How to Do the Hollow Hold Position for Six-Pack Abs and Stronger Lifts

They are saying {that a} rising tide lifts all boats. Relating to your efficiency within the weight room, your core is the tide and your squats, pulls, presses, rows, and carries (the record goes on) are the ships. You may enhance your efficiency on all of them without delay in case you train your core with the hole maintain.

For gymnasts, the hole maintain is integral to the game itself as a postural ability. Nonetheless, it’s additionally a great abdominal-builder in its personal proper and teaches you correct bracing mechanics on the identical time. You don’t have to swing or flip or twirl to utilize the hole maintain.

A person doing a hollow hold exercise.

So, right here’s learn how to do it correctly. 

  1. How to Do the Hollow Hold
  2. Hollow Hold Sets and Reps
  3. Common Hollow Hold Mistakes
  4. Hollow Hold Variations
  5. Hollow Hold Alternatives
  6. Muscles Worked by the Hollow Hold
  7. Benefits of the Hollow Hold
  8. Who Should Do the Hollow Hold
  9. Frequently Asked Questions

Find out how to Do the Hole Maintain

As a bodyweight-only movement, all you want for the hole maintain is your self (and a few area to work). You would possibly wish to seize a yoga mat to put on, although. If you wish to add weight to this train, a small dumbbell or kettlebell can be a very good choice, although it’s actually not necessary. 

Step 1 — Set Your self Up

 person with arms and legs extended to being a hollow hold exercise.

Lie on the floor together with your legs straightened and your arms prolonged behind your head. You may clasp your arms collectively in case you like. Your toes must be collectively as nicely. That is your beginning place.

Coach’s Tip: Should you can’t maintain your arms collectively behind your head with straight elbows, you could have to mobilize your thoracic backbone. 

Step 2 — Elevate and Maintain

A person doing the hollow hold exercise.

Out of your beginning place, exhale deeply and depress your ribcage. Your lower back ought to flatten out towards the ground and keep flush to the bottom the whole time. As soon as you are feeling that time of contact, carry your shoulders and legs off the bottom. Maintain this place for time.

Coach’s Tip: Your lumbar backbone and hips ought to stay involved with the bottom; your physique ought to resemble a crescent. 

Hole Maintain Units and Reps

As a bodyweight-only train, the hole maintain isn’t probably the most versatile motion on the market by way of programming. Progressing this exercise isn’t so simple as including weight to your barbell. Nonetheless, you do have a number of completely different choices:

  • As a Beginner: Begin with two units of holds for time as much as 30 seconds.
  • To Warm Up Your Core: Three rounds of 15-20 seconds firstly of your exercise ought to do wonders.
  • For Endurance: Strive 5 rounds of 20-30 seconds, including 5 seconds per week. 

Widespread Hole Maintain Errors

Regardless of being a really simplistic train from a visible standpoint, it’s nonetheless simple to mess up the hole maintain. In any case, you will not be used to properly bracing your torso and sustaining that place for an prolonged time period. Hold a watch out for these errors so you possibly can sidestep them.

Legs Too Low

To sufficiently problem your core musculature, you need to lift your legs off the ground when performing the hole maintain. Your knees must be straight and locked if doable as nicely. 

Purpose to droop your legs between 15 and 30 levels off the bottom. Should you can’t carry your legs excessive sufficient, you would possibly place an excessive amount of stress onto your hips flexors on the expense of your abs. 

Legs Too Excessive

Then again, you shouldn’t carry your legs up thus far that they level on the ceiling. It will flip the hole maintain right into a leg raise movement, defeating the aim of the train. When your legs level immediately on the ceiling, your abs don’t need to work arduous in any respect to take care of a very good contraction. Make sure that your legs are not any increased than about 30 levels relative to the ground. 

Arching Your Again

The defining function of the hole maintain is the alignment of your ribcage and pelvis. If these two constructions aren’t “squared,” you’re lacking out on the bracing practice that the train supplies. 

A person doing the hollow hold exercise with an arched back.

You may assure that your physique is within the right place by ensuring that your lower back stays flush to the bottom the whole time. 

Hole Maintain Variations

As a bodyweight exercise, there isn’t too a lot you are able to do to customise the hole maintain. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply you don’t have any choices in any respect in case you’re in search of a variation on the motion itself. Listed below are a few choices to check out: 

Flutter Kick

You may add a small factor of motion to the hole maintain by performing flutter (or butterfly) kicks whereas sustaining the hole physique place. It will ramp up the variety of calories you burn and require extra stability than holding your legs immobile. 

Observe, although, that you need to nonetheless take nice care to make sure that your lower back stays flattened towards the bottom the entire time. 

Bent-Leg Hole Maintain

It’s doable that a regular hole place is simply too tough for you. Should you can’t appear to keep your core locked in whereas your legs are straight, you possibly can dial down the issue by bending your knees.

Holding your knees bent reduces the second arm. Since your legs aren’t prolonged as far-off out of your physique, your core doesn’t need to work as arduous. This additionally means you possibly can finely tweak the quantity of resistance utilized to your belly muscular tissues by opening or closing your knee joints

Hole Maintain Options

Should you’ve already acquired the hollow position down pat and desire a extra dynamic various, otherwise you’re merely burnt out on the train and are purchasing for a workable various, you possibly can strive considered one of these actions as a substitute: 

Hanging Leg Elevate

You may carry out a regular leg increase motion with a hollowed-out core and reap the advantages accordingly. The hanging leg increase can even problem your hip flexor muscular tissues as you carry and decrease your legs.

Just remember to maintain a locked-in core whereas performing the leg increase. Should you’re utilizing a seat with a again pad, hold your decrease again firmly planted towards the pad the whole time. 

Useless Bug

Dead bugs are a implausible regression in case you can’t fairly clinch a very good hole maintain but your self. The pelvis-ribcage integration stays the identical, you’re simply decreasing the quantity of load utilized to your trunk by pointing your limbs vertically.

Go for the lifeless bug in case you’re making an attempt to parse out how a correct hole maintain ought to really feel. As soon as you possibly can transfer one arm or one leg at a time, progress towards straightening both your legs and arms concurrently. Earlier than you realize it, you’ll have replicated the hole maintain place. 

Lengthy Lever Plank

You may flip the script on the hole place by modifying a standard plank. The lengthy lever plank requires you to plant your elbows out in entrance of your head, as a substitute of immediately below your shoulders.

This lengthens the second arm and makes it more durable to take care of a locked-in core when you hold the plank. This train is deceptively tough; give it a shot as soon as the usual hole maintain is simply too simple for you. 

Ab Rollout

Should you’re a core workout wizard and are in search of one thing actually difficult, strive the ab rollout with a hollow-body torso place. The ab wheel is likely one of the most hardcore items of kit you need to use to problem your core. 

Should you maintain extended hips and a tucked ribcage, you’ll discover it fairly tough to roll the wheel out till your torso touches the ground. For this one, begin by rolling solely till you are feeling such as you would possibly lose your hole brace. Attempt to go a bit additional every week. 

Muscle groups Labored by the Hole Maintain

The hole maintain is among the many finest choices on the market for instructing you learn how to correctly brace your abs. If you will get it proper, it’ll carry over to all of your different workouts. To get probably the most worth out of the hole place, that you must know precisely the way it works.


Your rectus abdominis is a vertical sheet of muscle that, with reference to core bracing, connects your ribcage and pelvis. These two constructions can transfer independently; your ribs flex down throughout crunch exercises, and your pelvis strikes throughout leg raises.

Nonetheless, your abs even have the function of stabilizing your trunk. They’ll contract to “sq.” your ribs by miserable them and, concurrently, posteriorly tilting your pelvis. Most core workouts solely contain motion at considered one of these essential factors. Should you can study to brace your abs with the hole maintain, that ability then turns into relevant to all different compound movements

Transverse Abdominis

Beneath your abdominals correct sit your transverse abdominis. You may’t see this muscle visually, however it’s a part of your deep core and works alongside your abs to stabilize your trunk. Any time you contract your abs, particularly whereas exhaling, you carry your transverse abdominis into motion. 

Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors, as they’re named, flex your hips. These muscular tissues are positioned on the entrance of your higher thigh, the place your leg meets your stomach. Oftentimes, folks making an attempt to coach their abs can’t assist however really feel a definite pinching sensation within the crease of their hips.

A person sitting on the gym floor.
Credit score: Dmytro Sheremeta / Shutterstock

That’s your hip flexors working additional time on what is meant to be an ab exercise. Whilst you gained’t have the ability to take them out of the equation fully throughout the hole maintain, you possibly can keep away from biasing your hip flexors by lifting your legs a bit increased. 

Advantages of the Hole Maintain

The hole maintain has lots to give you, even in case you aren’t a gymnast. From serving to to warm up your core to reinforcing the proper bracing patterns throughout heavy lifting, there are greater than sufficient causes to offer the hole physique place a go. 

Teaches Right Bracing Method

Correctly bracing your trunk is a vital ability in case you work out with free weights. You would possibly assume that, in case you squeeze your abs or take a giant breath in, you’ve adequately braced your core to withstand load. Nonetheless, a very good core brace takes a bit greater than that. 

The hole maintain teaches you to “clamp” your ribcage down and maintain your pelvis in a impartial place. This posture creates circumferential strain in your torso, offering 360-degree stability when you carry. 

You Can Do It Anyplace

You may by no means undersell the worth of comfort. An train could also be price its weight in gold on paper, however whether it is too awkward or impractical to carry out, you gained’t get a lot use out of it. 

The hole maintain outlives lots of its calisthenics counterparts on this regard. Not solely is it relevant as a postural drill regardless of your degree of health, you are able to do it principally wherever with no equipment needed

Nice for Freshmen

Gym newbies and first-time lifters have to construct robust foundations to help their lifting careers. Should you fall into that camp, getting your bracing recreation down from day one will serve you nicely in the long term.

The hole maintain is equal components abdominal-builder and instructing software. It informs you of learn how to properly breathe and management your trunk earlier than bearing any weight — a universally-applicable ability. 

Who Ought to Do the Hole Maintain

Should you’re on the fence concerning the hole maintain, it’s time to select a aspect. There are few higher actions so that you can plug into your subsequent core circuit or bodyweight-only workout. See in case you fall into any of those camps after which make the leap: 


As a newbie, you don’t have to overcomplicate your ab workouts. The trouble of resistance coaching itself will offer you a strong dosage of core coaching with out ever having to carry out a crunch or sit-up. That mentioned, some direct ab work actually doesn’t harm. 

A person watching an exercise guide on his laptop.
Credit score: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

In selecting your ab exercises, you need to veer in the direction of actions that transcend simply constructing your six-pack. Use the hole maintain to develop your abs whereas additionally instructing good bracing habits. 

Body weight Lovers

Should you choose to work with out weights, energy to you. You may get a surprisingly good session in with out ever having to the touch a dumbbell or barbell. All of it comes down to selecting the right actions.

Go for the hole physique place throughout your subsequent core training circuit and also you is likely to be stunned at how efficient it may be. Whether or not you maintain the place for time or add a little bit of exterior weight, you’ll get lots of worth out of the hole maintain. 

Energy Athletes

World-class squats (and Earth-shatteringly heavy deadlifts) begin from the bottom up. For the energy athlete, which means that your core coaching, whereas remedial, will pay dividends when it comes time to tug on a new 1-rep max

Should you don’t know learn how to lock in your abs earlier than making an attempt a heavy lift, you’ll restrict your energy output and should even put your self in hurt’s approach. Don’t underestimate the value of an train just like the hole maintain in case you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, or strongman athlete. 

Lock It In

Energy athletes and common gymgoers have lots to study from gymnasts. Gymnastics could appear like hypnotic efficiency artwork to the untrained eye, however the sport calls for ludicrous ranges of core energy, postural control, and grit. 

All of that are qualities you possibly can develop by coaching your abs like a gymnast. Your first cease must be the hole maintain. As soon as you know the way to lock in your core, each train you do will begin to really feel as fluid and weightless as a gymnast at work. 


Hole maintain acquired you scratching your head? Right here’s a few frequent questions with solutions which will gentle the way in which for you.

What’s the hole maintain place?

Within the sport of gymnastics, the hole maintain place (or hollow-body maintain) is a specific posture. You “clamp” your ribs down, tuck your butt below you barely, and squeeze your abs to brace your torso.

This permits gymnasts (and anybody else) to take care of a inflexible posture and resist exterior forces comparable to gravity or a heavy barbell. Lifters can apply the hole maintain in preparation for heavy free-weight coaching as nicely.

Do I would like to make use of weight throughout the hole maintain?

It is dependent upon your “why”: Should you’re doing the hole maintain to learn to brace your core correctly, you don’t have to work with any exterior weights (comparable to holding a kettlebell in your arms).

Nonetheless, in case you benefit from the train and wish to hold it in your repertoire usually, that you must induce progressive overload not directly. Including some exterior resistance is a good choice for turning up the issue of the hole maintain place.

Trending Merchandise

Add to compare
IRON °FLASK Sports Water Bottle – 32 Oz, 3 Lids (Straw Lid), Leak Proof, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel, Double Walled…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Water Bottle Insulated 32oz 40oz 64oz 128oz Straw Lid Spout Lid & 3 Lids, Leak Proof, Vacuum Insulated,Stainless Steel…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Venture Pal Large 64 oz/Half Gallon Motivational Water Bottle with 2 Lids (Chug and Straw), Leakproof BPA Free Sports…
Add to compare
Add to compare
Coldest Sports Water Bottle with Straw Lid Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Metal Thermos Bottles Reusable Leak Proof…
Add to compare
Add to compare
H2 HYDROLOGY Adventure Water Bottle with 3 LIDS | Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth | Sports Hot…
Add to compare
Add to compare
H2 Hydrology Water Bottle – 18 oz, 22 oz, 32 oz, 40 oz, or 64 oz with 3 LIDS Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless…
Add to compare
Add to compare
COKTIK 32 oz Sports Water Bottle With Straw,3 Lids, Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottles,Leakproof Lightweight…
Add to compare
Add to compare
HYDRARANK Half Gallon Water Bottle with Straw and Chug Lid – 2.2L Gym Water Jug with Storage Sleeve and Handle – BPA…
Add to compare
Add to compare
JoyJolt Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle with Strap, Silicone Sleeve and Lid (Grey). 20oz Water Bottles. Reusable Water…
Add to compare

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart