The Key to Getting Six Pack Abs – The Hollow Body Hold

hollow body hold
One variation of the brutal hollow body hold.

Researching variations of how to do the hollow body hold?

It’s tough isn’t it!

The hollow body is a huge staple in our training programs. I see this to our clients all the time but your core is the foundation to EVERYTHING that we do.

If we can get you strong through your midline and have solid range of motion you are going to be set up for success.

In today’s article I’ll share with you:

  • How to do hollow body
  • Variations/Progressions of the beast
  • And whatever else I can think of by the time I get there 🙂

Check out our online training programs here.

Hollow Body Hold

I go over everything you need to know in this video.

They key to the hollow body hold is to get proper engagement in your abs.

No kidding right?

But a lot of people don’t know how to do that…

…Just performing the exercise that you see and replicating it yourself doesn’t mean that you are actually activating your muscles.

This is why it’s important to do the progression that is best suited for you. The most important part of this exercise is being able to keep your back flat.

If you are arching in your lower back you aren’t working your abs the way you could be. You are actually putting more stress on your lower back than in your abs.

Mastered the hollow body and want something even harder? Then check out the L sit hold 🙂

Hollow Body Progression

There are many progressions to this exercise of course but I’ll share a few that I feel are the most relevant.

Hollow Body Progression #1

Master this first.

Notice in the video my knees are pulled past my hip crease.

When you do this it helps your lower back get flat.

Why is that important?

Because that’s the first step to “activating” your abs. Now pull your ribs down and reach for your toes and you are going to feel your abs turn on right away.

Try this:

  • 4 sets
  • 30 seconds of work
  • 30 seconds of rest

Hollow Body Progression #2

Once you have strengthen your rib cage down position now we want to begin to challenge the lever of your legs.

This gets challenging quick.

Notice in the video that:

  • One knee is still pulled past my hip crease
  • My ribs are still pulled down tight
  • No arching in my back

This variation of the hollow body hold is gets hard fast.

*Remember* we want to train a good position and create good habits.

Since this is a harder variation you will most likely have to do this for less duration compared to the first progression.

So try:

  • 3 sets (less volume)
  • 30 seconds of work
  • 30 seconds of rest
hollow body hold
Click on the photo to be taken to our free abs

Hollow Body Hold Progression #3

Now that you have gotten stronger with having one leg extended we want to take one step back to the tuck position hold first.

We have to strengthen your “rib cage down” position or when you extend your legs for the full variation your back is going to arch right way.

So give this one a try:

Keep your knees glued together tight.

In the video you can see how challenging it is to maintain a good position.

Be sure to keep:

  • your knees past your hip crease
  • your knees glued tight together
  • your rib cage down and elbows pinned out!

You will see this variation in our series that ab exercises men should be doing.

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The hollow body hold is a beast of an exercise and if done properly it can be a great ab exercise.

But if not you will feel it pretty much just in your lower back. Today I provided you with 3 progressions:

  • Tuck pulse
  • Single leg tuck hold
  • Weighted tuck hold

Give those exercises a try to level up your hollow body game!

Join our free 5 day ab course and we will take you through some sweet ab workouts in less than 10 minutes a day.

personal trainers
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is hollow body hold good?

100%. It's the first exercise we teach our clients to master. If you can learn to establish a strong core and how to move your spine properly then you will be set up for success. It's a really challenging exercise though so be sure to reference the progressions above.

What does the hollow body hold work?

The hollow body hold is going to teach you how to be stable through your "trunk". When you learn to get into a ribs down position your abs will be properly engaged, activate your glutes, and take a ton of pressure of your lower back.

If when you try and your lower back arches it's most likely because your hip flexors are so tight which cause a ton of tension on your lower back.

hollow body hold
One of Katies favorite exercises 🙂

Are hollow holds harder than planks?

The position of your spine should actually replicate the same. I talk about that in the video above and a lot of people get this wrong. If you fail to tuck your pelvis and you have the arch in your back whether you are performing a plank or a hollow body hold you will not get the proper engagement you are wanting.

If you have any additional questions comment down below and I'm happy to help you out!

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