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The Hollow Hold Exercise: The Secret Weapon to Core Strength & Muscle Building

Do you want a stronger core and want to know the secret weapon for building lean muscle? Then click to learn about the hollow hold exercise for building core strength.

Rosie Ford
The Hollow Hold Exercise: The Secret Weapon to Core Strength & Muscle Building
Table Of Contents

Athletes, bodybuilders, and powerlifters have used the Hollow Hold Exercise for decades to build strength and muscle. It's often referred to as a "secret weapon" for its ability to vastly improve core stability and power in just a few short weeks.

Why is the hollow hold so important? When done correctly, the hollow hold exercise will engage your entire core. Your deep abdominal muscles are essential when it comes to stabilizing your spine during dynamic movements. By training your core muscles with the hollow hold, you'll be able to lift more weight while reducing your risk of injury.

In this article, we'll explain why the Hollow Hold is so important, how to do it correctly, and the huge benefits you can get from adding it to your workout routine. Let's get started!

What is a Hollow Hold Exercise?

The hollow hold exercise is a powerful secret weapon for core strength and muscle building. It’s an ideal way for hollow hold beginners to get comfortable with the basics of the exercise and more advanced lifters who want to take their fitness to the next level.

The hollow hold requires all muscles in your core, including your abs, obliques, and lower back, to work together and keep your body stable while performing the exercise.

Adding the hollow hold into your daily routine will help strengthen your core region and other major muscle groups like shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. With consistent practice, you can master this skill which will add to any workout routine and set you up for a lifetime of fit muscles!

How to Do the Hollow Hold Exercise?

The hollow hold is deceptively simple but requires some practice before you get the hang of it. Here's how to do it:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs straight and arms outstretched above your head.
  • Lift your shoulders off the floor and engage your abs as if you were doing a crunch.
  • Reach back with both hands or press them into the ground to make it easier.
  • Lift your legs off the ground and make a “hollow” shape with your body.
  • Hold this position for as long as possible before relaxing.

Once you've mastered the basic hollow hold form, you can add resistance to make it more challenging. Holding a weight plate or adjustable dumbbell in your hands will increase the exercise's difficulty and target those deep core muscles.

You can also add other exercises into your routine, such as hanging leg raises or reverse crunches, to enhance your core strength and stability.

Hollow Hold Muscles Worked

The hollow hold is a core exercise that targets the lower abdominals, transverse abdominal muscles, and other muscles. Regular exercise helps strengthen your core, improve balance and stability, and increase flexibility! Plus, it's incredibly effective in burning calories and toning your entire body.

Lower Body

While performing the hollow hold, your lower body is activated to help keep your body stabilized and in proper form. The primary muscles worked are your hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Upper Body

Your upper body is also engaged while doing the hollow hold exercise. Your chest, back, and arms must remain tight to keep your body stabilized in this position. Your shoulders will also be working hard due to their involvement in lifting both arms off the ground at once.

Core Muscles

The most crucial muscle group targeted during the hollow hold exercise is your core muscles – your abs, obliques, and lower back.

This exercise will strengthen all these muscles, providing increased stability and power to your movements.

The Benefits of the Hollow Hold Exercise

When done correctly, the hollow hold exercise offers several fantastic benefits that can help improve your overall fitness level. Here are some of the most important:

Increased Core Strength

The primary benefit of this exercise is its ability to strengthen your core muscles and keep them stable during dynamic movements like lifting weights or running. This will reduce your risk of injury and give you greater power in lifts and help with muscle growth.

Improved Posture

Strengthening your core muscles will also promote better posture throughout the day and when you perform other exercises. This can help prevent fatigue and improve your overall health.

Great for Both Beginners and Advanced

The hollow hold is an excellent exercise for beginners because it can help them get comfortable with the basics of the exercise and for more advanced lifters who want to take their fitness to the next level.

Improved Performance With Other Complex Exercises

The hollow hold is an excellent foundation for more complex exercises like hanging leg raises and even handstands. Building a strong core through this exercise can increase your power and stability with these more advanced moves.

Better Spinal Stability

The hollow hold also increases spinal stability, essential for avoiding back pain and injuries. Many weighted lower body movements can put great compressive and shear forces on your spine. Try adding this to your workout routine and see what it can do to improve your fitness level.

Common Hollow Hold Mistakes to Avoid

Are you working on building a great core with the hollow hold exercise? If so, congratulations! You’re in for some great results.

However, as with any physical activity, a few things could be improved when performing the hollow hold. Here are a few of the most common errors to watch out for a while doing the hollow hold:

Not Engaging Your Lower Body

One of the most common mistakes people make when performing the hollow hold exercise is not engaging their lower body. This can cause your form to be off and prevent you from reaping its many benefits. To ensure proper form, ensure that your quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves are engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Not Squeezing Your Glutes

Another mistake that can be made while doing the hollow hold is not squeezing or activating your glutes. This muscle group plays a vital role in stabilizing your hips during this movement, so they must be engaged properly.

Lifting Too High

Some people make the mistake of lifting their arms too high off the ground during this exercise. This can cause you to lose your form and strain your shoulders, leading to injury. Make sure you are only lifting as high as is comfortable and have proper control over the movement.

Keep Your Head & Shoulders Up

Remember, keeping your head and shoulders up is essential to avoid straining your neck. Make sure you look straight ahead during the entire exercise and that your neck remains neutral.

Keep It on the Ground

Lastly, remember that the hollow hold is supposed to be done on the ground. To reap the maximum benefits of this exercise, your lower back must remain firmly planted on the ground throughout its duration. Otherwise, all those positive changes will be nullified.

Hollow Hold Variations for Core Strength & Muscle Building

Ready to take your hollow hold training to the next level? Some unique variations will help you build core strength and sculpt those abs! For good results, you can also invest in the core sliders.

Hollow Arch Rolls

The hollow arch roll takes the hollow hold to the next level. It forces your body to maintain the correct form when doing hollow exercises and adds dynamic movement that requires extra balance.

When done correctly, it targets your abdominal muscles, hip flexors, and core stabilizing muscles in one motion.

  • For performing the hollow hold, begin on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, then lift your legs from the ground while maintaining correct form.
  • From here, roll on your stomach while maintaining a stiff brace. You will end up in a superman position.
  • You can alternate back and forth from hollow hold to superman holds.
  • The dynamic nature of this movement makes it very challenging.

Hollow Tuck

The hollow tuck is a hollow hold exercise that provides multiple benefits in a single movement. This move strengthens the core muscles, stabilizes the spine, and helps improve coordination and balance.

Hollow tucks have been shown to reduce spinal loads from most dynamic lower-limb movements, such as jumping or sprinting.

The hollow tuck combines several elements of a classic hollow hold with a tucked-knee position for added intensity. This move can help activate different deep abdominal muscles that are often hard for individuals to access through standard core training.

  • Get yourself in the hollow hold position, then crank out a crunch followed by a V-up.
  • This will require you to bring your knees towards your chest as if trying to touch your heels with both hands.
  • Doing this Crunch/V-Up combo is an effective way to work on engaging the anterior core muscles and training several important stabilizing core muscles.

Weighted Hollow Hold

Weighted hollow holds are an excellent exercise to incorporate into any strength training routine. This exercise can be done using a variety of weights, such as dumbbells or weighted bumper plates.

By doing hollow holds with weights, you can help activate and strengthen your core muscles—specifically the abdominal, lower back, and hip flexors—to help improve posture and balance.

  • To do this exercise correctly, begin by lying down on your back with your arms and legs extended slightly off the ground, ensuring your lower back is touching the floor.
  • Now grab the weight of your choice with both hands and lift your torso off the ground while keeping your arms at shoulder-width apart.
  • Pause briefly in this position before lowering back down to the starting position.
  • This exercise should be done several times through one set for maximum benefit.
  • Weighted hollow holds effectively challenge abdominals and enhance total body stability, proprioception, and muscular control during dynamic movements.


1. What is the hollow hold exercise?

The hollow hold exercise is an incredibly effective bodyweight movement that helps build sturdy and strong core muscles and targets other areas of your body, such as your legs, back, and shoulders, with more stability and control than traditional exercises.

2. How do you perform the hollow hold exercise?

The hollow hold exercise is simple and can be performed anywhere with minimal equipment. Start by lying flat on your back with your arms extended above your head, legs straight, and toes pointed.

Contract your abs and press your lower back into the ground, then lift both legs and arms simultaneously, maintaining a tight core. Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds before slowly lowering yourself back onto the ground.

3. How does hollow hold exercise benefit core strength and muscle building?

The hollow hold exercise is a great way to build strength and stability in your core muscles. It’s very effective for beginners and advanced exercisers, as it can be modified or progressed with difficulty by adding weight or duration. It also helps prepare the body for more complex exercises while improving spinal stability.

4. What are common mistakes to avoid when doing the hollow hold?

Keep your head and shoulders up slightly but not raised too high off the ground when performing the hollow hold exercise. Also, ensure that you keep your legs and arms on the ground throughout the exercise and focus on maintaining a tight core while keeping proper form throughout.

The Bottom Line

The hollow hold exercise is a secret weapon for those looking to build core strength and muscle. While there are a variety of different exercises that similarly target the core, hollow hold stands out as a unique method.

The hollow hold provides an adjustable difficulty while targeting the same muscle groups as other common exercises. Whether a beginner or a fitness expert, hollow holds can help you reach your goals by offering something unique regarding muscular engagement and timing.

With this simple exercise, you can gain visible results in little-to-no time and revolutionize how your core looks and feels.

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Rosie Ford

Rosie began her career in communications as a writer and later as a communications coordinator for renowned university of South Carolina. She is also trained in the field of article writing specially related to fitness and yoga.

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