Three Floor Exercises for Hollow Body

What’s the most important exercise for an aerialist to train? You might think it’s pull-ups or even inversions, but there’s a fundamental first step that is essential to gaining the core strength that really helps you nail those other two. It’s likely one of the first drills you did way back in your intro class, when pull-ups seemed completely out of reach and inversions looked like magic. We’re talking about the hollow body hold.

Right now is a great time to train your hollow body position, as it requires no specialized equipment and doesn’t take up a lot of space or even much time. Think about incorporating a couple holds throughout your day — try for maybe 30 seconds at a time to start and work your way up to 60 seconds, then 90. We go over the basic setup for a hollow body hold here.

The most important part of your hollow body hold is keeping your lower back flat to the ground. As soon as you feel it start to lift off, or if you feel any other part of your form start to slacken, take a rest or move to an easier variation. For example, bring arms down to your sides if they’re overhead or bring legs into a tabletop position (knees bent and stacked over hips) if they’ve been straight.

Looking for other ways to train and strengthen hollow body aside from static holds? We got you! Check out these exercises.

Floor Tuck-Ups

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take your arms straight overhead, resting the backs of the hands on the ground. Find hollow body by pulling your belly button to your spine. Slide heels in toward your hips and pull knees as close to chest as possible, allowing hips to lift slightly off the floor. Return feet to the floor. Keep the backs of your hands on the ground the whole time. Try 10 reps, then rest and do a second set if you like.

Hollow Body Roll Downs

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold just behind your knees on the outside of your thighs. Lean back, allowing arms to straighten completely, then find hollow body, scooping out your abdominals. Slowly, with control, begin to roll down and lift your feet so that your low back is on the floor.

Hands stay behind the knees with straight arms; shoulders and head stay lifted. Reach your feet towards the floor to return to the starting position. Maintain your hollow body the entire time. Try 5 slow reps to start, adding more reps or a second set as needed.

Hollow Body Pushups

If you’re looking for a real challenge, try some hollow body pushups. Start this one in plank, then pull your belly in and round your shoulders as if you’re doing the cat part of a cat/cow, or as if you’re doing hollow body facing the floor. You will rise up on your toes and your gaze will tilt towards your feet.

Bend your elbows, pointing them straight behind you and keeping your arms close to your sides. Unlike a normal pushup, you’ll find that your forehead or hairline reaches the floor first. Return to the starting position and continue. Start with 3 of these; if you’re able to maintain proper form, go up to 5 or even 10.

Consistently training hollow body will help you find ease of movement in skills like pull-ups and inversions, as well as prevent injury by ensuring you automatically recruit the right muscles for the work you’re doing. Lifting our bodies into the air over and over is tiring, but a strong hollow body will allow you to work more efficiently. It will also make your hard work look fluid and effortless.

For more exercises to help keep or rebuild your aerial strength at home, check out our other blogs on the subject: How To Safely Build Aerial Skills on the Ground and Building Aerial Strength at Home with Pull-Ups.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash