheel to roll away from your knees. Your shoulders will be moving into flexion while your hips/knees are slowly extending. Maintain spinal and pelvic positioning throughout. Your bodyweight should be slowly transferring from lower body to upper body for support. 

- Continue with this pattern until you reach the terminal end point of the ROM. This should be when your torso is about parallel with the floor. Shoulders will be flexed overhead with biceps in line with your ears. The abdominal complex should be engaged heavily at this point. Take care to maintain slightly posterior-to-neutral pelvic tilt and avoid lumbar hyperextension.

- From this point, reverse the action into the concentric by mirroring the eccentric motion. This will require strong shoulder extension and hip flexion while still maintaining spinal and pelvic positioning. 

- The rep is finished when you return to the start position with the wheel ~12 inches from your knees and bodyweight supported primarily by the lower body.



- These can be done effectively on many modalities including Swiss ball, TRX straps, row machine, etc, but we will use the Swiss ball for this example. Its diameter should be roughly equal to the length of one of your arms.

- Start in a push-up position and carefully place your shins on the ball one at a time. Have each shin spaced out on the ball by ~6-8 inches to provide stability. Shoulders should over the hands so arms are perpendicular to the floor. The spine should be neutral with hips extended and glutes contracted. Start in a slightly posterior pelvic tilt. 

- After getting in position, take a few seconds to allow yourself to find your balance before initiating the concentric. 

- The mechanics of the movement will resemble the Ab Rollout closely. The concentric should start with hip flexion while maintaining spinal and pelvic positioning. Your hips should be moving upward into an upside-down “V” shape. Think about bringing the ball and your feet closer to your rooted hands. 

- Continue with this pattern until you reach the terminal end point of the ROM. This should be when your torso is close to vertical with the floor. Shoulders will be flexed overhead to resemble an inverted “overhead press” lockout. Abs should be engaged heavily at this point. Take care to maintain pelvic positioning and avoid lumbar hyperextension. The ball should have rolled to your toes. 

- From here, reverse the action into the eccentric by mirroring the concentric motion. Resist the hip extension as the ball rolls up your shins and your torso angle drops down to parallel with the floor. 

- The rep is finished when you return to a push-up position with the Swiss ball in the same spot on your shins.


Key Similarities: 

- “Dynamic planks”

- Each movement relies on the same biomechanics with the goal to resist trunk flexion through changing lever lengths

- Primarily effects are to strengthen the abdominal complex and hip flexors

- Both variations work best within the 8-15 rep range

- Each movement has second order mobility effects at the shoulders


Key Differences: 

- In the Rollout, the upper body is moving through space while the lower body is rooted. With the Pike, this is reversed.

- The Pike starts with the concentric while the Rollout begins with the eccentric. 

- The Rollout is much more demanding and would be considered a progression from the basic Pike.

- Pikes seem to be much safer from an injury perspective due to less total forces in the most compromised positions. In contrast, the Rollout experiences the highest forces when the shoulders, ab complex, and low back are in their weakest and most vulnerable positions.

- While the Rollout has degrees of instability, the Pike tends to be much more limited by it especially when done with a non-fixed modality like a Swiss Ball or TRX.

- Even though they work the same muscle groups though the same general actions, the Rollout will create significantly more mechanical tension and muscle damage.

- Rollouts tend to stress the lats and even the long head of the triceps while Pikes will require a greater amount of quad and delt engagement.

- Rollouts are significantly easier to regress and progress.


Primary Use Case for Ab Rollouts:

- Strengthen the Abdominal Complex and Hip Flexors


Primary Use Case for Pikes:

- Strengthen the Abdominal Complex and Hip Flexors

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