On their first day of training, gymnasts learn the hollow-body hold. It’s a foundational position that involves bracing your abs and creating total-body tension, and it’s integral to many other movements in the sport.

It’s also a seriously genius way for you to train your abs. Yet most people have never even heard of this as a “gym” exercise.

Maybe that’s because situps, crunches, and planks get all the press. Which is too bad, since not only will the hollow-body hold crush your core like few other exercises, it’ll pay off big in every other movement you do, too.

“The hollow-body hold allows you to properly transfer force from your upper body to your lower body without any energy leaks,” says Men’s Health fitness advisor B.J. Gaddour, C.S.C.S. “The stronger and more stable you are in this position, the more power you’ll have when squatting, throwing, pushing, pulling, jumping, hitting, kicking, or sprinting.”

In short, it gives you a huge edge. And you’ll better understand why after you experience how challenging it is.

Give the hollow-body hold a try today. It’s a simple exercise, but there are lots of small things you must do in order to nail it.

men's health