The hollow-body hold is a great exercise for your core and lower back. It’s also often used in Pilates and yoga because it’s easy to learn and challenging to master. The hollow-body hold requires you to contract (tighten) your abdominal muscles while keeping your lower back concave or “hollowed out.” Although the hollow-body hold isn’t difficult, doing it correctly takes some practice. With these tips from an experienced instructor, you’ll be able to make this move easily:
What is the hollow-body hold?
The hollow-body hold is an advanced core strength exercise that targets your midsection. It’s a static or non-moving exercise meant to work the muscles in your lower back and gluteus maximus (your butt).
To make this move:
Start by lying on the floor with feet flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, and arms straight out from shoulders on either side of your head. Lift through your chest as if you were about to do a pushup but don’t go anywhere; just lift until there’s tension in your core muscles—that’s it! Hold this position for as long as possible without letting your hips sag down toward the floor or letting your back arch excessively.
Why is the hollow-body hold effective?
The hollow-body hold is one of the best exercises for toning your core muscles. It’s super simple to do, and because you don’t need any equipment, it’s perfect for anyone who wants a good workout at home or in their office.
This move works so well because by holding yourself in this position with all of your weight supported on just two points (your forearms), you can target your abs while also engaging muscles like those in your back and shoulders. This makes it an excellent exercise for someone looking to improve their fitness level without adding extra bulk to their body.
What muscles does the hollow hold exercise work?
The hollow-body hold is a great exercise to help you develop your core, which comprises more than just your abs. Here are the muscles that the hollow hold activates:
- Transversus abdominis: This muscle helps keep your spine stable and also helps to compress air into your lungs. It also plays a role in helping you breathe during exercise by drawing in air when needed without needing to think about it consciously.
- External oblique: The external oblique runs along both sides of your torso, making it look like an hourglass. It participates in many movements, including twisting and rotating at the waist, as well as bending over or lifting something heavy off of the floor with straight legs (like when doing squats).
- Rectus abdominis: The rectus abdominis runs on either side of your belly button and makes up what most people call their “abs”—but technically speaking, these are just one part of these muscles! Together with other parts, such as transversalis fascia (pictured above), they help stabilize the pelvis while allowing for movement when we bend forward or sideways while walking or running (and yes—we do not recommend trying any extreme sports!).
- Erector spinae: These muscles run parallel along each side of our spine from our upper back down through our lower back into our pelvis region, where they connect strongly around ligaments within vertebrae near the tailbone area called sacroiliac joint (SI joints). These particular types allow us to move upright due to being able to contract together so tightly that they create tension throughout the entire spinal column all way down through hips where there’s another set located too–all helping support weight-bearing load created by gravity pulling against us all day long without assistance from external devices like crutches/canes etcetera.”
How does the hollow-body hold
Start in a push-up position with your arms straight, feet together, and hands directly below your chest. This is called the plank position.
As you lower your body to the floor, keep your abs tight to prevent them from sagging or flattening out completely. Once you’re at full extension (arms fully extended), hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating it 2-3 more times.
If this exercise feels too difficult or uncomfortable for you, try doing it without any weight until you get used to how it should feel on your body. Then start adding light weights once every two weeks until they feel comfortable on top of that weight!
Variations of the hollow-body hold
The hollow-body hold is a great way to work your core and improve your posture. But there are several variations that you can use to challenge yourself and make a move even more effective.
Variation 1: Knees Bent
You can also stretch with your knees bent, allowing an easier start but still giving a fantastic workout. This variation is perfect if you want to start slow or need a break and don’t want to give up all the benefits of the regular hollow-body hold (like better posture).
Variation 2: Straight Legs
The next step from bending your knees is straightening them out completely while keeping everything else exactly as it would be when doing an actual hollow-body hold. This version will challenge even those who have practiced this move for years! It’s not easy, but it’ll be worth seeing how toned those abs get!
Variation 3: Hands on the Floor
The last variation is the most difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! All you have to do is place your hands on the floor with your arms straight and hold this position as long as possible. This will challenge your core strength like no other exercise can so be prepared for some serious ab burn after just one rep!
How can you make the hollow-body hold easier?
You can make the hollow-body hold easier by performing the exercise on a bench, stability ball, Swiss ball, or Bosu ball.
If you’re using a bench: Sit at one end of a flat bench with your feet on the floor. Place your arms to either side of you and lower yourself so that only your heels and forearms touch the floor. Extend your legs straight before you, forming a 90-degree angle with your torso (or as close as possible). Hold this pose for 20 seconds before returning to the standing position. Repeat three times for each side.
If you’re using a stability ball: Set up just like when doing the basic hollow-body hold—except now place one foot onto an exercise ball between two and six inches high (depending upon how advanced you want to get!). Keeping both hands on either side of where your body makes contact with the ground will help stabilize it during this move—especially if said contact is non-existent!
If you are using a Swiss or Bosu ball: Set up like when doing the basic hollow-body hold—except now place one foot onto an exercise ball between two and six inches high (depending upon how advanced you want to get!). Keeping both hands on either side of where your body makes contact with the ground will help stabilize it during this move—especially if said contact is non-existent!
Benefits of the hollow-body hold
The hollow-body hold is a great way to work your core, no matter your fitness level. The exercise increases your lower back, abdominal, and glute strength. It also builds endurance in these muscles over time.
As a bonus, the hollow-body hold can help improve posture by improving how well you activate the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis (the muscles that run vertically along each side of your stomach). This increases support for your spine, making it much less likely to go out of alignment or be injured daily.
The hollow-body hold is also beneficial for anyone looking to increase their flexibility because it stretches out all those important muscle groups across the front of the body—from neck to fingertips!
Risks of the hollow-body hold
The hollow-body hold is a great way to get an incredible core workout, but it does come with a few risks. If you’re new to the exercise, make sure you are working with a trainer to show you how to do it safely.
- The hollow-body hold can cause injury if done incorrectly, so only attempt this move if you have the proper technique down pat.
- Pregnant women should avoid performing this movement altogether as it can put unnecessary pressure on their abdomen and may be dangerous for both mother and baby.
- This exercise could also cause dizziness or lightheadedness if performed incorrectly, so as long as these symptoms don’t occur naturally when making a move (for example: after doing multiple reps while holding your breath), they’re likely not normal symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness caused by this exercise alone.
- Finally—and most importantly!—the hollow-body hold might aggravate back pain issues or other preexisting conditions like arthritis or disc bulges around your spine (aka protrusions). You shouldn’t perform this move if either of those things applies to you!
The hollow-body hold is a great exercise to strengthen your core. It will help you build muscle, increase endurance and improve flexibility. The hollow hold can also be used as a warm-up routine before hitting the gym or playing sports. So get out there and give it a try!