Abs and chest are two of the most popular muscle groups for gym-going guys, so any chance have to combine both of them in one move, you should take it.
This core-crushing press exercise from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses the hollow body position to do more than just work your muscles—you’ll be honing your body control and balance, too. It’s one of those “bang for your buck” moves that get trainers extra pumped.
“This hollow body press series is tremendously versatile,” says Samuel. “t’s a perfect way to finish off a chest day workout, but it can easily be used as a standalone core workout too, because it proves ultra-challenging for your abs.”
To perform the hollow body dumbbell press, all you need is a dumbbell and some space to spread out on the ground. If you want to try the move out at home, check out this adjustable weight set from Bowflex.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
- Get on the ground with one dumbbell. Get into a hollow body position (butt and lower back on the ground, feet and upper torso raised), holding the weight in one hand. Extend the other arm to help keep your balance.
- Press the dumbbell up and hold it in position for 5 seconds. Squeeze your core to keep a solid base.
- After the 5 count, perform 5 single-arm presses.
- Finish the 5 reps, then press up again and hold the weight up for 4 seconds.
- Perform 4 press reps.
- Continue this pattern until you have just 1 rep.
- Rest as needed, then use the other arm to press
The best thing about this series is how it challenges your core. First off, you have the unilateral, imbalanced challenge on the hollow body hold, since you have the dumbbell only in one side. Each sequence of reps is a constant battle to maintain the hold. That core challenge never leaves, and nor does the basic challenge of the hollow body hold. Things get fun because of how your abs have to constantly switch in this drill between maintaining static stability during the straight-arm holds, and dynamic stability once you begin each series of presses.
Add the hollow body dumbbell press series to your chest day or use it as an ab finisher by working through both arms for 3 rounds. 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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