Hollow Bench Hold: Challenge Core Exercise Going Beyond Planks

Do you ever feel like your core strength isn’t where it should be? Maybe you struggle with lower back pain or have trouble maintaining balance during certain exercises. If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing weakness in your core muscles. A common cause of this issue is a lack of engagement in the often overlooked muscles known as the posterior chain. But don’t worry, there’s a simple solution that can help strengthen your core and improve your overall fitness- the hollow bench hold. In this post, we’ll explain what the hollow bench hold is, why it’s so effective, and how to incorporate it into your workout routine.

Hollow Bench Hold Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Iliopsoas (Psoas Major & Iliacus)
  • Secondary Muscles: Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Pectineus, Rectus Femoris, Sartorius, and Tensor Fasciae Latte
  • Equipment: Flat Bench
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Pull
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Hollow Bench Hold Instructions

  • Sit on the edge of a bench with your legs extended to the floor.
  • Grasp the edge of the bench.
  • Lean your torso back and balance your body weight on the edge of the bench.
  • Raise your legs by flexing your hips and knees while pulling your torso slightly forward to maintain balance.
  • Return by extending your hips and knees and leaning your torso back to counterbalance.
  • Do your Hollow Bench Hold for a complete set.

Video Tutorial

How to do a Hollow Hold | The Right Way | Well+Good

Hollow Bench Hold Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Longus
  • Pectineus
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Sartorius
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the hollow bench hold exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Hollow Bench Hold

The Hollow Bench Hold is an excellent exercise for strengthening the iliopsoas (psoas major and iliacus) muscles, which are key stabilizers in the core. This exercise helps to increase core stability and balance, reduce lower back pain, improve posture, and increase hip mobility. Additionally, it can help to improve athletic performance, as the iliopsoas muscles are important for power generation in activities such as running and jumping. Furthermore, as the iliopsoas muscles are largely made up of slow-twitch fibers, this exercise is great for increasing muscular endurance. For these reasons, the Hollow Bench Hold is an excellent exercise to include in any strength training or fitness routine.

Tips for Performing Hollow Bench Hold

Your at the right place if you’re trying to enhance your hollow bench hold performance. Using these suggestions will enable you to maximize the advantages of this amazing workout. Concurrently with shaping your core muscles, increasing mobility, and even a reduced possibility of injury can all be accomplished with this exercise. Let’s begin and explore how these suggestions will benefit you.

  • 1. Make sure to maintain proper form – Keeping good form throughout your Hollow Bench Hold will maximize your effort and help you get the most out of the exercise. Doing so will also help prevent injury and ensure that you are working your muscles correctly.
  • 2. Utilize proper breathing techniques – During the Hollow Bench Hold, make sure to breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. This will help you relax and stay focused throughout the exercise.
  • 3. Take short breaks if needed – If you find yourself getting fatigued, take a short break and start again. This will allow you to finish the exercise with the same intensity as when you started, ensuring that you get the most out of it.

Benefits and Tips Video

How to do the STEP UP: technique and common mistakes

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

Staying away from mistakes can be the distinction between a productive training session and an injury when executing hollow bench hold. Moreover, achieving optimal results from this exercise requires proper technique, and making sure you don’t perform typical mistakes can allow you to perform the exercise correctly and obtain your desired results. But relax, it’s not as challenging as it might seem. By knowing the errors to avoid and taking the appropriate actions, you may complete the exercise safely and successfully. Let’s begin by staying away from these standard mistakes and add this exercise to your training regimen.

  • 1. Not engaging the core: The hollow bench hold requires the core to be engaged throughout the exercise, but many people forget this and don’t engage their abdominals, which can lead to lower back strain and can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • 2. Holding their breath: It’s important to maintain proper breathing during any exercise, and the hollow bench hold is no different. Holding your breath while doing the exercise can cause dizziness and fatigue, making it difficult to complete the set.
  • 3. Not warming up: Before doing any kind of bodyweight exercise, it’s important to warm up your muscles. Without a proper warm up, you increase your risk of injury and decrease your range of motion, making it difficult to get a good workout.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

These variations, complementary, and alternative exercises are great options if you are looking to switch up your routine or if you want to give your core an extra challenge. Each of these exercises will help to work and strengthen the same muscles as the Hollow Bench Hold.

Cross Body Mountain Climbers

Graphic image of Cross Body Mountain Climbers.

Cross Body Mountain Climbers are an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to Hollow Bench Holds. This dynamic, full body exercise engages the core, shoulders, arms and legs to increase muscular strength and endurance. Cross Body Mountain Climbers involve alternating between a plank position and bringing one knee up towards the opposite shoulder. This exercise helps to activate the abdominal muscles, which is essential for the Hollow Bench Hold. Additionally, Cross Body Mountain Climbers increase coordination and stability in the core and shoulder muscles, which is important for maintaining proper form during the Hollow Bench Hold.

Scissor Kicks

Graphic image of Scissor Kicks.

Scissor Kicks are a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Hollow Bench Hold. This exercise focuses on core strength and stability while challenging your abdominal muscles in a dynamic way. To do the Scissor Kicks, you will lie on your back and bring your legs up to a ninety-degree angle. Keep your lower back pressed against the floor and pulse your legs up and down, as if you were kicking a soccer ball. This exercise will help to strengthen your lower abdominal muscles and provide a dynamic challenge that complements the Hollow Bench Hold perfectly.

Lying Knee Up

Graphic image of Lying Knee Up.

The lying knee up exercise is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise for the hollow bench hold. It helps to strengthen the core and hip flexors, which are important for stability in the hollow bench hold. This exercise can be done by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift one knee up while keeping the other leg straight and your core engaged. Slowly lower the leg back to the floor and repeat on the other side. This exercise can help to build a strong core, which is essential for performing the hollow bench hold correctly and with good form.

Check Out These Top Bodyweight Exercises

Leg Lift

Graphic image of Leg Lift.

Leg Lifts are a great complementary or alternative exercise to Hollow Bench Holds. Leg Lifts target the core and abdominal muscles, as well as the hip flexors, which are also worked during Hollow Bench Holds. Leg Lifts involve lying on your back with your legs extended and lifting them up towards your chest while keeping your core tight and engaged. This exercise can be done with or without weights, and can be modified to make it easier or more challenging. It’s a great way to strengthen your core and add variety to your workout routine.

L Sit Hold

Graphic image of L Sit Hold.

The L Sit Hold is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Hollow Bench Hold. It is an excellent core exercise that strengthens the muscles in the hips and abdomen, while also developing balance and stability. To perform an L Sit Hold, start by sitting on the ground with your legs extended and your hands placed firmly on the floor in front of you. Then, press into your hands and lift your hips off the ground until your legs are at a 90 degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can, focusing on keeping your core engaged and your chest up. The L Sit Hold is a great addition to any routine that works to build strength and stability in the core, making it a great alternative or complement to the Hollow Bench Hold.

Bridge On Knees

Graphic image of Bridge On Knees.

Bridge On Knees is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Hollow Bench Hold. It involves lying on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at 90 degrees. You then lift your hips off the ground and hold them up in the air. This exercise works the core muscles and helps to strengthen and stabilise the spine, as well as improve mobility in the hips. Additionally, it helps to improve posture and balance, making it an excellent exercise to include in any workout routine.

Find More Legs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

The Hollow Bench Hold is a great exercise for developing core strength and stability, but it’s important to remember to work opposing muscle groups as well. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of exercises that you can add to your workout routine to help round out your core strength training.

45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension

Graphic image of 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension.

The 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension is an excellent exercise to complement the Hollow Bench Hold. This exercise targets the muscles in the lower back, obliques, glutes, and hamstrings while the Hollow Bench Hold primarily works the abdominal muscles. Together, these two exercises provide a full body workout, working both the core muscles and the opposing muscle groups of the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. The 45 Degree Twisting Hyperextension helps to strengthen and build stability in the muscles of the lower back and glutes while the Hollow Bench Hold develops strength in the abdominals. Together, these exercises are a great way to tone and strengthen the body.

Cable Glute Kickbacks

Graphic image of Cable Glute Kickbacks.

Cable Glute Kickbacks are a great complementary exercise to the Hollow Bench Hold because they use the opposing muscle group. Cable Glute Kickbacks target the glutes and hamstrings, which are the opposite muscle groups of the core muscles used in the Hollow Bench Hold. This exercise helps to strengthen the posterior chain, improve hip extension, and stabilize the spine, all of which are necessary for overall balance and strength. Doing both exercises together helps to create a more complete workout routine and increases overall performance.

Rear Lunge

Graphic image of Rear Lunge.

The Rear Lunge is a great complement to the Hollow Bench Hold. This exercise works the opposite muscle group of the Hollow Bench Hold, focusing on the glutes and hamstrings while the Hollow Bench Hold targets the core and upper body. The Rear Lunge helps to strengthen the posterior chain and build stability in the hips and lower back. Additionally, it can help to improve balance and coordination. By doing both exercises together, you can create a balanced workout that helps to increase strength and overall fitness.

Transform Your Core with Hollow Bench Holds.

Transforming your core can be challenging, but with the right moves and consistency, it’s definitely achievable. One excellent exercise that can help you strengthen your core is the hollow bench hold. Not only does it target your abs, but it also engages your lower back muscles, hip flexors, and quads. It’s a simple exercise that can be done anywhere with just a bench or a sturdy elevated surface. Give it a try and feel the burn as you work towards a tighter, stronger core.

References: Wikipedia | ExRx.net | PubMed.gov | Comprehensive List of Legs Bodyweight Exercises

Pin image for hollow bench hold post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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