A hollow hold is a great exercise for a strong core. It doesn’t look stunning. It’s just holding your body steady and under tension while lying on your back.
It’s one of those underdog skills whose simplicity makes people underrate it. But its benefits may make you rethink and look to include it in your workouts as much as possible.
Even when you are able to do harder core exercises like dragon flags, you may still find hollow holds useful. When you are looking to increase the time under tension and include an isometric hold for your core, a hollow hold is a go to option.
A hollow hold will help you increase the strength of your core muscles. As a side effect, this will improve your posture. This will be even more pronounced if you are working on your lower back.
So, this exercise will be great when used with superman lifts for example. Try to add both exercises to your next leg/core workout.
It will help you prepare your body for various other exercises where a strong core plays an important role.
It will help you do all upper body exercises with proper form. When you are doing push or pull workouts this skill will prove its value.
Being able to do a proper hollow hold will help you position yourself right in pull ups, push ups, and many more exercises. It will help you eliminate unwanted swinging. You will also be able to hold your body still in balancing skills like handstands, planche, and levers.
You won’t need any equipment to do this exercise. It makes it an ideal choice when you don’t have access to any equipment.
You can do this exercise whenever and wherever you want. This makes it very useful for home or travel workouts.
When you are able to do a tuck hollow hold and hollow hold with arms down, you may try to do a hollow hold with your arms above your head.
At this point, only your shoulder extension may limit you. After having stabilization surgery on both of my shoulders, this still poses a challenge for me.
My left arm just won’t go down to the floor. If I press it down, with my other arm, my elbow touches the ground. Otherwise, I can place my hands on the floor. But my left arms still miss a bit of flexibility.
If you include shoulder mobility exercises in your warm up and flexibility in your cool down routine, it will get better over time.
Hollow hold muscles worked
As already mentioned, hollow holds will work your core muscles. It will also recruit other muscles needed to help hold the position.
Hollow hold muscles worked:
- Rectus abdominis
- Transverse abdominis
- Hip flexors
- Lower back
How to do hollow hold
Lay on the floor on your back. Your arms should be on the floor straight above your head. Position your legs straight with your toes pointed in line with your body. Your entire body from your fingertips to your toes should form one straight line.
Raise your arms, your head, shoulders, and legs off the ground. Your legs and your arms should be raised a few inches off the floor. The closer to the floor they are, the harder it will be to hold this position. The higher they are, the easier it will be.
Hold this position as long as you can. Strive to reach a 30 second hold for 3 sets to reach mastery.
Even though this exercise may look pretty simple at first, there are still some mistakes that can sneak in. Those mistakes can be avoided pretty easily if you know what to look for.
Mistake 1: Back arching
The first common mistake in hollow holds is the arching of your back. In hollow hold, your lower back should be flat on the floor. If you arch your back your lower back may hurt.
To perform this exercise right, you should concentrate on laying on your back with your lower back in contact with the floor. If you are doing it without an exercise mat, it might be unpleasant. If this poses a problem, try doing it on the exercise mat.
Mistake 2: Keeping shoulder blades on the ground
One more mistake that may happen is keeping your shoulder blades on the floor. This will be easier to do, but your abs won’t work as hard as with your shoulder blades raised.
If you feel your shoulder blades are on the floor, try raising them off the ground. You will feel it’s much harder to do it. But this is how it ought to feel.
Mistake 3: Lifting your neck too much
You may also find yourself lifting your head too much when doing this exercise. This will strain your neck too much, but it can be easily avoided.
To correct this mistake try to keep your head in line with your arms. This mistake can be spotted if someone is watching you do this exercise, by taking a video, or by looking at the mirror when doing it.
Hollow hold progression
If you can’t pull off hollow hold at the moment, no big deal. There are easier exercises you will be able to do. Since it is a part of front lever progression, you can easily check easier variants you can try. Here are a few examples:
When this exercise becomes easy for you, you may want to try something more challenging. Here are some options you can try:
When you are able to do this exercise you are one step away from hanging leg raises and dragon flags. However, there is more work in front of you if you want to do a front lever.
A hollow hold is a great exercise for growing your core muscles. The main benefits are improved posture and better form in other exercises.
It’s a great choice when you don’t have access to any equipment because it doesn’t require any.