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Daniel Mesa

Barbell Rollout: How To & Benefits

barbell rollout

If you’re eager to take your core strength and stability to the next level, the barbell rollout is a transformative exercise that deserves your attention. While often overshadowed by traditional ab workouts, the barbell rollout is a true gem for building a rock-solid midsection and improving overall functional strength. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the correct technique for performing the barbell rollout, explore its numerous benefits backed by scientific studies, and provide some exciting alternatives to keep your core workouts engaging and effective.

How To Do The Barbell Rollout

Mastering the barbell rollout is an empowering achievement, and it’s accessible to fitness enthusiasts of various levels. Follow these steps to perform the barbell rollout correctly:


Prepare the area by laying out a barbell with weight plates attached to it. Choose smaller plates to limit your mobility, especially at first. In a kneeling position on a cushion or mat, grab the barbell with an overhand hold, your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.


Kneel down with your feet flat on the floor and your knees hip-width apart. Keep your torso rigid and your shoulders down and back, away from your ears.


Extend your arms as you slowly roll the barbell forward to perform a rollout. Keep your abdominal muscles tight so that your lower back doesn’t arch.

Full Extension

Reaching full extension, you should try to keep your hands in a straight line with your hips. Your abs and thighs should be tight as you assume a plank position. Don’t slouch your shoulders or arch your spine.


Keep your form steady as you lower the bar back to your knees, and continue for the set amount of reps.

Our Tips

  • If you’re new to the barbell rollout, start with a lighter barbell or smaller weight plates so you can focus on your form.
  • Move slowly and carefully to get your core muscles to work the most.
  • Do the barbell rollout on a soft surface to protect your knees and make the exercise more comfortable.
  • Engage your lats and serratus anterior muscles (which are on the sides of your ribs) to keep your shoulders stable.

Muscles Worked By Barbell Rollout

The barbell rollout is an extraordinary compound exercise that recruits multiple muscle groups, making it a powerhouse for core strength and stability as a whole. Let’s delve deeply into the primary muscles used in the barbell rollout and examine their roles in executing this difficult exercise:

Rectus Abdominis

Barbell rollouts highlight the “six-pack” rectus abdominis. These muscles tighten to support and control the movement as you extend your arms and roll the barbell forward, limiting lumbar extension and maintaining a solid plank. Rectus abdominis strength improves functional strength and midsection chisel.

Transverse Abdominis

The transverse abdominis, the body’s natural weight belt, stabilizes the barbell rollout. This deep core muscle corsets the abdomen, supporting the spine and preventing lower back arching. Engaging the transverse abdominis provides a sturdy foundation for rolling the barbell with control and precision.


The barbell rollout relies on abdominal stabilizers for the internal and external obliques. These muscles prevent rotational and lateral shifts as you stretch and retract the barbell, supporting your spine. Strong obliques increase balance and functional fitness from all aspects.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscles, which run down the spine, help maintain a neutral spine during the barbell rollout. These muscles protect the back by preventing excessive spine flexion or extension. Erector spinae strengthening improves posture, spinal stability, and lower back injury risk.

Shoulder Stabilizers

The serratus anterior and lats are engaged in the barbell rollout, which targets the core. These muscles act together to stabilize the shoulder joint and scapular posture, keeping your upper body in proper alignment. Shoulder stabilization improves shoulder health and upper body stability.

Benefits Of The Barbell Rollout

The barbell rollout offers a multitude of benefits, supported by scientific research, that elevates it to a superior core-strengthening exercise. Here are some key advantages of incorporating barbell rollouts into your workouts:

Core Strength

The barbell rollout effectively targets the core muscles, leading to increased strength, stability, and endurance in the abdominal region. A robust core is vital for functional movements, athletic performance, and posture support. 

Spinal Stability

When the barbell rollout is done correctly, it pushes the spine to stay in a neutral position. This helps the spine stay stable and reduces the risk of lower back injuries.

Functional Movement

The barbell rollout mirrors real-life movements that demand core stability and strength, making it a functional exercise with applications in everyday activities and sports performance.

Shoulder and Upper Back Engagement

Besides targeting the core, the barbell rollout engages the shoulder and upper back muscles, enhancing shoulder stability and posture support.

Compound Exercise

Being a compound exercise, the barbell rollout recruits multiple muscle groups simultaneously, resulting in efficient full-body workouts. 

Barbell Rollout Alternatives

While the barbell rollout reigns as a highly effective exercise, adding variety to your workouts can prevent plateaus and engage muscles in new ways. Here are some compelling barbell rollout alternatives with similar benefits:

Ab Wheel Rollout

The ab wheel rollout is a classic and highly effective core exercise that targets the abdominal muscles, including the transverse abdominis, obliques, and lower back. Starting in a kneeling position, roll the ab wheel forward while keeping your core tight and avoiding arching your lower back. This movement challenges your core throughout the entire range of motion, promoting a strong and functional midsection. As you progress, you can try standing ab wheel rollouts for an added challenge.

Stability Ball Rollout

Incorporating a stability ball into your core training introduces an element of instability, engaging the rectus abdominis, hip flexors, glutes, and upper body muscles. Place your forearms on the ball and roll it forward, maintaining a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. The instability of the ball requires greater core strength to control the movement and maintain balance.

TRX Fallouts

TRX fallouts are a more complex move that works your core and shoulders. Assume a plank pose with your body in a straight line while holding the TRX handles. You can lower your body by extending your arms and using your upper body and core muscles. The TRX fallouts test both balance and strength, which makes them a great addition to workouts for the whole body.

Bottom Line On Barbell Rollout

Barbell rollouts improve core strength, stability, and shoulder engagement. It improves functional motions and athletic performance when done properly. Beginners and those with lower back issues should start with the ab wheel rollout or plank exercises before attempting the barbell rollout. Progress slowly, with emphasis on core strength, and see a healthcare professional or fitness expert if you have pre-existing medical conditions or questions regarding exercise compatibility. Enjoy the challenge, be consistent, and build a stronger, more resilient core!


Is the barbell rollout safe for beginners?

The barbell rollout can be demanding for beginners, particularly those with limited core strength and stability. Starting with simpler variations and focusing on the proper form will help ensure safety and effectiveness.

Can I perform rollouts using a Smith machine or barbell with bumper plates?

Yes, rollouts can be performed using a Smith machine or barbell with bumper plates. Both options offer stability and allow for adjusting the range of motion according to your fitness level.

How often should I incorporate barbell rollouts into my workout routine?

The frequency of barbell rollout workouts depends on your fitness level and overall training program. Beginners may start with 1-2 sessions per week, while experienced individuals can do 2-3 sessions per week.

Are barbell rollouts suitable for people with lower back issues?

Individuals with lower back concerns should approach barbell rollouts cautiously, focusing on maintaining proper form and avoiding excessive lumbar extension. Consulting a healthcare professional or fitness expert is advised.

Can I use barbell rollouts as part of my warm-up routine?

Barbell rollouts are generally more suitable as core-strengthening exercises during the main part of your workout. Incorporate dynamic warm-up exercises to prepare your body for the movement.