Build Ultra-Strong Abs with the Two-Way Hollow Rock Countup

By | July 30, 2020

The hollow body hold is a fundamental core movement, working abs, lower back muscles, and obliques as a unit, just as you’d use them in real life. But if there’s a problem with the hollow hold and its progression, the hollow rock, it is this: Those moves only develop your abs in one plane.

You rock in something called the “sagittal” plane, essentially building strength and stability to use your muscles out in front of you. But your muscles can work in other ways, and you’ll train them in those ways with the Two-Way Hollow Rock Countup, a lightspeed ab workout from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. “Here, we progress the hollow rock to work in multiple planes,” says Samuel. “You need a level of rotational stability to maintain your side-to-side rocks, and you need a lot of oblique and rectus abdominus strength to stabilize yourself on those rocks.”

The two-way hollow rock countup is an exercise in subtlety. The side-to-side rocks are less rocks than they are controlled holds with an entire side of your torso slightly off the ground. It’s not about creating momentum so much as it is about maintaining constant core tension. “You’re going to be tremendously core-aware after doing this,” says Samuel.

That core awareness comes, as with all hollow body moves, with your abs, lower back muscles, and obliques working as a unit. As a bonus, your serratus muscles also come into play. “You need a great deal of upper body control to maintain those side-to-side rock positions,” says Samuel.

The best part: It’s all over in minutes. It takes about a minute to complete each set of the two-way hollow rock countup, even if your core control is pristine. And three sets is all you need to wipe out your core. “It’s all-around core strength test in a matter of minutes,” says Samuel. “It can’t get better than that.”

  • Set up on hollow body position, lower back pressed into the ground, arms and legs extended, a few inches off the ground.
  • Do 1 hollow rock.
  • Tighten your core on the right side, lifting your right glute, right shoulder blade, and entire right side of your torso off the ground. Pause and hold. Return to hollow hold position, then repeat on the left side. You’ve now done a side-to-side hollow rock.
  • Do 2 hollow rocks, followed by 2 side-to-side hollow rocks.
  • Repeat this countup until you’ve completed 4 and 4 (or go higher).
  • That’s 1 set. Do 3 sets.

    You can use the Two-Way Hollow Rock Countup whenever you want to train abs and you can do it daily. It can easily be a core-focused finisher to a standard training session, whether full-body or bodypart-focused, and you can throw it in at the end of a cardio session too. You can also use it as a standalone workout on the road, blasting your abs with lightspeed efficiency. “It’s as versatile a piece as they come,” says Samuel.

    Use it.

    For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.

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