Hollow Pull Apart/Pullover Combo

If you’re familiar with Simple Shoulder Solution, you understand that healthy shoulder function is dependent on far more than the ball and socket joint on the end.

Core/Shoulder RelationshipRib Flare
Core function is hugely important for a couple of reasons:

1. You must have a strong enough core to stabilize and move the torso–otherwise the neighboring muscles will try to play the role of the core–this causes those neighbors to neglect their original jobs and creates dysfunction.

2. Rib flare – you need to engage the core to prevent this phenomenon. In physical therapy circles, rib flare is a common term that describes hyperextension of the torso and spine to compensate for a lack of shoulder mobility when going overhead.

Two fantastic exercises in their own right are pullovers and pull aparts, which are fantastic for shoulder mobility and posture (strengthening the back side of the shoulder and upper back) respectively.

Rib flare is a common problem while doing these movements standing, but by holding a hollow position, we prevent rib flare and compensation from the spine. This is why I think the Hollow Pull Apart/Pullover Combo is pure gold.

As with all things, the difficulty of an exercise should be just difficult enough to elicit a training effect.

To modify the basic hollow pull apart/pullover combo, bring both knees in toward the chest to shorten the lever. To take it up one notch, extend one leg out again. This follows the same progressions as the front lever from Ultimate Athleticism.

To make it more challenging, combine it with a hollow roll (shown in the video), and a gravity resisted shoulder dislocate – this is a common movement in gymnastics.

So there you have it, an incredibly effective exercise for core strength, posture, and shoulder mobility.

For more information like this, I recommend you pick up a copy of Simple Shoulder Solution – which will not only give you a exercise library full of exercises, but a book that will give you a thorough understanding of how to put it all together.

Better every day,

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5 thoughts on “Hollow Pull Apart/Pullover Combo

  • Max Shank

    Great question! There's a difference between hyperextension as a compensation and extension as a trainable skill. Being able to fully flex and extend the spine and hold isometrically in those end ranges is a critical skill. Hyperextension comes from a lack of mobility in neighboring areas along with a lack of motor control at the area in question.

  • Gabriel Pieren Salazar


    When doing gravity resisted shoulder dislocations, aren't you hyper extending the lower back, which is what we want to avoid?

    Thank you Max!