Learning how to work your core muscles effectively can be a real pain in the neck or back– literally!

In this weeks blog, Coach Roman explains why we need to perform “The Hollow” position to help improve all of your CrossFit movements.

Never suffer from a lack of core strength again!

The Hollow Body Position

First and foremost, hollow body work helps you build core strength-endurance, something which is absolutely necessary for more advanced work of any kind. In addition, learning the hollow body teaches you how to shape your entire body as one unit. This is an absolute prerequisite for attaining more advanced bodyweight strength and even better posture. 

To begin learning how to perform hollow body holds, lie down on your back with your arms by your side and legs bent. For this bent hollow body shape, press your lower back into the floor by drawing your belly button “down” and “in.” With your midsection tight, lift your shoulders off the floor by elongating your spine and actively contracting your abs. Also, lift your legs and keep your knees bent or legs straddled apart, ensuring that your feet are just a few inches above the floor. Note the details: elbows are locked, legs are bent or straddled, and toes are pointed.

How long can you hold this position? Do not let your lower back come up off the floor! The entire purpose of a hollow body hold is to challenge all the muscles in the front of your core: diaphragm, abdominals, hip flexors, quads, and more. Any weakness in this anterior chain will result in a loss of shape: shoulders too low, back arching, or legs lifting too high. Push yourself! There is very little risk of injury when performing hollow body holds, so really dig deep and focus on developing work capacity through willpower and discipline!

If you can hold the bent or straddled hollow body position with excellent technique, then it is time to try a full hollow body hold. Keep everything the same from the previous drills, but this time extend your arms straight and overhead, keeping your legs straight and together. You should feel the workload effectively double on your core, and now you really have to fight to prevent your back from arching or your legs from dropping. Stay up! This is the exact kind of core strengthening that pays huge dividends for your future training.

  1. Just like you need to learn to count before you can add, hollow body holds are a mandatory prerequisite for more advanced bodyweight gymnastic strength.
  2. Begin in a bent hollow body shape by bending your knees or straddling your legs. Be sure to keep your arms down by your side.
  3. Challenge yourself further with the full hollow body positions with arms overhead and legs straight.

At Crossfit Chiltern we have a range of members from Running athletes, new mums, brand new exercisers and people who have been a member of a gym for years and never seen results. Our programming is structured and progressive so you can see just how far you have come in such a short space of time.

We have recently launched our hybrid membership packages that combine 1:1 coaching with our crossift classes which means you can benefit from the 1:1 aspect of a highly experienced coach and still enjoy the motivating community we have down at CrossFit Chiltern.