Hollow Rocks Workouts, Benefits and Muscles Worked

Hollow Rocks Workouts are a great way to enhance your core strength and add this highly effective yet underutilised gymnastic exercise into your training.

Whether you love to rock climb or kayak, swim or lift weights, Hollow Rocks should become a staple part of your core and abs training. 

Benefits of Hollow Rocks Workouts

Hollow Rocks build strength and stabilisation in your core and lower back muscles. 

The Hollow Rock develops strength and stamina for general trunk stability. 

Many ab movements — like, all crunches and sit-up variations — have you flex your spine. The hollow rock is unique because, like a plank, it forces you to keep a neutral spine as you hold the position. As a result, the core will be trained to support that spine in this specific neutral position as your muscles fight to stabilise your body and prevent rotation.

handstand
Hollow Rocks Workouts build strength for many other exercises

Muscles Worked by Hollow Rocks Workouts

The hollow rock predominately trains your anterior chain — the muscles in the front of the body. These include your abs, core, hip flexors, and quads.

Primarily a core exercise, Hollow Rocks Workouts will target and improve your:

  • Traverse abdominis (located on each side of the naval)
  • Internal and external obliques (extending diagonally from ribs to pelvis)
  • Rectus abdominis (known as the six-pack)
  • Multifidus and erector spinae (located along the spine from head to pelvis)

Technique for the Hollow Rocks Exercise

  1. Inhale and brace your core and glutes
  2. Lie faceup on the floor, feet together, and bring them four to six inches off the ground
  3. Lift the arms overhead, so your biceps are next to your ears
  4. Tuck your chin to help keep a neutral spine
  5. While in the strong hollow position, gently rock forward and back as you continue to suspend your arms and legs off the floor

Hollow Rocks Technique Tips

  • Swing back and forward in a controlled motion, keep the back arched
  • Maintain the same angle of the legs at all times
  • Make sure to maintain constant tension in your core
  • Neither your hands nor heels should touch the ground
  • If you feel any tension in your lower back, reduce the range of motion a bit

Tips for Beginners

Beginners should start with the Hollow Hold then progress onto Hollow Rocks.

Hollow Rocks Movement

Hollow Rocks come from gymnastics, a discipline known for the incredible strength, skill, grace and poise of its athletes. Adding movements and training techniques from gymnastics will also help you build the same athletic characteristics.

There are many different “shapes” in gymnastics like “pike,” “straddle,” and “tuck”. But before achieving these body positions there are some important foundational shapes that take precedent. The hollow position is one of these gymnastic body positions.

In combination with the arch position, the hollow carries over into generating power in skills like tumbling, kipping pull ups/muscle ups, calisthenics and other acrobatic and explosive movements. All of which require a powerful core.

With the movement of Hollow Rocks, the idea is to rock like a rocking chair with your arms extended overhead and your legs out straight. There’s a flat spot that creates a visible “clunk” caused by weak contraction of the lower abs. Take the “clunk” out. The smoothness of your rocking speaks to your lower ab strength.

Hollow Rocks Workouts

Add these Hollow Rocks Workouts into your training.

WORKOUT 1

AMRAP in 10 minutes

  • 10 Mountain Climbers
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 10 Hollow Rocks
  • 10 Sit-Ups

On a 10-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 10-minute clock stops.

WORKOUT 2 – DURANTE CORE

5 Rounds for Time

  • 10 Hollow Rocks
  • 10 V-Ups
  • 10 Tuck Ups
  • 10 second Hollow Hold
  • 1 minute Rest

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written. Rest one minute after each round.

Score is the total time it takes to complete all 5 rounds including each rest period.

Tips and Strategy

Due to the built-in rest in “Durante Core,” go as fast and as unbroken as possible during each of the 4 movements.

You only reap the rewards of “Durant Core” if you perform the movements with virtuosity and execute these common movements uncommonly well, so prioritize good form over a good time.

Intended Stimulus

“Durante Core” should feel very muscularly fatiguing. Your core should be on fire within the first 2 rounds. This is a true interval WOD: attack the movements when you’re working, and enjoy the rest when it comes. This workout is perfect as a standalone WOD, or as a way to finish a cardio-based workout.

Scaling Options

The movements in “Durante Core” aren’t particularly high skill, but they do require significant core strength to complete. Scale the movements so you can perform them as unbroken as possible, as safely as possible.

Beginner

5 Rounds

  • 10 Supported Hollow Rocks (hands hold at hamstrings)
  • 10 Modified V-Ups (bend knees as much as needed)
  • 10 Tuck Ups
  • 10 second Supported Hollow Hold (hands hold at hamstrings)
  • 1 minute Rest
man doing turkish get up
A strong core is vital for good movement ©Diego Lozano

WORKOUT 3 – DURATE CORE ROCKS

5 Rounds

  • 10 Hollow Rocks
  • 10 Alligator Rolls
  • 10 Arch Rocks
  • 1 minute Rest

Rest 1 minute between each round. Repeat 5 times. The score will be total time it takes to complete all 5 rounds including each rest period.

This workout can be used for accessory work or as a core finisher after a WOD. In the comments on his demo video, Dave Durante posted: “begin with 10 repetitions [or seconds, each]” and build up over time (“building up to 60 reps or 60 sec respectively”). The goal should be to increase the total repetitions (or seconds for the holds) of each movement while retaining the ability to perform the entire series unbroken.

WORKOUT 4

6 Rounds for Time

  • 15 Reverse Lunges
  • 15 Hollow Rocks
  • 15 Push-Ups

WORKOUT 5

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 25 Hollow Rocks
  • 50 Jump Rope skips

On a 20-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 20-minute clock stops.

Check out this great exercise to improve your squat technique

HOLLOW ROCKS WORKOUTS – 6

20 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Handstand Push-Ups
  • 10 Jumping Squats
  • 15 Hollow Rocks

With a running clock, as fast as possible complete the prescribed work in the order written for 20 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Hollow Rocks is completed.

Movement Standards

Jump Squat: This is a variation of the standard Air Squat wherein the athlete jumps at full extension to count as one rep.

WORKOUT 7

AMRAP in 15 minutes

  • 6 Clapping Push-Ups
  • 12 Alternating Jumping Lunges
  • 200 metre Run
  • 5 Stagger Push-Ups
  • 20 Hollow Rocks

On a 15-minute clock, perform as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the total number of rounds and repetitions completed before the 15-minute clock stops.

Movement Standards

Clapping Push-Up: This is a variation of the standard Push-Up wherein athlete will perform a more powerful Push-Up but with even more upward force. While your hands are in the air, clap below your chest. Land with soft elbows in Push-Up form and continue lowering until your chest is slightly below the level of your bent elbow. This counts as 1 rep.

Staggering Push-Up: This is a variation of the standard Push-Up where your hand position is staggered, with one hand forward and one back. Perform a Push-Up and switch the hand positions.

WORKOUT 8

10 Rounds for Time

  • 5 Tuck Jumps
  • 10 Burpees
  • 15 Hollow Rocks
  • 20 Box Step-Ups

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 10 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of Box Step-Ups is completed.

WORKOUT 9

AMRAP in 35 minutes

  • 24 Jumping Lunges
  • 24 Hollow Rocks
  • 24 Air Squats
  • 24 AbMat Sit-Ups
  • 24 Burpees

Improve your upper body strength with this important gymnastic equipment

PARTNER WORKOUT 10

For time

  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Air Squats
  • 50 Hollow Rocks
  • 50 Push-Ups

Buy-in:

1000 metre Row

Must complete in order. One partner works while the other rests. Partners can alternate reps or one partner can finish a number of reps while the other rests.

Both partners must complete a 1000m row before starting the rest of the workout.

PARTNER WORKOUT 11

AMRAP (with a Partner) in 18 minutes

6 Rounds of:

  • 1 minute Plank Hold / Push-Ups
  • 1 minute Wall Sit Hold / Jumping Squats
  • 1 minute Handstand Hold / Hollow Rocks

One partner does the hold while the other does the movement. Swap after each completed 3-minute round.

Partner one stays on the hold station for each of the three one minute stations in the three minute round.

Once the three-minute round is completed partner one and partner two switch places so partner two is doing the holds for each one-minute station.

Score is the total number of repetitions (Push-Ups, Jumping Squats, and Hollow Rocks) completed with partners’ scores combined.

Tips and Strategy

Try to recover your breathing and slow your heart rate down as much as possible when completing the static holds. Keep an eye on funky foot positioning when doing high rep jumping squats, they can have a mind of their own!

Intended Stimulus

You want to keep moving for the minute so choose a movement or progression of the movement that allows you to keep it going. The partner working on static holds should be able to breathe through those holds and have some chance to recover a bit during those three minutes.

Scaling

Move Push-Ups to a raised surface or sub for Push-Up negatives if you cannot do Push-Ups.

Try 30 seconds per leg of single leg Wall Sits if Wall Sit feels too easy. Work on nose and toes only against the wall on the stomach to wall handstand for extra challenge. Hold a weight over your head (heavy book or odd object) to give you that extra burn on hollow rocks.

yoga pose
Build your core ©Sonnie Hiles

HOLLOW ROCKS WORKOUTS – 12

4 Rounds for Time

  • 8 Alternating Reverse Lunges
  • 8 Upright Rows (2×20/10 lb)
  • 8 Tricep Dips (Feet elevated)
  • 8 Hollow Rocks
  • 8 Goblet Squats (20/10 lb)
  • 8 Isolated Tricep Extensions (2x20x10 lb)
  • 8 Negative Pull-Ups
  • 8 Air Squats
  • 8 Burpees
  • 8 Up Downs
  • 8 Bent Over Rows (2×20/10 lb)
  • 8 Glute Bridges

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written for 4 rounds.

Score is the time on the clock when the last round of the Glute Bridges is completed.

Movement Standards

Upright Row: Hold a pair of Dumbbells in each hand, standing with knees and hips slightly bent and chest up. Pull both Dumbbells from hanging by the hips up toward the chest for a single repetition. Return the Dumbbells to the hanging position by the hips.

Negative Pull-Up: Start at the top of a Pull-Up position with the chin over the Pull-Up Bar, with one foot on a Box or platform for support. Step off off the Box and slowly extend the arms to descend to a Hang position. Aim for a 3-second descent. This is one repetition.

Up Down: From a standing position, perform a standard Burpee without the Push-Up and go back to the starting position. This is one rep.

Glute Bridge: Lay on the ground with both feet close to the hips and knees perpendicular to the ground. Keep your hands planted on the side while you drive the hips towards the sky. Keep the core activated and the glutes tight. Lower the hips down to the ground. This is one rep.

WORKOUT 13

for Time:

  • 50 Sit Ups
  • 40 Russian Twists
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 20 Alternating V Ups
  • 10 Burpees
  • 20 Alternating V Ups
  • 30 Hollow Rocks
  • 40 Russian Twists
  • 50 Sit Ups

This workout can be done anywhere with little or no equipment.

WORKOUT 14

For Time

  • Buy-In: 365 metre Run

Directly into:

  • 52 Deadlifts (75/55 lb)
  • 52 Toes-to-Bars
  • 52 Air Squats
  • 52 Cleans (75/55 lb)
  • 52 Pull-Ups
  • 52 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
  • 52 Hollow Rocks
  • 52 Burpees
  • 52 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
  • 52 Shoulder-to-Overheads (75/55 lb)
  • 52 Double-Unders

Buy-Out: 1-minute Unbroken Plank Hold

With a running clock, as fast as possible perform the prescribed work in the order written.

Score is the time on the clock when the 1-minute Unbroken Plank Hold is completed.

Scaled

For Time

  • Buy-In: 365 metre Run

Directly into:

  • 52 Deadlifts*
  • 52 AbMat Sit-Ups
  • 52 Air Squats
  • 52 Cleans*
  • 52 Ring Rows
  • 52 Wall Ball Shots*
  • 52 Hollow Rocks
  • 52 Burpees
  • 52 Box Jumps*
  • 52 Shoulder-to-Overheads*
  • 52 Single-Unders

Buy-Out: 1-minute Unbroken Plank Hold

*Weight is athlete’s choice

WORKOUT 15

4 X 5 minute window

  • 40 sec Weighted Hollow
  • 9 Strict Pull Ups
  • 22 Pistols
  • 32 MB Sit Ups

Every 5 minutes for 4 sets you have to complete this series of hard exercises. Move for quality and thinking of your midline.

If you need to scale pistols use a target and for the strict pull ups the best choice today are negatives.

HOLLOW ROCKS WORKOUTS – 16

AMRAP in 15 minutes

  • 3 Strict Pull-Ups
  • 3 Inverted Burpees
  • 3 Hollow Rocks
  • 6 Strict Pull-Ups
  • 6 Inverted Burpees
  • 6 Hollow Rocks

Continue with this pattern, adding 3 reps to each movement after every round.

This triplet workout climbs by 3 reps each round until the 15 minutes is up. After completing the round of 6, you’ll progress to 9-12-15-18, etc.

Score is the total number of repetitions completed. However, to keep it simple, you can record the score as the number of the last round completed (eg: if you completed the 15’s plus 5 Strict Pull-Ups, your score would be 15+5).

Tips and Strategy

The Strict Pull-Ups will likely be the most challenging movement of the workout and the one that causes the athlete to slow down. Breaking them up early into small sets or even singles can allow the athlete to keep moving and lead to better consistency across the 15 minutes.

Although the Inverted Burpees and Hollow Rocks gives the upper body a break from pulling, they will definitely challenge the midline and body position in the Strict Pull-Ups. Another reason to break up the Strict Pull-Ups from the beginning.

Hollow Rocks Workouts

If you found these Hollow Rocks Workouts useful and want to further improve your core strength, try these Bear Crawl or Farmer Carries Workouts.

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