One of my least favorite moves when it comes to my Pilates classes? The socket hollow. This one sounds relatively simple – sitting on your seat bones with your arms and legs raised, but it’s an isometric exercise with a lot of bang for your buck, and it really works hard.
Like many of best pilates abdominal exercises, the hollow grip strengthens the abdominal muscles while also working the lower back muscles. When done correctly, the hollow grip works the transverse abs (the deepest core muscles), rectus abdominis (the outer “six-pack” muscles), and obliques, as well as the erectors spine, hip flexors, quadriceps and inner thighs. To learn more and really dig deeper into the exercise, I did a three-minute hollow hold every day for a week – read on to find out what happened.
Looking for more weird and wonderful workout inspiration? Read what happened when I drank a gallon of water a day for a month, and when I did 50 planks every day for a month here.
How to do a hollow grip
To do a hollow grip with the correct form, lie on your back on one of the best yoga mats, arms and legs straight. Consider engaging your abs by drawing your navel in toward your spine, and raise your arms and legs a few inches off the floor, as well as your head and neck, keeping your chin tucked into your chest. Hold it here.
Make sure your lower back remains pressed against the mat at all times throughout the hold. If that’s too difficult, go for dead bugs instead. (Here is how to make a dead bug with correct form.) Alternatively, if you find that your back is lifting off the mat, hold your arms alongside your body, pointing at your feet instead.
When hollow holds get too easy, you can move on to hollow body rocks, where you rock back and forth, while maintaining the hold position, or add weight by holding a adjustable dumbbell or weight plate in your hands.
This is a challenging abdominal exercise, but if you have lower back issues, it’s worth consulting a doctor or personal trainer before practicing hollow grips.
I Did a 3-Minute Hollow Hold Every Day for a Week – and the Results Surprised Me
To test my core strength, I did a three-minute hollow hold every day for a week, here’s what happened.
Three minutes has never been so long
On the first day of this challenge, I wondered why I had set myself the three-minute challenge. It was a long time, and the first few days of the challenge, I split the sets into three one-minute takes, with a slight break in between.
I also found that I really have to think about my core during this move – be lazy and it’s easy to get sloppy with your form. Your shoulder blades should be off the ground throughout this movement, and the lift should come from your stomach, not your arms and legs themselves.
2. I learned to find joy in a quivering core
This one made my heart tremble. By the end of the week, I was able to hold the hollow grip for three minutes straight, but my entire midsection was shaking throughout. I could feel my abs really working to stabilize my body. The overall goal of this exercise is to keep your body still, and while this one didn’t make my heart rate skyrocket, I could feel my abs working hard to do it.
3. My core strength improved and my inner thighs worked out
Of course, exercising for a week won’t make a visible difference to your body – visible abs are the product of a low body fat percentage, not endless workouts. (Here is how to calculate your body fat percentage and why it matters.) That said, I definitely felt like I was able to hold the hollow grip longer by the end of the week.
Like I said in the intro, this wasn’t just an abs workout. I found my inner thighs also got a hell of a workout during hollow grips, as I focused on keeping my legs straight and my toes pointed.
4. Practice makes perfect (well, a little)
Do I like this exercise after doing 21 minutes of it over the course of a week? Definitely not. But by deepening my form and working on it for a week, I became much more confident with my hollow grips, and even managed to add a set of 3kg dumbbells on the last day of my challenge. As a runner, core strength is important to help me run faster and harder, and avoid injury stoppages, so this is definitely an ab exercise I’m going to incorporate into my routine at the moment. ‘coming.
Looking for more abs training inspiration? look at this Abdominal workout with dumbbells 15 minutesmore this Pilates workout that targets your abs and glutes.
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