Abdominal Hollowing

Starting Position
  • To perform abdominal hollowing, get onto your hands and knees with hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Tuck your chin in so that you are straight from your head to your hips.
  • Find your lower back's neutral position such that your lumbar spine is not sagging, but also not arching up.
  • Concentrate on your navel area, and pull that region in and up.
    Perform this exercise several times so you get a feel for the movement.
    Try and hold this position for as long as you can.
Prime Movers
  • Transversus abdominus, internal obliques, slight external oblique activity
Physio Tips
  • Your lower back, chest, and pelvis should not move during this exercise.
  • Use a mirror or get some feedback from a friend to ensure you are doing it correctly.
  • Try abdominal hollowing in sitting, lying down, standing, and while moving.

Dynamic stabilizing exercises are now integral in rehabilitating back injuries. The muscles around the spine must work together in synchrony to maintain a stable spine. Just one inappropriate contraction can alter stability. When we pull open a door, reach for something, lift our leg to get out of a car, etc, there is a specifically timed sequence of muscle contractions that occur in the muscles around our spine to control stability. Any history of injury, inflammation, or pain, can cause this sequence to be disrupted leaving our spine less stable and more prone to recurring injury and pain.

We teach this exercise in the clinic because it activates the deep core musculature without loading structures in the spine that may cause pain. This exercise does not focus on strengthening, but simply control, and awareness.

This exercise is fundamental to all core stabilization. This exercise activates the deep transversus abdominus without causing lower back or pelvic movement, and minimizes activity in the larger, more superficial muscles. Once you know what it feels like to engage your transversus abdominus it can become automatic prior to initiating any exercise.

1ballsHold this position for 10 seconds.

2ballsHold this position for 60 seconds.

3ballsHold this position for 3 minutes or more.

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