Crunches don’t really work. And if they do help, it’s only just a bit. Planks are okay, but here’s an alternative exercise compared to those boring and barely effective abdominal drills you are used to doing. They’re called hollow body rocks. Take a look at the video below courtesy of Naka Athletics.
A Bit More Info Hollow Body Rocks
Hollow body rocks is a gymnastic drill that has been used for two purposes: to build core strength and to learn the proper hollow body shape need for the correct performance of several gymnastic skills. Hollow body rocks are a lot harder to do and to learn than typical crunches or planks. If you have never done them before, you will have to get used to the subtleties of the movement and what to engage.
8 Steps To A Perfect Hollow Body Rock
Here are several body cues that can get you set up to do hollow body rocks properly.
1. Lay down on the floor and get your body into a hollow shape
2. The small lower part of your back is pressed hard into the floor. This is the only part of your back that is in constant contact with the floor.
3. Begin to rock by swinging your legs down which forces your upper body to swing upwards.
4. Your body must be/feel stiff like a board throughout the whole range of motion.
5. Once you start rocking, allow for your arms and legs to continue the momentum.
6. Remember to stay tight and in the hollow body shape throughout the range of motion.
7. You my feel some intense cramps in your abdomen area and pressure building up around your lower back.
8. Start with a rep range between 15 and 30 for 3 to 5 sets. See if you can get to 60 reps. This is tough.
Scaling It down
If regular hollow body rocks are too hard, you can scale this exercise by bending in your legs into your body or keeping your legs in a straddled position. Here’s a picture of a bent hollow body rock. If you’ve never done hollow body rocks before, start with the bent version first.
I find hollow body rocks to be a superior and alternative exercise to any kind of crunches or planks. The video above is one of the better examples I found online. Use this video or the steps I outlined to help you start training your abdomen the way gymnast do. Gymnast have incredible core strength. One of the staple exercises that help them develop that core strength are hollow body rocks. What other athlete has a stronger and more functional core than a gymnast? I can’t think of any.