Hollow Rocks: Muscles Worked, Exercise Demo, and Benefits

Hollow rocks are an exercise that may be popular across most strength, power, and fitness sports to develop a powerful and stable core. Proper midline stability and control allow us to withstand loading, resist rotational forces on the spine, and make tension to assist in movements like squat, pulls, presses, and explosive movements (simply to name some).

Therefore, in the following paragraphs we’ll discuss hollow rocks, the muscles worked, proper technique and progressions, and the specific benefits it can offer coaches and athletes.

Muscles Worked

Hollow rocks target most of the muscles within the body, with a key emphasis on the core muscles, for example;

  • Rectus abdominis
  • Transverse abdominals
  • Obliques

Hollow Rocks Exercise Demo

Below is a video demonstration regarding how to perform hollow rocks. Note, that this movement can be done for isometric holds (hollow hold) or having a rocking motion where the core muscles continue to be isometrically trying to resist spinal flexion, extension, or rotation.

Benefits of Hollow Rocks

Below are three advantages of performing hollow rocks (as well as the three hollow rocks progressions within the latter sections of this article).

Midline Control

Hollow rocks can be done to improve midline stability and control. The significance of midline stability is highlighted in almost any strength lift, explosive movement, or act of daily human life. By increasing midline stability, we are able to help resist unwanted rotational and shearing forces on the spine whilst learning how to generate core tension and make greater stability during loaded and unloaded movement.

Prerequisite to Gymnastic Movements

Proper midline stability and coordination from the abdominals, hips, and torso is key to movements like pull-ups, dips, rings, bar work, etc. With the importance of gymnastic skills in fitness sports (as well as bodyweight exercises for weightlifters), hollow rocks could be a wise decision for core strengthening for any level of lifter/athlete.

Isometric Core Strength

Increasing isometric strength of the abdominals, obliques, and erectors is essential to most loaded movements like squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and carries. Strength, power, and fitness sports rely a good deal on a lifter’s capability to stabilize the core through strong isometric contractions while under load or during movement; making hollow rocks a great primer or corrective movement to teach proper recruitment of the core muscles.

Hollow Rocks Progressions

Below are few exercises that coaches and athletes can do once they have progressed hollow rocks. The key to all of those progressions is to not lose midline stability and control, whatever the movement progression.

Hollow Tucks

Similar to a double crunch and v-up, hollow tucks simply has an individual perform hollow rocks and then pull their knees into their chest. This boosts the tension placed upon the abdominals and could be a good way to force midline stability throughout a more movement based exercise.

Hollow Rolls

Hollow rolls entails the person performing hollow rocks in the hollow position and rotating their body so that they do a barrel roll. The additional roll creates rotation force on the body, furthering the demands placed upon critical spinal stabilization muscles, such a the obliques.

Reverse Hollow Rocks

Once you have learned how you can properly perform hollow rocks after that you can master this motion while lying prone on the ground (facing down towards the floor). This exercise can help to increase hamstring, glute, lower back, and scapular control and enhanced extension of the body while still maintaining midline stability.

Stronger Abs for Strength and Power Athletes

Here are two articles you need to read if you’re serious about building a stronger, more functional midsection.

  • Core Training for Weightlifters and Competitive Fitness Athletes
  • Start carrying this out squat variation is that you simply possess a weak core….

Featured Image: @sheila_sue on Instagram

Editor’s Note:?Danny Page,?Xstasis Performance Coach and BarBend reader, had the following to say after reading the above article:

“The Hollow Body Hold is one of the most effective exercises which i have personally used throughout my training career as well as teaching it to ALL of my clients regardless of how old they are or athletic ability. Very similar to an upside down plank, there are many variations of this exercise that can be performed by a beginner who is just finding out how to use their core effectively to the advanced athlete that can stack a 45 lb. plate on their hands as well as on their legs. Though it is relatively simple to perform, I always put extreme focus and care on the athletes lower back, ensuring there is no space between your back and floor, eliminating any anterior pelvic tilt that may harm the low lumbar. Once this really is obtained, variations then can happen with the legs and arms at full extension to increase the work load on the mid-section, again always ensuring the reduced back stays intact with the floor. Advanced variations can follow and something of my favorites may be the Hollow Body Rock – where the body actually rocks like a boat while maintaining locked arms and legs – it is really an incredible exercise and extremely works not only the core but the central nervous system too.”

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