Conventional bodybuilding would have you believe that rock hard abs come from your ability to perform a million repetitions of crunches but if you ask an Olympic gymnastic how they train abs they would give you a completely different answer.
Welcome to the Work of Rock Hollow Abs!
Gymnasts are taught early in their career how to perform a movement called the “Hollow Body Hold”. This exercise teaches them how to best brace their abdominal muscles and create full body tension. This single exercise is the most common carryover of every exercise they perform in gymnastics and the single common variable of the best athletes in the world.
The Hollow Hold and it’s dynamic counterpart the Hollow Rock is superior to all other abdominal exercises combined. Not only does it require a proficient strength to be able to engage your midline there is also a spatial awareness component that cannot be denied.
For example, I was able to quickly adjust this athlete’s spinal position by helping him create greater awareness and abdominal tension by using hollow rock exercise (photo below). This isn’t a gymnastic skill. It’s an athletic skill and basic requirement for high-level sports.
When learning the Hollow Rock the goal is to focus on engaging your anterior abdominal muscles by bringing your ribs down toward your pelvis and while trying to keep that position locked in place as tight and rigid as possible.
SET & REPS
Focus on small sets at a time. The Hollow Hold in the static-non moving position is a good start.
The goal is to develop a steady hollow rock for 60 seconds at a time. If you can’t do that initially don’t worry. Build up to that with sets, in the same manner, you would with interval strength training. 5 sets of 2o seconds with 30-60sec rest is very manageable.
POINTS OF PERFORMANCE
- Lie on your back in the hollow body position by pushing you’re your low back in the floor
- Extend your arms overhead by covering ears with your biceps
- Place your legs straight by squeezing your quads and glutes
- Point your toes away from you as far as possible
- Begin rocking back and forth without arching your lock back