Popularized in the years 1970 – 1980, the stomach vacuum was formerly “the” star of the gyms. Responsible for the “V” build of bodybuilding enthusiasts (who were swaggering on the beaches with their square shoulders, and wasp waist), it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite exercise, just that!
Inspired by yoga and Pilates, this fitness exercise is accessible to all and does not require equipment. Thanks to the only breathing (and without special efforts), the stomach vacuum strengthens the deep muscles of the abdominal strap — that is to say: the transverse muscle of the abdomen (which contains the viscera) and the lumbar Multifidus (sometimes responsible for low back pain).
The goal: to achieve — within a few weeks only — a flat stomach and a thin waist, but also fight back pain, transit problems (constipation) and post-delivery stomach ache (related to relaxation perineum). In short, that’s good! Namely: the stomach vacuum (which belongs to the family of exercises “abdominal gymnastics hypopressive” in sports language) is complementary to other claddings exercises, such as board or chair.
How to make a perfect stomach vacuum?
- Step 1: Adopt the starting position
Lie on your back, ideally on a yoga mat. Your arms are along the body, palms toward the ceiling. Your legs are spread wide, knee bent, feet flat on the floor. Your shoulders are relaxed. Your lumbar is flat on the ground because your pelvis is in retroversion: to get there, act as if you were trying to lift your bladder to the sky.
Tip: If you cannot retrofit your pelvis, lie on your back, arms along your body, palms up to the ceiling, and put your calves on the seat of a chair. Your calves and thighs form a right angle.
- Step 2: breathing
Inhale deeply by inflating the belly exaggeratedly. Then exhale as long as possible by making a small trickle of air with your mouth. Dig at the same time your belly, as if you were trying to bring your back, and your belly button closer together. Hold this posture as long as possible (at least 20 seconds), a snorkel (it’s easier) or breathe very gently without inflating the belly. To help you, you can put your hands under your ribs.
- Step 3: the return to Calbreath
deeply by inhaling through the nose (swelling the belly) and then exhaling through the mouth (emptying the lungs). Stand up slowly.
The stomach vacuum is a hypopressive abdo exercise that essentially solves the transverse, deep muscle of the abdomen. The latter ensures the compression of the viscera. It is for this reason that the vacuum is the solution to get a flat stomach.
Why is it good?
Because it will stimulate the deep layer of the abdominal muscles and several other muscles, and this decreases the intra-abdominal pressure. This decrease in pressure in the belly is very interesting, even more in women, it will protect and stimulate positively the work of the perineum. It is not about abdominal/perineal rehabilitation, but a continuation work that you can adopt following physiotherapy sessions. The perineum will be stimulated by the stretched position of your column and the diaphragmatic suction. Your specialist will advise you on the need or not to “contract” the perineum before starting to breathe.
In men, it helps to flatten the muscular, hard, but round bellies. Be sure to always do this type of exercise on a well-stretched back, well-grown to have all the benefits. Well executed, the vacuum will also strengthen your back, help you have a better posture.
In the end, therefore, only positive, or almost, because it is not ideal for some people. Be careful if you have a tendency to migraines or if you have a gastric band, for example.
Breathing is the key to this exercise. Inhale deeply as you enter the belly. Exhale while relaxing the contraction. During the exercise, try to breathe calmly through the nose.
For men still hesitant, now that the vacuum was practiced by Arnold Schwarzenegger to get more refined on the stage.
Although you have a visible abdominal, you are not immune to also having a round belly and this can be filled by strengthening its transverse.
To breathe well during the contraction of the transverse
Attention, this is not an apnea contest. The exercise should be done by breathing through the nose while keeping the tummy tucked in. Go step by step. At first, you can stay in apnea for a few seconds to focus only on the transverse. Then, hold this contraction for about five seconds while breathing calmly through the nose. Finally, gradually increase the contraction time for more sensation.
” Suck” your navel
At first, the vacuum exercise requires a certain concentration. Put yourself in a quiet place to do it and listen for your body. Create your mental pictures. For example, for the contraction, imagine that the navel must come down into the ground. Once depressed, the belly button should not release its pressure. Nevertheless, from your side, breathe gently through the nose.
We advise you to perform this abdo exercise several times a week, at the end of the session as a return to calm. A contraction of 10 to 15 seconds is satisfactory during the first months of practice.
stomach vacuum offers the advantage of being able to be done everywhere, without people noticing:
- In the office
- By car
- In a queue, etc.
- It can, therefore, be done:
It can, therefore, be done:
- With 4 legs
Test these different postures to solicit your transverse in different ways. The results and sensations will only be better.
Classical abdominal exercises are not a variant since the goal is different. They will strengthen the right and the obliques too, in particular, bring out your chocolate bars. The vacuum acts deep to maintain the viscera and get a flat stomach. In view of the insertion of the transverse, this exercise also helps to reduce some back pain.