Excelling in the Hollow Hold


A Part of Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series 

The hollow hold is an exercise that engages the athlete’s core muscles and relies on the athlete’s ability to hold an arched body position while lying on the floor and keeping legs and arms off the ground. Similar to the plank, the hollow hold is a foundational gymnastics movement that is excellent strengthening and stabilizing your core muscles. Athletes will immediately feel anterior (front) core muscles, such as the abdominal (stomach) muscles, shoulders, and quadriceps activated as they perform the movement.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Feet and Hands Toward the Sky: To transition into the hollow hold movement, start lying on your back and extend your feet and hands toward the sky. Keep your arms and legs as straight as possible as you move into this position.
  2. Feel the Round: The goal is to get your back in a position where you create a slight round / arch in your lower back and can actually feel the ground beneath your back.
  3. Lower Your Legs: Begin to lower your legs toward the ground until you feel the round in your back start to give. As soon as you feel a gap begin to develop between your lower back and the floor, you know you’ve moved your legs down too far. Slightly raise your legs back up until you once again feel the round in your back. This is the perfect position for you to hold your legs.
  4. Bring Arms Up and Back: In a similar manner, lower your arms back behind your head and toward the ground. As soon as you feel the round in your back start to give or your shoulder blades touch the ground, you know you’ve gone too far. Move your arms slightly back upward until you feel the round in your back once again and shoulder blades are properly off the floor. This is the right placement for you to hold your arms.
  5. Max Holds: When it comes to how long you should hold the hollow hold position, the most common recommendation is to hold it as long as you can! Max holds simply mean that you attempt to hold the position for as long as you can before dropping down to rest. Set a goal for yourself as you complete your max holds to continue to drive improvement. Even reaching for that additional ten seconds of hold time can make a big difference in your core strength!
  6. 30-On / 30-Off: Another variation for how long to hold the hollow hold position is to hold for 30 seconds on and then immediately rest for 30 seconds. Try to perform this 30-On / 30-Off rotation set as many times as you are able before you feel your core hit burn-out. Push yourself for one more set, as we get the most benefit out of the last bit of work we do.



  1. Everyone is Different: Remember that every person’s hollow hold position may look a bit different depending on their core strength and mobility. Don’t worry about others’ positions – focus on improving your position one hold at a time.
  2. It Takes Time: As you practice the hollow hold consistently, you will find that you have increased ability to lower your legs and arms farther toward the ground without breaking the nice round in your back. Eventually some athletes are able to get their arms and legs within about 6 – 8 inches from the ground while holding their abdominal muscles (core) tight. This progression takes time, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing!

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency. 


Fierce Play’s Grounded Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


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CrossFit Level 1 Certification



Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


CrossFit Level 1 Certification


Owner & Head Coach

Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

Fierce Play was established in 2012 in a 500 sq. ft. garage. After a few moves and upgrades, it now has a permanent, 4800 sq. ft. location in Maple Grove. Jeff calls it “home”.


NPTI (National Personal Training Institute) CPT Diploma January 5, 2012

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