Want abs without sit-ups? Use this equipment-free move to build core strength instead

You don't need weights or sit-ups to strengthen your core, promote stability and improve your posture

Man doing a hollow hold exercise
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Are you trying to strengthen your core but hate the thought of endless sit ups? This is the workout for you. There's just a single move, and if you're new to training your midsection there are several variations to adjust the intensity. 

If you're looking for some variety in your core strengthening workouts (opens in new tab), the hollow body hold is a great move to add to your routine as it strengthens your abs, promotes stability and can even improve your circulation. 

The only equipment you need to perfect this move is a yoga mat (opens in new tab) to lie on if you're on hard floors and some dumbbells (opens in new tab) if you want add resistance to the move once you're used to the bodyweight version. 

The tutorial comes from calisthenics expert Daniel Vadnal, known by his handle Fitness FAQs (opens in new tab). He suggests you practice hollow body holds for 30-45 seconds at a time, helping work your abs without being unbearably long.

The most essential part of the exercise is getting your technique right to get the most from your training and avoid injury. So, be sure to perfect your form with Vadnal's demonstrations before you start. 

Watch Fitness FAQ's hollow hold tutorial

The hollow hold makes an excellent alternative to sit-ups and crunches, which are some of the best abs workouts (opens in new tab) but can get a little repetitive, especially if you add them into most of your training routines. 

And the fact you don't need weights to get started (although you can add them in as you get stronger) means it's an excellent option if you're after five-minute workouts (opens in new tab) to build strength when you're short on time. 

You might have noticed that many people use abs and core interchangeably, but there are a few differences. Your abdominal muscles, which includes your rectus abdominis six-pack abs muscles, form part of your core. 

Your core (opens in new tab) is a section of mid-body muscle responsible for connecting your upper and lower body. Strengthening this area helps improve your stability and it plays a crucial role in other exercises like kettlebell swings (opens in new tab), which constantly pull you off balance. 

If you're new to ab workouts like this, you'll likely feel sore the next day. This is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and is caused by tiny tears in your muscles fibers that your body needs protein to repair. 

This is why many people use supplements like the best protein powders for weight loss (opens in new tab) in a post-workout shake to promote recovery. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer producing news, features, buying guides and reviews for Fit&Well and sister site Coach. She is an avid runner and hill walker, and can often be seen sporting her trusty waist lead as she trains for her next half marathon with her two border collies in tow. Lois has a Master’s in Digital Journalism from Strathclyde University and was previously a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.