The V-Hold exercise builds core strength by working multiple areas of the core at the same time. It’s an effective way to target the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, internal obliques, and hip flexors, all while improving core and trunk balance.
The V-Hold is a body-weight exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime. All you need is a bit of floor space.
While a full V-sit is a fairly advanced core exercise, you can modify it to make it easier and use a bit of assistance from your hands to maintain your balance as you build your core stability. For those who’ve done yoga or Pilates before, this movement will look a bit familiar. It’s similar to the yoga boat pose, and adds an added lift of the arms and legs to move into a V-shaped position.
How to Do the V-Holds
- Begin in a seated position with hands and feet on the floor.
- Slowly contract your abdominal muscles and core and lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle.
- Reach your arms straight forward or reach up toward your shins as you are able.
- It’s important to maintain good core posture and a strong spine throughout the movement and to avoid rounding the shoulders forward.
- Hold this V-shaped position for several seconds to begin.
- As you get stronger, hold the position longer.
- You can also make the exercise more challenging by extending your feet further out in front of you and straightening your knees.
- Return to your starting position slowly while continuing to keep your abs engaged and tight.
- Don’t hold your breath—continue to breathe deeply during the movement.
- Just before you reach the floor, stop and hold the position for a few seconds.
- Repeat this entire movement several times.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes made during the V-sit is rounding the back and shoulders at the top of the exercise.
A true V-Hold exercise results in the back and legs creating a V at the top. Bending your back forward takes the focus off the core and puts strain on the lower back leaving less control work for your abs making the exercise less effective. While doing this makes the exercise easier, it can be more dangerous for your back. Instead, maintain a straight line from your lower back up through your back, neck, and head. All of your body should stay straight from starting position throughout the movement.
Another mistake made during the V-Hold is swinging the arms up when you lift your legs and back. Remember the V-Hold is a core exercise so moving of the arms lowers the effectiveness of the exercise on the core muscles. Instead, start with your arms at your sides at the starting position. When you lift, your arms should stay parallel to the ground as they were at your sides. You should not point your fingers to your toes, rather your arms should stay parallel to the floor as you lift.
Modifications to the V-Hold Exercise
The V-sit is an advanced ab exercise. If you are new to the V-hold, remember form is more important than the number of reps you do. That said, there is a modified V-sit ab exercise you can try that may be easier than the traditional V-Hold, but also will help you build form and core strength as you learn.
In a modified V-Hold, instead of the legs being straight throughout the movement, the knees bend at a 90-degree angle and are brought towards the chest as you lift. When you release or lower the legs are straightened back to the starting position. Throughout the modified V-sit, your back and head alignment remain straight as mentioned above.