Why the Hollow Rock – Sun 7.17.16

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You may have noticed an increase of Hollow Rocks being programmed.  Good job for noticing!

The hollow body position is a gymnastic staple, a basic movement, that’s a lot harder than it looks. When done properly, the hollow rock will strengthen your core better than just about any other exercise.

Lie down face up with your arms and legs both extended and about one foot off the floor. The goal is to be the shape of a rocking chair. Then, much like a rocking chair, start moving back and forth while keeping your body stiff and without raising your arms and legs.

The key is lowering the lumbar arch of your back to the floor before you begin. Lying on the floor relaxed, you can usually slip your hand underneath the arch in the small of your back. You don’t want that. Force your back flat so that it’s a smooth, round shape from your shoulders to your butt. This really forces the lower abs to work, which is the point of the exercise. Start slowly, but if you can keep this up for two minutes, your abs will be the envy of the gym.

The hollow body position can be used to train your deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominus and multifidus, which are not readily recruited with traditional “core” exercises such as sit-ups and crunches. However when maximizing recruitment of the deep core muscles the term “bracing” may be more appropriate than the term “hollowing”.

So, besides another “core” movement to help you look good, what will recruiting your deep core muscles and holding a hollow body position mean to you?

  • Dynamic Stability – Human movement is based upon your ability to move your extremities around your stable core.  Without a stable core, your extremities would have no base of support to work off of. When you can recruit your deep core muscles you will be able to turn your core into a rigid lever for your limbs to move around.
  • Power Transfer – Do you want to lift more? Many of the lifts that we use require us to generate force with the powerful muscles of our legs and hips and then transfer that momentum to our shoulders and arms (like thrusters). When we recruit the deep muscles of our core, forming that rigid lever, less energy is lost in this transfer.
  • Flexibility/Mobility – How many of you have limited hip, thoracic and/or shoulder mobility? When we try to move our bodies, without recruiting the deep core muscles, the spine is unstable. The body’s response to this is to restrict your movement in an attempt to prevent back injuries. Teaching yourself to fire your deep core musculature will give you the range of motion that no amount of stretching can.
  • Injury Prevention – Almost everyone experiences back pain in their life.  The good news is that proper core stabilization can help you reduce your likelihood of experiencing a back pain or recurrence of previous pain. When active, the deep core muscles can absorb a significant amount of force, which would otherwise be placed on other tissues leading to injury.

The hollow body position is one way to train the deep core muscles that often go missed in standard core programs. Once trained, the deep core muscles will learn to fire automatically when they are needed. Training these muscles can make you more stable, powerful, mobile and injury resistant all while making you look good!

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