Abdominal Hollowing

I’ve been trying to fire up my right multifidus and right quadratus lumborum. I’ve been doing rows at a cable station on one leg. I’ve gotten to the point that I can feel the muscles contracting.

Does anyone have any words of advice?

My goal is to get to the point where the multifidus and QL function in day to day life without having to think about it. Before I started working on this they weren’t functioning at all.

I went to a physical therapists office to see if they would design a preventative/corrective exercise program to help me get my spinal erectors balanced out and they told me to go see a chiropractor.

I have had a similar problem for a number of years due to disc issues and some nerve damage as well.I started out with my right side definitely atrophied and weaker as well as the entire leg atrophied as well.I found some info and discussed it with some individuals at EliteFTS and it was suggested that to train multifidus use isometric contraction in amanner similar to what you are doing as well as an isometric variation of hyperextensions holding position until tiring then lowering in small increments to hit each segment until each position became fatigued and over time increasing time at each position to increase effect.I also used one legged squats with a bias on my problem side and had pretty good results with this regimen as long as I am consistent and regularly do the exercises.

so it’s something that never goes away?

I’m curious. It’d be nice to not have to do a bunch of corrective/assistance work to balance out my back for the rest of my life.


  • learn how to consciously activate the muscles.
  • consciously activate the muscles.
  • eventually it becomes easier / more automatic.

i read somewhere about starting learning to brace the core (front and back - so abs and mult. pronated and supine. then holding the brace through breathing. then holding the brace through movement (e.g., bird dog stuff pronated or leg / arm / thoracic raise and lower supine). ditto for standing up (altering arm and leg positions while holding steady brace of core. e.g., leg lifts. squat. deadlift. overhead press etc).

but perhaps i’m missing something…

oh… uh… why hollow? if someone is going to punch you in the guts would you hollow? what if you had to push something heavy like a car? I’d take a breath in and clench my core.

hit yourself in the stomach. you probably flinched to brace yourself. trouble activating multi? give it a poke. there ya go. hold the contraction.

part of it is about making the conscious decision to move yourself properly. have you ever watched how people put the 20’s back on the squat rack when they put their weights away (ahaha!). most people seem incapable of squatting down to safely put those puppies back where they belong on the lowest peg. most people don’t make the conscious choice to move (squat) properly to put their weights away. automatically… they move wrong.

how do you tie your shoe? why would you prefer to stretch out your lumbar rather than raising your foot to your hands? or why don’t you lunge yourself down or squat?

you have to make conscious decisions to move correctly and eventually it becomes automatic. if you want to know how you should move… it is probably more like how little kids do move (before we fuck them up by giving them chairs and artificial support devices etc). though of course things are complicated since little kids have different relative levers etc etc… but the move probably more like how we are supposed to than how it is that most of us actually do…

Also wondering why you are asking about “abdominal hollowing” which as I understand the term refers to a posteriorly tilted pelvis, forward spinal flexion and often protracted (as well as sometimes depressed) scapulae. Is this the position that you are intending to improve/strengthen?