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.

the-hollow

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.

11 Comments

  • Dylan says:

    Are you planning on doing EMG testing with this exercise?

  • Aragus says:

    I’ve seen gymnasts doing this with upper back off floor and arms overhead. Wish I had the strength for that, as soon as I put my arms overhead my upper back goes to floor.

    For video and picture, purchase Foundation Books from Christopher Sommer, his Handstand book is fantastic for Handstands, wrist strength and shoulder flexibility.

  • Neal W. says:

    Are you in Scottsdale right now, Bret?

    It’s a travesty you’ve never gone to visit Coach Christopher Sommer who is the world’s leading authority on gymnastics strength training!

  • Mike says:

    Hey Brett, something I’ve been wondering about the hollow body is exactly how much of your upper back are you looking to lift off the mat? Is it like Mcgill’s Curl Up where you only lift the first few thoracic vertebrae up?

  • Zach Long says:

    For anyone interested in learning some progressions on this Carl Paoli has some great videos on the hollow body position on his youtube page “Nakaathletics”

  • joe m says:

    For literature backup on the hollow, the yoga boat position, a similar holding position, has been studied for EMG and activated abs more than the standard crunch (don’t have the study handy but it should be easy to find) so I expect this would be similar, would be interesting to see if it activates RA more than the boat..

  • Christian says:

    Straight leg bridge is a great exercise, glad to see it getting some hang time. Rectus femoris shortens gave me issues with locking out hip ext when performing the knee flexed variety, this made a big difference for me when I started using bridges and thrusts. Thanks for sharing it

  • Caj says:

    When performing the Hollow Body Position, are the glutes to be contracted as well?

  • Slim934 says:

    Nice post, but I’m a little curious concerning the Posterior Pelvic Tilt Straight Leg Bridge.

    The youtube appears to not be working. With a “straight leg bridge”, do you mean to say that the legs essentially straight when you drive the heels into the ground? I’m just having a hard time imagining how straight the legs actually are in this movement.

    Thanks.

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