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The Hollow-Body Position With Carl Paoli: Part 2 by Carl Paoli - CrossFit Journal
Video Article

Retool your gymnastics skills with elite gymnast Carl Paoli, founder of Naka Athletics, coach at San Francisco CrossFit and creator of Through his Freestyle Connections Seminar, Paoli introduces athletes to advanced gymnastics skills using simple progressions and coaching points. In this two-part series, Carl Paoli teaches how to develop midline stability through the hollow-body position.

In Part 1, Paoli developed the hollow rock. In Part 2, Paoli has the athletes flip over onto their bellies and attempt the hollow-body position. He finds overextension is a common fault in this drill. To correct overextension, Paoli has the athletes stand and drill a squeezed butt and locked rib cage.

“We have to start learning how to address rib cage down, butt tight, everything connected. If I don’t understand that drive from the rib cage to the butt, I’m not gonna be able to get all the other stuff going,” he says.

Once the athletes can maintain a hollow-body position on their bellies, Paoli has them try push-ups.

“But the push-up is not gonna be through your shoulders and through your arms; it’s gonna be through your belly,” he says. According to Paoli, the load of the push-up is between your rib cage and your hips, not your shoulders.

“Every time you do a push-up, it’s not just a push-up—it’s a position movement. It’s a position reinforcing everything else you do,” Paoli says.

12min 43sec

Additional reading: The Push-Up by Greg Glassman, published March 1, 2003.

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7 Comments on “The Hollow-Body Position With Carl Paoli: Part 2”


wrote …

Two Questions.

1. So for wider stance push-ups do I still try to keep my elbows down and as close to the body as possible?

2. For a beginner what is the best position for the hands? Narrow, wide, or wherever they feel strong?



"Paoli = BAMF"


wrote …

Carl I really enjoy, and get a lot out of everything you put out. high quality instruction. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


wrote … - also relevant

(thanks again Carl)


wrote …

This is great stuff. I've suffered from over extension forever and this is the best explanation of proper posture after much research.


wrote …

What do you recommend for high volume push-up/pull-up wods especially in a competition setting or with the clock running? Do you recommend trying to maintain that hollow form no matter what and do you think some breaking is allowable or is it more detrimental becasue of inefficiency and loss of transmission even though it may be faster.

We have our athletes constantly work on hollow rock and hollow body position and then have them try to maintain a hollow form on pull-ups, handstand holds. rings and push-ups in both the warm up and the workout and it has worked wonders but it is more taxing and slower so we give them a 90/10 rule where 90 percent of the time form has to be on point but 10 percent they can push the form a bit while still maintaining ROM standards and judging points (for instance on burpees we would call it the flop and drop vs the hollow). I guess I'm asking when would you let an athlete out of their cage and just go all out on a workout or would you just save that for a competition setting?


wrote …

great info. is there a key to determining when to use hollow body vs. extension


wrote …

Awesome stuff as always Carl - so valuable its priceless THANK YOU

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