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, 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 to lie on if you're on hard floors and some dumbbells 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. 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 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 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 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, 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 in a post-workout shake to promote recovery. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.