The benefits to a proper hollow body position are endless when it comes to easing back pain, developing strength through the midsection, and keeping you healthy and active for many decades to come. Developing the hollow body position will help you build core strength endurance, something which is absolutely necessary for functional work of any kind. In addition, learning the hollow body teaches you how to shape your entire body as one unit.
Lower back pain is one of the most widely experienced health-related issues. It is unfortunately very common and we have a goal of helping you relieve your back pain to live a happy and healthy life. By now it is relatively common knowledge that sitting and not moving is not beneficial for the health of our bodies. However, when we take a deeper look at the issue, we see that the lower back (lumbar spine) is meant for stability, and the upper back (thoracic spine) is meant for mobility. When we are sedentary and lack core strength, our thoracic becomes stiff, while our weak lumbar tries to make up the difference by bending and flexing more than it should. Hollow body positioning is just one of the many exercises that will help you become stronger and feeling better than ever.
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. 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 such that your feet are just a few inches above the floor. Note the details: elbows are locked, legs are together, 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 hard work and discipline.
While we are developing our hollow body positioning, we will also work in some integrated mobility movements. The purpose of the integrated mobility is to help develop and/or preserve the appropriate amount of flexibility and mobility in the joints that we are working. Often times our muscles are much more prepared for the demands that we place on them than the supporting structures like the ligaments and tendons. By pairing an mobility movement with every strength movement we are helping to ensure that injuries are limited to a minimum.
Here is your challenge for the week (Core A - Life Progression 1):
Set a running clock (start from 0:00) and perform the strength movement at the beginning of every even minute, and the mobility movement at the beginning of every odd minute.
An example would look like this:
0:00 Strength set 1
1:00 Mobility set 1
2:00 Strength set 2
3:00 Mobility set 2
4:00 Strength set 3
5:00 Mobility set 3
6:00 Strength set 4
7:00 Mobility set 4
8:00 Strength set 5
9:00 Mobility set 5
The Strength movement for progression 1 is: Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
The Mobility movement for progression 1 is: Cat Cow x 5 reps
Perform each movement at the beginning of every minutes (alternating between the Strength movement and the Mobility movement).
Make sure that during the Bent Hollow Body Holds that you keep the lower back pressed firmly into the ground and keep the feet and shoulders off the ground during the set.
For the Cat Cows make sure that you pull the middle of the back upward strongly and that the necks position mimics the spines position throughout the movement.
The specific movements and times that you will perform should look like this:
0:00 Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
1:00 Cat Cow x 5 reps
2:00 Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
3:00 Cat Cow x 5 reps
4:00 Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
5:00 Cat Cow x 5 reps
6:00 Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
7:00 Cat Cow x 5 reps
8:00 Bent Hollow Body Hold x 30 seconds
9:00 Cat Cow x 5 reps
If you can perform both the Strength and Integrated Mobility movements for the prescribed time/reps with no pain then you may be ready to move on to the next progression.
It is recommended that you repeat each level of progression 2-3 times before moving on to the next level of progression.
Check out the movement demo videos below, and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us. Good luck!