Basics Of The Arch And Hollow For Your Core

Many positions (i.e., “shapes”) in gymnastics are used in fitness and sports activities outside of it. Among these positions are the arch and hollow, which are considered as essential foundational shapes.

In the following sections, we will discuss the basic steps in mastering the basics of the arch and hollow holds.  

The Arch Hold

In the arch hold, the body is in full extension; in contrast, the hollow hold means it’s in full flexion. When assuming the arch position, be sure to focus on full body tension instead of just arching your low back. Your body from your shoulders to your abs, glutes and quads should be in full tension.

To get into the arch position:

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your legs together and in a straight position. Keep your arms in your sides.
  • Straighten your arms to the overhead position.
  • Squeeze your glutes while doing so.
  • Lift your arms, chest and heels up off the floor as if you’re Superman.

Keep in mind, too, that you’re aiming for a tight arch in your body, not for a hyperextended arch. You will then be able to move from one shape to the next and to perform ballistic exercise with more efficiency. The arch hold prevents your lower back from lighting up, so to speak, during your training.  

The Hollow Hold

In the hollow hold, your entire spine assumes segmental flexion. Your lower back and torso assumes a concave appearance so you seem “hollowed out”.  You may also include your arms and legs in the hollow hold but do so only when you have achieved the advanced stage.

To assume the hollow position:

  • Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent.
  • Tuck your hips under into a posterior pelvic tilt position. Press your lower back as flat as possible into the floor.
  • Reach your hands toward your feet as if you’re making a crunch. Pull your shoulders slightly up off the floor.
  • Hold your lower back against the floor and lift your feet off the floor. Your shoulders should still be slightly up off the floor during this movement, too.

You have achieved the tucked hollow position that can be made more difficult by slowly straightening your legs. But be careful not to let your lower back leave the floor lest you break the “flexed position”.

These shapes are used in generating explosive power in a wide range of movements from kipping pull-ups to tumbling.  These positions are also great for core muscle development, thus, these are shapes that bodybuilders at Gold’s Gym would do well to master.

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