That strange armpit pain you get during or after using the ab wheel is definitely coming from this little tool, and there’s a very logical explanation for it.

You may find that discomfort in the armpits is what ultimately stops you from doing more reps with the ab wheel, versus fatigue in your abdominal muscles.

This is because as you extend outward with the ab roller, the muscles that run along under your armpits get quite a stretch.

In order to feel this stretch good, you’d need to be fully extending yourself when using the ab wheel.

Many people are not able to do this, and do only partial repetitions; thus, they will not feel discomfort in their armpits.

I was feeling discomfort under my arms when using the ab wheel, and I was quitting my sets before my abdominal muscles had had it.

It’s important to note that I would very rarely, however, use the ab roller in the first place, because the various chain health clubs I visit do not supply one of these gadgets.

Instead, I’d see someone using one they brought from home and I’d ask to use it.

Thus, inconsistent use of this gadget will not promote building up endurance under the arms. Unless…you start spending some time hanging.

Yes, hanging. This is what I ended up doing when I found myself doing my pull-up/chin-up workouts at home, rather than at the gym, due to time constraints.

I have a chinning bar, but because I don’t have a lat pull-down machine, I would spend some time just hanging on the bar as a warm-up.

Little did I know over these many home-sessions that all that body-weight hanging would prepare my under-arms for the ab wheel.

So one day I saw someone with an ab wheel and asked to use it. To my delight, I just kept on rolling out all the way without feeling any strain or discomfort in my armpits.

I immediately connected the dots and realized that all that hanging on the home chinning bar had simulated the motion used in the ab roll-out.

So how often and how much should you hang, to make your armpits immune to any discomfort while using the ab wheel?

Once a week. That is all. My pull-up/chin-up routine is only once a week. Begin by hanging only a few seconds, then placing your feet on a support for a second, then hanging a few seconds, up to 20 seconds. Rest a minute.

Repeat but hang three seconds, to one second of foot support, up to 20 seconds. Rest a minute.

Hang four seconds to one second of rest; then five seconds to one second of rest, with the last set going to 25 seconds. This is all you need to do.

At a once-a-week pace, it should take 4-6 weeks to prep your armpits for the ab wheel so that they no longer hurt. It may take sooner. It may take longer. But that’s how to do it.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 
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