Can the Hollow Body Rock Exercise Lead to Back Pain?

The hollow body rock exercise is a core strengthening and posture correction exercise. It’s also commonly used in Pilates and yoga for its effectiveness at strengthening the core abdominal muscles. It is designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles from the inside out. Hollow body rock exercise is also sometimes called the “cobra pose” because you’ll be lying on your stomach and lifting your body into a “cobra-like” position. This exercise is a challenging exercise that may be difficult for people with back pain who have mobility issues.

I have a great question from a Fix My Back Pain customer that I wanted to answer for him but then also do a video on it because I think it will end up benefiting you.

The question comes from Selven and what it has to do with is the Hollow Body Rock Exercise.

His two specific questions are:

  1. Is the Hollow Body Rock a sit-up or a crunch?
  2. Does Hollow Body Rock cause back pain?

Now, maybe I will take a step back and explain what a Hollow Body Rock Exercise is. It’s an exercise that I don’t often do as it gives a lot of strain on my back.

1. How to do the Hollow Body Rock Exercise?

I will demonstrate it to the best that I know of how to do the exercise.

Hollow Body Rock

Hollow Body Rock Exercise

How to do the Hollow Body Rock Exercise:

  1. Lie down with feet together and toes pointed away.
  2. Arms are overhead.
  3. I want to round out the lower back and have the full back rounded.
  4. I am going to lift the hands up a bit and I am going to lift the feet and I am utilizing my abdominals in order to rock my body back and forth.

That’s how you do the basic hollow body rock exercise.

Now answering Selven’s specific questions:

2. Is the Hollow Body Rock Exercise a crunch or a sit up?

Well it’s neither one of them.

It is a gymnastics conditioning exercise that targets the lower abdominals. Gymnastics has given rise to this exercise, and it has become quite popular of late due to the rise of Cross Fit since gymnastics is a component of Cross Fit.

3. Does the hollow body rock exercise lead to back pain?

— And the quick and simple answer to that is YES.

Most people have poor technique when performing this exercise, and as a result, it increases the chance of injury. That is why I believe this is a difficult exercise for the average person.

Summarizing what my advice would be when it comes to the Hollow Body Rock exercise is, if you have had back pain or if you have back pain, it is an exercise that puts lots of load on the spine and increases the risk of back pain, back injury, and back flare up. I would advise you not to do it if you have back pain or old back injury.

If you want to give it a try or master the exercise, just make sure you get good coaching and guidance on it.

There you go Selven, thank you very much for the two questions when it comes to the Hollow Body Rock exercise.

This is Rick Kaselj from and

If you are on the road to recovery with your back pain and you are looking to make your back stronger, I would recommend Indestructible Back.


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Rick Kaselj, MS

Low Back Pain Solved