Category Archives: Ab Training

The Hollow Body Position and PPT Straight Leg Bridge

Pelvic strength and endurance is highly underrated in strength & conditioning. If you fail to stabilize the pelvis, it will rotate and take the spine along with it. You want to dictate what your pelvis does during exercise; not the other way around. I have two new exercises and one older exercise to share with you today.

The Hollow Body Position

The hollow body position has been used in gymnastics for decades and is an excellent core exercise. Unfortunately, most strength coaches have yet to embrace it. This is a shame as the exercise develops lumbopelvic stability and improves the body’s ability to resist excessive anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar hyperextension. For maximal pelvic stability, you want the glutes and abs to be strong and coordinated in order to hold down posterior tilt.  The hollow rock focuses on abdominal strength.


It is significantly more challenging than a standard plank exercise and is harder to screw up. Initially you may find that a 20-second hold is highly challenging, but you’ll quickly gain endurance. Over time you want to be able to hold this position for 2 minutes. Once you master this, you can begin rocking up and down or finding other ways to make the exercise more difficult.

Just lay on the ground, flatten out the lumbar spine so it’s flush with the floor and posteriorly tilt the pelvis, then raise your legs approximately 6-12 inches off the ground. Here’s’ how it’s done:

The Posterior Pelvic Tilt Straight Leg Bridge

The Posterior Pelvic Tilt Straight Leg Bridge can be performed to develop glute endurance which goes hand in hand with the abdominal endurance gained from the Hollow Body Position. Simply lay supine, squeeze the abs and glutes into a posterior pelvic tilt, then dig through the heels and slightly raise the body off the ground.

The Long Lever Posterior Tilt Plank

Here’s a video I made a while back that shoes you how to perform a challenging plank variation that also helps develop well-rounded core endurance.

With these three core movements, you should be well on your way to developing rock solid anti-lumbar-extension/anti-anterior-pelvic-tilt core stability and endurance.

Long Lever Pelvic Tilt Plank (LLPTP)

My friend Brad Schoenfeld and I are currently conducting a study on the long lever pelvic tilt plank (LLPTP). This is the exercise-name we came up with for the study. I’d have called it the RKC plank, as this is how I learned it from my friend Joe Sansalone several years back. However, the RKC teaches their planks differently now (with a normal lever length and a “piking” action), so we had to come up with a generic name.

It sounds complicated, but it’s just a plank with a narrowed and extended lever, along with a posterior pelvic tilt.

In the video, I’m not using good form. My elbows aren’t truly lined up underneath my nose (do what I say, not as I do haha) – I cheated and made the exercise easier by lining my elbows up with my mouth.

If you do it correctly, this plank variation is extremely challenging. Just make sure the lever is really extended out so that your elbows are underneath your nose…and make sure that you squeeze your glutes as hard as possible.

In our study we’ll be looking at the traditional plank, the long lever plank, the posterior pelvic tilt plank, and the long lever pelvic tilt plank. This way, we’ll be able to make comparisons as to what effects extending the lever length, posteriorly tilting the pelvis, and doing both have on planking.

Many individuals possess poor posterior tilting motor control and weak glute function and are therefore unable to hold the maximal glute squeeze for sufficient time. If you struggle with the posterior pelvic tilt, try the following progression: 1) posterior pelvic tilt plank from the knees, 2) posterior pelvic tilt plank from the feet 3) long lever pelvic tilt plank.

I’ve taught this at seminars and have heard back from attendees saying that the PTP’ing made their glutes very sore the following day, which is quite surprising to me as I’ve never felt soreness from this action of the glutes. I confess – I struggle with a 30-second hold with the LLPTP – give it a try!

We’ll start collecting data soon and will of course try to get it published as quickly as possible.

An important role of the glutes that many coaches fail to acknowledge

Free Core Article and Two New Glute Exercises

I’m very proud to promote a new article I just co-authored with my buddy Brad Schoenfeld on core training. We worked very hard on this one and I feel it’s without a doubt the best core article ever written to date. Check out the chart on the final page, it does an excellent job of summarizing the different types of core exercises. It’s a free pdf so you can download the article and save it for future reference. Click on the link below to read/download the article:

Strategies for Optimal Core Training Program Design

Moving on, here are two new glute exercises that I’ve been performing as a warm-up prior to my workouts. I aim for quality, not quantity, and do a couple sets of 6-10 reps on each side with both movements. I really like these for full range hip strength and functional flexibility. The first is performed from a standing position and works on a more hip-neutral ROM, whereas the second is performed from a quadruped position and works on a more hips-flexed ROM. Both involve the same principle. If you do them right you’ll feel them working both hips very effectively, but you need to concentrate and utilize proper body position and movement.

Double Standing Hip Abduction

Double Quadruped Transverse Hip Abduction

I’m assuming that other physios or coaches have thought of these before but I’ve never seen or heard the names so I had no other choice but to make up very complex-sounding names for both exercises. I know that yoga and Pilates have lots of these types of movements. I like these more than standing airplanes or fire hydrants. Give them a try, I hope you like them!

The first movement feels a little “Tai Chi – esque.”

The RKC Plank

Here’s a video discussing the RKC Plank. I learned this from my buddy Joe Sansalone. I’m not sure if I’m teaching it correctly according to the RKC, but this is the way I currently teach the plank, and quite frankly the regular plank pales in comparison to this variation.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Lengthen the lever by placing your arms further out.
  2. Narrow the base by placing your elbows closer together.
  3. Contract the quads to lock out the knees.
  4. Contract the glutes as hard as possible to posteriorly tilt the pelvis (the low abs and external obliques will assist with this too); hold this pelvic position throughout the duration of the set
  5. Look down and keep the head and neck in neutral (packing the neck might even be better).

Here’s the video:

To me this is a no-brainer. You get:

  1. Way more rectus abdominis and oblique activity (see chart below – 4X more lower ab, 3X more external oblique, and 2X more internal oblique)
  2. Way more glute max activity
  3. Low back pain prevention via several different mechanisms;
    • Teaches proper hip mechanics which will prevent lumbar hyperextension during hip extension movements
    • Teaches the glute max to force closure of the SI Joint during hip extension movements
    • I could go on as there are more mechanisms at play but you get the point