Breathing and Hollowing – Pilates Exercise Guide with Photos


Pilates teaches you how to use the deepest abdominal muscles, the transverse. This is like a corset. The transverse is the muscle that will pull the belly contents in. The breath is the best way to train this muscle. The hollowing is the transverse abdominals deflating the belly in. Bad version, the bulge, is pushing the abdominal out. The hollow must initiate in every Pilates exercise first. There is no pouching the belly out in Pilates.


To Start 
Lie on the back with your legs bend. The hands are placed one inch below the navel on both sides.

The Hollowing

  1. Inhale into the lower back ribs. Use the breath to widen the back ribs on the floor.
  2. Count out loud 8 counts the exhale as the belly deflates. Each count the belly should sink deeper towards the sacrum. This is the hollow.
  3. Repeat two more sets

The inhale will be shorter than the exhale in this exercise. Your goal is to increase the counts and simultaneously hollow the abdominals deeper with each count. Practice this hollowing in sitting, on all fours and standing.

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