Hollow Body

written by
Ben Mercer
last updated
October 18, 2021

It is commonly thought that the simplest movements are sometimes the most effective. The hollow body and hollow body rock is no exception to this train of thought. While having access to a big gym with every piece of equipment you can dream of is nice, it is definitely not necessary to strengthen your body and improve your mobility and flexibility. 

In fact, some people may consider the hollow body rock to be one of the most difficult bodyweight abdominal movements in your arsenal. It forces you to stabilize your core while in motion and works your rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. Not to mention, this move can help strengthen muscles in your legs and hips as well. 

If you are looking for a challenging movement to include into your warm up routine, we suggest the hollow body rock. Keep reading this article as we discuss the proper way to complete this movement. We also outline the benefits of the hollow body position and ways to modify it to meet your ability level. 

What is the Hollow Body? 

The hollow body is a pose that you hold on the floor. It is an isometric movement meaning that you hold the pose for a certain amount of time. The benefits come from the time spent under tension. This is a movement that truly is simple and does not require much set up or extra time to complete. That being said, it is important that extra care is taken to set up properly and find the intended stimulus of the exercise. 

To begin the exercise, find yourself a comfortable mat and place it on the floor. Lie with your back on the mat with your legs extended out and heels touching the ground. Extend your arms up past your head in line with your ears. They should still be parallel to the ground. Inhale into your belly and then simultaneously lift both your legs and your arms up 12 inches off the floor so your body has now formed a ‘U’ shape. Your lower back and glutes are still flat against the mat. This is considered the hollow body position.

From here, you can hold this pose for a certain amount of time. Start with 10 seconds and see how that feels. Gradually increase the amount of time you hold the pose as you become stronger and more confident in this position.

You can also add a “rock” to the hollow body. This is called a hollow body rock. Tighten your core and now shift your body weight forward to your legs, rocking your torso upwards on the axis of your buttocks while maintaining the stiff ‘U’ shape of your body. As your feet get close to the floor, slow the descent down and reverse the motion, so that you are now rocking backwards until your shoulder blades touch the mat and your legs are rising higher into the air.

At no point should your head, hands, or feet come in contact with the floor. One complete back and forth motion equals one Hollow Body Rock. Repeat this rocking back and forth motion as long as you can.

Whether you are doing the hollow body rock or the hold, it is imperative that your lower back stay in contact with the floor throughout the whole movement. Be sure that your shoulders are elevated off of the floor as well. 

Benefits of the Hollow Body

This is one movement that will have your core burning and shaking like no other. If you want to strengthen your core muscles, but are not regularly doing the hollow body hold and hollow body rocks, then you are surely missing out. This move will work your abdominal muscles including rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. 

Not only that, but the hollow body will help develop muscles in your legs. You have to work to keep your legs elevated off of the ground. To do that, you recruit muscles in your quadricep muscles, hip flexors, groin, and erector spinae. 

We also love any movement that requires no extra equipment. Because you can literally do this pose almost anywhere, there really is no excuse not to include this exercise into your exercise routine. 

Hollow Body Modifications

If done correctly, you should feel a strong burn in your abdomen that will quickly push you to the limits of your endurance. If you find this movement too challenging in the beginning, try keeping your arms extended out at your sides instead. Another way to modify the hollow body hold is to raise the legs but bend the knees. This should relieve some of the tension on the core, but still help you develop the necessary strength to extend the legs eventually. 

If you ever feel pain while completing this pose, please come out of the position immediately. Seek care from your healthcare professional if necessary. 

hollow body movement demo lying on the floor

Lie flat on your back.

Inhale and draw the head, shoulder blades and chest off the ground a couple of inches.

On the next breath slowly draw the feet off the ground keeping your legs straight.

Hold your arms out in front of you or move them slowly above your head.

Progress to a shallow rock, holding yourself in position.

Breathe!

written by
Ben Mercer

Ben is a writer and former professional rugby player.


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