Barbell Rollout: Exercise Instructions

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 12/04/2021
This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using our link. Learn more.

Today, there are many ways in which you can acquire a six-pack, including surgical and nonsurgical procedures[ 1]. The safest and most sustainable is proper strength training and abs exercises such as the barbell rollout. 

A barbell rollout is an advanced ab exercise that engages your entire ab region. It is not the easiest ab exercise to do but certainly one of the best for building a six-pack. 

Below, you will find a guide on how to do the barbell rollout alongside answers to some questions you may have. 

Key Takeaways

  • A barbell rollout is an advanced exercise and one of the best ab strength training exercises. 
  • For the best results, you need to keep your back straight, move slowly and breathe during a barbell rollout.

Step By Step Guide For Barbell Rollouts

Starting Position

  • Drop your knees on the floor and set a loaded barbell in front of you. 
  • Hold the bar with an overhand shoulder-width grip.  
  • Bring your upper body forward and lean over the bar maintaining stability.
  • Take a steady position ensuring that the barbel supports your upper body. 


  • Keep your elbows slightly bent and fluid.
  • Take a deep breath in and roll out as far as you can, ensuring your lower back remains straight. 
  • Breath out as you roll back to the starting position to ease the weight off your knees.
  • Repeat the movement for a second roll out and back. 

Valuable Tips For Doing Barbell Rollouts

Like any other workout, the position you take and the form you adopt during the roll will determine its success. While this workout looks simple, it can be challenging.

Ensure you maintain a slow movement all through the roll. Lean forward, roll in and out slowly to engage your muscles gradually. 

When leaning forward, ensure your lower back does not sag. Keep your back straight for alignment and stability. Use your shoulders to roll back instead of using your arms. 

If you realize your lower back is sagging, it is because you are rolling out too far. The extreme roll can be bad for your spine, and over time, it may lead to injury. Instead, squeeze your core and glutes to keep your back straight. 

You can increase the intensity by adding weight to the barbell, wearing a weighted vest, or loading a chain around your torso. For even more intensity, you can do a standing barbell rollout. However, this is a more advanced variation that poses an even bigger challenge. 


What Muscles Do Barbell Rollouts Target? 

The workout targets the entire abdominal region as well as the upper body region. The main areas this workout targets are the abs. It also enhances strength and stability in the shoulders (significantly) as well as the glutes, obliques, and spinal erectors.

How Many Barbell Rollouts Should You Perform?

You may be tempted to perform this workout every day, especially if building abs is your primary goal. Like other exercises, it is essential to take a break and spread the workout throughout the week. 

Ideally, you should train your abs two to four times a week as part of your strength-training workouts. Alternatively, you can sprinkle in a core strength workout throughout your day [2]. 

Are Ab Wheel Rollouts Better Than Barbell Rollouts? 

The difference between the two is the equipment used. For ab wheel rollouts, you use an ab wheel, while for barbell rollouts, you use a barbell. 

Both exercises use the same technique; however, the barbell rollout is more advanced than the ab wheel rollout. 

Both exercises do the same thing, but the results may vary from one to the other, depending on your effectiveness and fitness level. That said, an ab wheel rollout is better for beginners, while a barbell one is more suitable for intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts. 

The Bottom Line

A barbell rollout tests your core and demands effort to engage your core muscles and get you the six-pack you desire. It is one of the most effective ab workouts (when using the proper form and following the correct technique). 

If you are considering adding it to your routine, the guide and tips above can be helpful. 


Share on:

Questions or Comments?

Join the discussion on Facebook.

About the author

You may also like

Leave a comment