As anyone who has ever attended one of my core classes (Rogue Running - Mondays & Thursday 6pm! Shameless plug...) can attest, I love a good hollow body hold (banana!). But, that's because, when held in correct posture, the hollow body hold (banana!) is one of the easiest ways to increase abdominal strength. Think of it like a reverse plank. Holding everything straight and in line causes the entire core to fire simultaneously, giving you a great burn, but also, great stability!
I also love to refer to it as 'banana.' Why? Because people love imagery and the hollow body hold looks just like a banana. If I set a banana on a flat surface, the 'spine' of the banana mimics exactly what I'm looking for in the hollow hold. It's 'head' is off the ground, it's 'feet' are as well. There's nothing bent or wonky about a banana.... those are the ones that get left on the shelf. So, be a banana.
The Key to the Hollow Body Hold
It's VERY easy to simply lay on the ground with your feet and arms off the ground. But what I'm looking for in the hollow body hold is making sure that the entire core is engaged and the back maintains contact with the ground. For beginners, you might not find this is easy.
Tip: One easy way to measure your range of motion is to lie on your back and draw your knees into your chest. This causes the pelvis to tilt, allowing your back to come in contact with the ground. Play around with moving your arms and extending your legs until you feel the low back start to leave the ground. This is your range of motion to start to build the hollow body hold from.
So how do I hold?
1. Start lying on your back, core engaged. Picture yourself pushing your core into your spine, letting yourself actively push into the ground. I should not be able to slip even a sheet of paper between you and the ground! Shoulders come off the ground, arms on either side of the head. Elbows are as close to the ears as possible.
2.Feet are pointed, only inches above the ground. As you begin to work with hollow body, you might have to hold your legs higher into the air to maintain contact with the ground - that's ok! - we all start somewhere.
As you become more comfortable with the hollow body hold, you can make it more challenging. For example, you could alternate the legs in a scissor kick.
Advanced: One of my favorite moves is a hollow body hold into a V-Tuck. Start in your hollow body position and then sit up, opening the legs into a 'V' position, sticking both hands through. Balance for a moment before coming back down into the ground in hollow body (banana!).