Why DO we hollow body?

Hollow body. In circus land, we LOVE hollow body! 

You might have been introduced to it in your first circus class, and you definitely drill it every time you condition.

But why DO we hollow body?

Hollow body is a position where we can fix every joint in place and get super stiff. Being stiff like this is a great way to have control while you’re moving through the air, like if you’re doing a windmill or a beat.

Hollow body also changes the orientation of the rib cage and pelvis, because you’re flexing your spine a bit. This helps balance the pelvis over the shoulders when you’re upside down, in a handstand or inverted on an aerial apparatus.

Obviously, hollow body is super functional for circus artists. We need to be able to get really stiff for control, and we need to be able to balance upside down.

Yay hollow body!

Guess what hollow body isn’t good for?

Basically everything else in life!

Listen, I know that you want to spend every waking minute in the air. You prioritize your training above most things, and the studio is the place you feel most at home. You feel like you live in the air.

That doesn’t change the fact that you still spend 95% of your life on the ground.

And hollow body, while great for all the things we’ve previously discussed, is really NOT great for walking around on your feet.

I bring this up because I know a lot of circus artists and aerialists who do all of their core training in hollow. And this could be a problem.

Hollow body is training your ribs, pelvis, and hips to move as a single unit. But that’s not a great way to walk around on your feet!

When you walk, your ribs and pelvis should be rotating in opposition to each other while your legs swing in your hip sockets:

Look at my hips and ribs rotate in opposition!

Try walking around in hollow:

No rotation with all that stiffness!

Not a good look! (And I promise, someday soon you’re going to see someone walking around like this and go “ooooh”).

We should be training our core to be functional. And that means training it to do all the things it’s designed to do.

Your core:

  • Gets stiff and resists force
  • Transfers force from the lower half of your body to the upper half, and vice versa
  • Moves your spine

So, if you’re only training in hollow, you’re missing out on 2/3rds of core training. 

Show it some love, and get crazy with it! 

Want to learn more about your core and some tricks for a stronger and easier hollow body?

Check out my online workshop, Your Aerial Core: Hollow body and Beyond on November 19th at 10am PST. Can’t make it live? The replay will be available for 30 days!

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