This hollow hold move will fire up your abs from every angle

·3 min read
Photo credit: rez-art - Getty Images
Photo credit: rez-art - Getty Images

If you're looking for an exercise that will challenge your core completely—meaning obliques, six-pack, and deep stabilisers—look no further than the hollow hold. It's actually my favourite move, but it can be hard to perfect, especially when it comes to maintaining form. So let me explain exactly how to do a hollow hold, how long to hold a hollow hold, and share some variations you can try.

A hollow hold, sometimes referred to as a hollow body hold, requires you to lift your arms, legs, and head up off the ground until your body looks kind of like a banana. Then, you maintain that position for about 20 seconds. By the time you come out of this isometric exercise, your abs will be on fire. That's what makes hollow holds so hard.

While it's true that this move is challenging—even for certified trainers like myself—the core benefits definitely make it worth the effort. To make it a little easier, I'm going to teach you everything you need to know about the hollow hold: form tips, variations, benefits, and more.

How to do a hollow hold

  1. Start lying on back with with your arms extended overhead on floor and legs straight resting on mat.

  2. At the same time, and with control, lift arms, head, shoulder blades, and legs off the floor.

  3. Hold for 20 seconds then return to starting position. Rest for 10 seconds.

Pro tip: Don't arch you back. Keep it sealed to the mat even if that means lifting your legs and arms higher until your core is stronger. A stable back is key to doing this move correctly.

Benefits of a hollow hold

The hollow hold is a serious core workout that helps you build strength and stabilisation in your abs and back muscles. Having a strong and steady core will make total-body movements that require you to transfer weight from your upper to lower body so much easier.

Another benefit of the hollow hold is that it'll help you improve your posture. Plus, it can help prevent lower back pain because you'll be strengthening the muscles.

How long to hold a hollow hold

I recommend doing 20-second holds with 10 seconds of rest in between. Repeat for four to five sets.

Modifications of a hollow hold

  • Put your arms behind your head. Core-focused moves like this one can be hard on your neck and cervical spine. So if holding your head up is too much, cradle the base of your head in your hands by interlacing your fingers to form a little hammock. Doing so will provide more support and take pressure off your neck.

  • Add a flutter kick. I'll usually add in flutter kicks during the hold to a) distract from the intensity of the hold b) tack on another core exercise that will also strengthen your legs.

How to add a hollow hold to your workout

  • Add it to a core circuit: Do 5–6 abs exercises back to back for 30 seconds each with a 30 second rest in between each and throw a hollow hold in to the mix.

  • Put it in a warm up: A hollow hold is a great exercise to warm up your core. But if you're going to do it, I recommend placing your hands behind your head for added support and shortening the hold time to 15 seconds so that you're not too worn out to do the rest of your workout.

In need of some at-home inspiration? Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for skincare and self-care, the latest cultural hits to read and download, and the little luxuries that make staying in so much more satisfying.

SIGN UP

Plus, sign up here to get Harper’s Bazaar magazine delivered straight to your door.

SIGN UP

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting