I am not a gymnast, I have never been a gymnast, nor will I ever be a gymnast!!! However here I am at 41 obsessing with handstands and handstand walking. It wasn’t until I mastered the hollow body position that this dream became a reality. I am actually walking on my hands!!! @jillrs75 Achieving this goal of mine would not have been possible without the time and dedication spent perfecting a solid hollow body position. So what is it? It is basically one of the hardest elements I have incorporated into my training and my classes. I am not saying this to scare you but to prepare you for what will be a rewarding yet huge challenge. So picture the shape of a banana or a hammock, this is the image you want to match when performing your Hollow. If you follow the instructions below point by point you can and will Hollow!
But first… Why the Hollow?
I always get a laugh when I tell people I take gymnastics. I agree that it sounds ridiculous but it has become one of the most helpful elements in my training and the skills I have learned with Strongnastics have made me both a better trainer and athlete. Jenn Lymburger is co-owner and coach of Strongnastics where aside from working one on one with athletes she and her staff teach seminars as well. With respect to these seminars Jenn says, “The Hollow Hold is one of the first things we teach in our seminars right after warm up. If athletes do not understand the importance of the Hollow Hold and how effectively to do it (even if it’s scaled for now) then there is no point in moving on to other skills. I know it sounds harsh, but its true!” Jenn believes “the Hollow Body Position is something that athletes of ALL types can and should consider adding into their training routine. Developing a strong core and midline transfers SO much of what we do from our training to our day-to-day activities and the joy of it is the only ‘equipment’ you need is your body!”
In January I attended the Crossfit Gymnastics course and the very first thing we learned and spent hours and hours on was the Hollow Body Position. This course, combined with my training with Strongnastics, gave me the skills and confidence to teach the Hollow to you. Whoever was in my 6am class on the Tuesday morning after my workshop can remember the Hollow drills we did. A class has not gone by now where we haven’t implemented the Hollow somewhere and it amazes me how it has improved so many other exercises for my Spynga athletes. I see the results and I know they feel it too. The constant repetition of these drills from class to class can help us all achieve the exercise that we dream of mastering. For some it might be a proper push up, for others a strict pull up, and for me the Handstand Walk!
How to master the Hollow!
What I look for when I teach the Hollow Body Hold is tension from your finger tips to your toes. Of course coming in for a class or two will help you with the technique but if you cannot make it in you can try this on your own:
First you will do the standing drill shown in this video here.
Next attempt the floor position shown in this video here.
Download a tabata interval timer – You will be in a Hollow Body Hold for eight 20 second intervals with 10 seconds of rest in between
Be prepared to sweat!
During a class, once I have my athletes in the Hollow, I will usually walk around the room and try to break their feet positioning apart. If I am able to do that it shows me the athlete is not engaged 100% so practice on maintaining that tight position. It is this position that defines midline stability. Once the Hollow is mastered you will find all other core and stability exercises that much easier. You might not be a gymnast but thinking like one will change the way you train and will improve your results. Good luck and enjoy the Hollow!
Points of Position: No space between lumbar spine and floor, Shoulder Blades elevated, Hips extended with posterior pelvic tilt and knees and elbows locked.
I may not be a gymnast, but thinking like one has changed the way I train myself and coach you.