If the usual combination of plank and sit-up variations has left you bored of core workouts, it’s time you tried the Lifeline Power Wheel.
This innovative bit of kit earned a spot on our list of the best ab rollers (opens in new tab) thanks to its versatility and conscientious design. It has foot stirrups so you can perform exercises like crawls and leg curls at home, while its wider handle takes pressure off users’ shoulders during ab wheel rollouts – an area narrow-gripped ab rollers can place strain on.
It lost ground in our tests due to its higher price point, fiddly set-up and size – which meant it lacked portability and couldn’t be used effectively for exercises like roller push-ups. However, if you train sans-gym and are looking for home workout ideas (opens in new tab), we still think this (alongside one of the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab)) is a worthy investment for full-body training.
- Large central wheel with a wider handle
- Foot stirrups
- Foam grips on handles
The larger central wheel means that, unlike smaller ab rollers, this roller will work on less even surfaces. So, you can take your ab roller exercises (opens in new tab) al fresco and even attempt the Lifeline Power Wheel 100 yard challenge, where you have to attach your feet to the stirrups then, in the plank position, crawl 100 yards. (Spoiler alert: having attempted this, we can attest to the fact that it’s no joke.)
Overall, this is a fun training option that can put your core, upper and lower body to the test by giving you the chance to try a range of new exercises.
Price and release date
First released in 2009, the Lifeline Power Wheel has an MSRP of $59.99 on the Lifeline Fitness website (opens in new tab). In the UK it's slightly pricier, available for £69.60 from Jordan Fitness (opens in new tab). It is also available from several other online retailers.
Set-up and design
- Set-up and design score: 3/5
While many ab rollers we tried were ready to use straight out of the box, or could at least be assembled in a minute or two by following a couple of simple instructions, getting started with the Lifeline Power Wheel was less straightforward.
The wheel, central bar, foam handles, caps for the ends of the handles and foot stirrups arrive as separate pieces (as shown in the image below). There is also a metal cap and an allen key to secure the handle into position.
The set-up only took us between five and ten minutes, but the wording of the instructions can be hard to follow. This isn’t helped by the lack of any images or diagrams, with terms like "metal axle shaft" and exact measurements such as "⅝ of an inch" making them far from user-friendly.
When built, the first thing to strike us was the sheer size of the machine. While many other ab rollers can be slipped into a gym bag, the 13in-wide wheel would require a considerable rucksack if you wanted to take it on the move.
The wheel itself feels sturdy, and we appreciated the foam covers for the handles to make using the ab roller more comfortable — though we felt they could have been thicker or more cushioned.
However, our tester found that, when wearing trainers, their size ten feet only just fit inside the velcro straps on the foot stirrups. And, when strapping into the center of the stirrups as directed, their toes sometimes dragged on the ground when performing exercises like knee tucks.
The stirrups also take a bit of getting into, and maneuvering from a seated position into a plank or bridge pose when you have a large wheel strapped to your feet is no mean feat. But, when everything was in place, they did hold our feet securely for hamstring curls and crawls.
- Features score: 4.5/5
The Lifeline Power Wheel’s 3.5/5 rating may be slightly deceptive. It lost points for its complex set-up and size, which made some ab roller exercises like roller push-ups difficult to do as the large wheel limited our range of motion. But, if you’re after a more comprehensive home workout tool, its innovative features present an attractive prospect.
First and foremost among them: the foot stirrups. These plastic platforms either side of the central wheel have velcro straps to support your forefoot, while thick elastic bands can be secured around the back of your shoe to stop your feet from slipping out.
There’s no denying these are fiddly to get into, and you might have to wear a slimmer profiled sneaker if you have larger feet to ensure you fit into the velcro straps. But these stirrups allow you to perform exercises like hamstring curls and crawls, as well as more commonplace ab roller movements like knee tucks, working your core, upper and lower body.
The Lifeline Power Wheel also has handles that are much wider set than most ab rollers, aligning better with the shoulders. By doing this, we found there was less strain on our shoulders when performing ab rollouts — good news for those new to resistance and weight training, who are still building strength and stability in this area.
- Durability score: 3.5/5
The spoked central wheel is made from a thick plastic and feels solidly built. We also liked the grooved tread for providing additional grip on whatever surface we were using it on. There were no signs of wear on this after our tests.
At first, we thought the central handle looked on the thinner side when compared to the thick stainless steel handle of the Vinsguir Ab Roller. But it was able to support most of our 15st tester's body weight in the pike position without a problem.
The foam handle covers feel a bit cheap and we could feel the metal handle through them, so we would have liked the material to be a bit thicker or more cushioned, particularly when considering the premium price.
- Functionality score: 3/5
As an all-round training tool, we were fans of the Lifeline Power Wheel. The ability to replicate a hamstring curl at home without splashing big money on a resistance machine was a great addition to our gym-free training routine, and crawling movements with your feet are in the stirrups (while they may look slightly silly) kick your shoulder and abdominal muscles into overdrive as they work to stabilize your midline.
We encountered problems with the velcro on the stirrups being too small to accommodate our sneakers, and our feet sometimes dragged on the floor when we were performing exercises like crawls or roller tucks, but overall we appreciated their presence.
However, as an ab roller, its functionality is sometimes limited by its size. For example, when performing roller push-ups — a variation of the classic chest, shoulder and tricep-building bodyweight exercise that adds an element of instability to make the movement more difficult — our range of motion was limited by the large wheel.
Still, for ab wheel rollouts (the machine’s eponymous move) the wide handle worked well and really did feel like it took some of the usual strain off our shoulders, leaving us to focus more attention on torching our core.
Value for money
There’s no escaping the fact that, at $59.99, this is a pricey product. We think anyone looking for a dedicated training tool for targeting their abdominals would be best-served looking elsewhere, as there are plenty of cheaper quality options available. But, if you want to mix up your training and test yourself by trying something new, like the devilishly tricky 100 yard challenge, while also training your upper and lower body, the Lifeline Power Wheel will definitely do the trick.
As a product, the Lifeline Power Wheel has a lot going for it. The foot stirrups allow you to perform exercises like knee tucks, crawls and leg curls, giving your core, upper and lower body a good workout. The large central wheel means you can take your training outside as it rolls easily enough over grass (we relished the 100 yard challenge, where you have to crawl over the specified distance with your feet in the stirrups, providing a potent shoulder burner) and we were also big fans of the longer handle, which allows you to assume a wider grip to take some strain off your shoulders.
However, it does have its drawbacks. The larger wheel means it's not a particularly portable bit of kit, and this can also gets in the way if you want to perform stability-based exercises like ab roller push-ups. The set-up is fiddly too, and getting your feet into the stirrups can be a struggle.
Overall, we would recommend this for anyone wanting an innovative home training tool that can add a bit of variety to their exercise routine.
If this isn't for you
If you want a standard ab roller for a more affordable price, but don’t want to sacrifice build quality, the Vinsguir Ab Roller (opens in new tab) (above) is a great option. With its thick, stainless steel handle and rubber-coated central wheel (which is wider than most for improved stability) it’s a robust option. And, having experienced its effectiveness first-hand, we can safely say it’s capable of delivering a thorough core workout.
Or, if you want a more flexible training tool that excels as both an ab roller and a bodyweight workout aid, try the SKLZ Core Wheels (opens in new tab). These dual-wielding rollers can offer scalable exercise options (which you can find out more about on the SKLZ YouTube channel) catering to all fitness levels, and they can also be used for upper body exercises like chest flyes and alligator push-ups.
How we test ab rollers
We took some of the best ab rollers out for a spin to see which ones were able to torch our core. Our in-house testers completed these eight ab roller exercises with each roller, taking note of their set-up and design, durability, and functionality. We also tested out any additional innovative features they had to offer – such as the unique foot straps of the Lifeline Power Wheel Ultimate Core Trainer – and considered the value for money provided by each product. These factors were combined to deliver a final score out of five stars.
The Lifeline Power Wheel scores 4.5 on Amazon, with more than 70% of the 1,200+ people to have bought it awarding the wheel a full complement of five stars. Happy customers credited it for providing a comprehensive core, shoulders, arms and leg workout at home, and said they enjoyed the informative training videos the company has made available online. Some buyers found the large wheel was more unstable than standard ab rollers, making it tricky to use for beginners.