Crush it with your back! Find out why this actually isn’t a bad thing in our Move of the Week.
THE MOVE: Hollow Body Hold
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Core & corrective: abs, obliques, and core stability.
WHY DO IT: The Hollow Body Hold is probably one of the most underrated core exercises ever. It is so simple to do in principle that most people would dismiss it for not being “hard enough.”
Doing it in practice, however, is a much different story. Having coached this up a couple of times, it’s surprising to see how difficult this actually is for a lot of people.
In the Hollow Body Hold, you are required to maintain an intense isometric contraction of the core musculature to keep both your hands and feet off the floor. The requirement that the hands and feet shouldn’t be more than a few inches off the floor also makes this more difficult.
What’s even harder than all this however, is trying to achieve (and hold) the ideal torso alignment necessary to do this right. You’re essentially bracing your abs in the Hollow Body Hold. This means that you want to keep the ribs down, and to crush it with your back–I’ll explain below.
The “it” that you’re trying to crush is the floor. You essentially want to close off the space that your lower back makes with the floor. To do this, you must brace your abs and roll your pelvis underneath your torso. This occurs naturally if you were to raise your legs all the up to the ceiling. However, if they are only inches off the floor, as required for this Move, crushing the floor with your lower back becomes much more challenging.
If you do this Move correctly, you can expect that your pull-ups will get better, too. The hollow body position is paramount in pull-ups/chin-ups if you want to maintain a dead hang position and prevent excessive swinging. In fact, pull-ups and chin-ups can be seen as moving Hollow Body Holds. Needless to say, if you want to get better at pull-ups, you should be doing today’s Move regularly.
HOW TO DO IT: To do this move, you can hold a dowel in your hands to simulate a pull-up on the floor. Simply raise your hands and feet no more than a couple of inches off the floor, and hold this position for time.
Be sure to take long deep breaths throughout the duration of this move. Again, think about crushing the floor with your lower back and keeping your ribs down in the torso. If you do this correctly, your abs should start shaking almost immediately and continue to do so throughout the move’s duration.
The Hollow Body Hold works best at the beginning or the end of a workout. I’d recommend holding them for 2-3 sets of 30 seconds. When you’re ready, you can definitely increase the time in each set. If you want to get better abs or pull-ups, crush it with your back! Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and received his Master’s in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.