Blog Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips Does Holding In Your Stomach Help Flatten It? Unraveling the Myths

Does Holding In Your Stomach Help Flatten It? Unraveling the Myths

“Does Holding In Your Stomach Help Flatten It?” This is one of those million-dollar questions that people often wonder about, but never ask. Why? Possibly it’s due to the fear of ridicule that they sound dumb. If you’re one of them, you have come to the right place.

Today we’re going to burst that shyness bubble to address common health concerns. We will explore the possible benefits of holding your stomach in, techniques, and discover the most interesting ways to get a flat stomach

Trust me, regarding fitness; no question is dumb! 

Know that there’s no shame in asking fitness or health-related questions. 

Now let’s dive into stomach vacuuming and how it works along with learning the right techniques to follow for a flat stomach.

Does Holding in Your Stomach Shrink It? 

Returning to our initial question: Does Holding In Your Stomach Help Flatten It? 

The quick, short answer will be “Yes! If done right, holding your stomach in can give the appearance of a thin, flat belly, however it will not cause weight loss on its own. When combined with a calorie deficit and an exercise routine, holding in your stomach can aid in toning of the abdominal area..”

So, are you willing to try it? 

Can Holding Your Stomach Make It Flatter? 

So, what’s the actual catch here? Is it just a fleeting illusion? If it does work, then how? What’s the science behind it? Can holding your stomach in really make it flatter?

Those are perfect questions if you are considering belly-flattening practice yourself. Let’s delve into the science behind this trick and uncover the secret mechanism behind holding in your stomach for a flattened midsection.

Experts say exercising is the go-to method for toning your muscles (2). When one continuously repeats the same exercise of contracting and relaxing a certain set of muscles, that area experiences a gradual change in muscle mass and strength. That’s how holding your stomach in can help you improve core strength and increase ab definition.

Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!

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Does Holding In Your Stomach Help Flatten It—What does SCIENCE say?

Science does support the idea that muscle exercising can help increase muscle mass (5). Technically, when you’re holding your stomach in, you activate your abdominal muscles to contract. This engages your core giving the abdominal muscles a workout. 

Although holding your abdominal muscles in a contracted position may make your stomach look toned and lean, it won’t have a long-lasting effect on your muscle mass. Consequently, you won’t be able to make your stomach flat just by holding your breath. 

As far as losing some extra fat, exercising helps a lot. If you are doing full body exercises along with tucking your stomach, it might help you reduce your waistline. Your major goal should be reducing overall fat and strengthening your body which will lead to belly fat loss, whether you do it with cardio, some heavy gyming, or special core strength exercises. This will give you some amazing results in the long run and can massively help flatten your stomach.

does holding in your stomach help flatten it  

You can also add stomach vacuums as a complimentary part of your daily exercise routine and all the other traditional core exercises (7). This means incorporating some effective yoga techniques that can help you tone your abdominal muscles. 

Learn Stomach Vacuuming to Get Perfect Abs

Instead of holding in your stomach to give a false impression of a flat belly, you can try stomach vacuuming. It is a popular technique for toning your abdominal muscles using controlled breathing. An exercise or a quick breath workout helps improve your lung functions, strengthen your body, and tone your core muscles. 

Contrary to what seems like sucking your breath in to look lean, stomach vacuuming produces actual results. It takes a while to get there, but proper stomach vacuuming helps tone the core muscles, improve back pain, and stabilize the spine (8). It’s a physically challenging exercise that takes some practice to do.

Stomach Vacuuming: What is it?

The stomach vacuum exercise involves contracting your abdominal muscles and holding them in so your stomach faces the pressure while you breathe deeply. It is considered an isometric exercise where the transverse abdominis is activated and engaged against the tension of a deep breath (8).  

The goal of a stomach vacuum is to strengthen those transverse abdominal muscles that form the deepest layer of your waistline. It help increase overall strength of the core, improve back pain, stabilize the spine, and can help give the stomach area a slim appearance

See also
10 Exercises to Flatten Stomach, and What Else You Should Do to Lose Belly Fat

How Effective is Stomach Vacuuming? 

The effectiveness of stomach vacuuming is more based on practical results than scientific studies. It’s a topic of ongoing debate whether stomach vacuuming supports weight loss or not. Here’s how stomach vacuuming has helped other people tone their core.

Muscle Activation

Some research studies indicate that stomach vacuuming helps target the deep transversus abdominis muscles. It may establish postural stability and keep intra-abdominal pressure at an optimal level, contributing to a flatter stomach appearance (6).

Improved Athletic Performance

Research studies support the idea that vacuuming your stomach strengthens the same transversus abdominis muscle layer in your stomach, which can enhance your inner core (6). This can help with stability and power, making you more athletic in physical activities.

Pain Management

As per a research study, stomach vacuuming strengthens your body and makes it more defensive against pain management. This practice can easily alleviate lower back pains by improving core muscle potential and posture (8).  

Fat Reduction

Some studies indicate that stomach vacuuming may help with losing fat. Many studies are still in line to support the idea that your abdominal fat can be reduced with the help of a stomach vacuuming program, like any other core exercise, when combined with diet and exercise (8).


Stomach vacuuming offers many benefits for strengthening your core muscles, fixing your upper posture, and providing your body with an athletic look. At the same time, some scientific studies support the idea of muscle toning. However, more research is still needed to support its long-term effects on reducing belly fat. 

does holding in your stomach help flatten it

Can Ab Workouts Slim Your Waist?

Pairing up your regular exercises with the stomach vacuuming practice is a great idea. This way, you can catch two birds in one hand. This is to say, you can tone your abdominal muscles to have lean abs while building core strength. 

This can be a great hack to get a slim and trim waistline by simply doing regular stomach vacuuming practice while keeping your routine exercises in balance. You may like to check out the flat stomach 30-day ab challenge.

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Take this chance to train yourself like a pro within a month! 

It serves as a great way to start doing exercise with added stomach vacuuming to get rid of excess body fat. Your routine workouts can help reduce body fat, while your stomach vacuuming and ab workout practice can help you strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles, slimming down your waistline. 

Holding in Your Stomach To Flatten it via Stomach Vacuuming  

Achieving a toned and flat stomach often entails various strategies, including targeted exercises and dietary adjustments. The conscious act of holding in the stomach is one such tactic, praised by some for swiftly achieving a flatter appearance.  

However, the question arises: does this practice yield long-term results, or is it a momentary illusion that fades once you release your abdominal muscles?

Read more: 10 Exercises to Flatten Stomach, and What Else You Should Do to Lose Belly Fat

Understanding the Visual Impact

Consciously holding in your stomach engages the core muscles, temporarily tightening the midsection. This creates a visual effect of a flatter stomach, particularly noticeable from the front. The muscle contraction pulls the abdominal wall inward, contributing to a smoother profile.

Posture and Perception

Also, holding in your stomach frequently aligns with enhanced posture. Straightening your spine and engaging your abdominal muscles can visually minimize the appearance of belly protrusion, contributing significantly to the perceived flatness of the stomach (3).

Temporary Nature of the Technique

It’s important to acknowledge that the effects of holding in your stomach are temporary. The muscles are active only during the conscious effort, and once relaxed, the stomach returns to its natural state. This raises concerns about the sustainability and long-term impact of solely relying on this technique for consistently achieving a flatter stomach.

Are there any Side Effects Of Holding Your Stomach In?

The charm of having a flat belly is a dream. Everyone wants to look smart, and the social concept is to be skinnier. This leads to a rather absurd but dominating temptation of making your belly look thin by holding in the stomach muscles throughout the day. While it may look harmless, it can have serious negative consequences on your health over time.

Impact on Breathing

Continuously holding in your stomach for extended periods can affect your natural breathing. The constant contraction of abdominal muscles may limit the diaphragm’s movement, potentially causing shallow breathing. This modified breathing pattern could eventually contribute to respiratory problems and discomfort (3).

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Core Muscle Fatigue

Maintaining the core muscles contracted for extended periods is essential for spine support and posture. However, doing so for too long can result in muscle fatigue and discomfort (4). This may impact your overall capacity for physical activities and contribute to a sensation of stiffness.

Potential Effects on Digestion

Regularly constraining the abdominal area could impact the digestive system. While research on this topic is limited, some people mention experiencing digestive discomfort when consistently holding in their stomachs. It’s important to think about how this habit might affect the natural processes of digestion.

Posture Considerations

Maintaining an exaggerated hold on the stomach, while good for posture, could cause an unnatural spine alignment over time. This might lead to musculoskeletal issues and discomfort. Finding a balance between good posture and allowing the body’s natural movement is essential to prevent potential negative effects on posture.

Alternatives for a Flatter Stomach

Rather than relying solely on holding in your stomach all day, consider incorporating a combination of core-strengthening exercises and posture-improving techniques into your routine. A more holistic approach will benefit you and promote a flatter stomach, supporting your overall health and well-being. 

Follow a 30-day Flat Stomach Diet Plan

First, you must follow a healthy diet plan that supports fat-burning techniques. A calorie deficit meal plan is important, which can help you burn more energy than you take in (9). Consider making an appointment with your nutritionist or dietician to create a customized 30-day flat stomach diet plan to boost your body’s metabolism. Or, check out 30-day flat stomach diet plans online to get your desired figure without spending a dime.

Holding in your stomach can help provide temporary visual benefits, but it does not replace the significance of actual core exercises. You must do thorough workout sessions to strengthen your core muscles and achieve results. Planks, crunches, sit-ups, side bends, etc can help you reach your goal to get a long-term benefit.

You can combine your exercise routine with effective posture improvement techniques to fix irregularities. Doing that, along with the routine core-strengthening workout with a balanced diet, can help you get quicker and better results that are sustainable for the long term.  

If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!

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What Are the 3 Best Practices for Flattening Your Stomach?

Achieve a slimmer waistline with weight loss, but here are three simple tips to get a leaner look. 

Long Straight Stretch

Stand straight and try to elongate yourself as high as your core lets you by stretching up your body. This can help flatten your belly and torso. It is a great way to fix your bent over posture. Standing stretches can decompress your spine and de-stress your core muscles like you are being pulled up straight (1).

Suck in Your Stomach

The usual sucking in your stomach can help you look thin, and your stomach appears more flat. It is the most commonly used hack to look thinner and longer. However, it only has benefits when paired with deep breathing, which means doing the same old stomach vacuuming practice. Do this with your abs workout to activate the deep core muscles.

Tilting Back the Pelvis

Your hip flexor muscles can tighten if you constantly work while sitting on a seat or chair. This leaves your stomach in ripples of fats that need to be exercised to remove. Tilting back your pelvic muscles can help straighten your back and front to remove those fat ripples from your belly and give you a better and leaner stomach. Tilt your pelvis back straight, lying on the ground, and hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Do it repeatedly in a routine to have better results.

does holding in your stomach help flatten it  

Read more: Ultimate Abs And Butt Workout For Flat Stomach And Bigger Butt


  • What does holding in your stomach do?

While a healthy diet can help you lose belly fat, holding in your stomach, when done correctly with deep, controlled breathing can help promote core stability and toning. This technique, called stomach vacuuming, helps tone and strengthen your core muscles. 

  • Why do I unconsciously hold it in my stomach?

Most people often consciously or sometimes unconsciously hold in their stomach to appear thinner when they’re at a party or in front of a camera. 

  • Does holding your stomach in help flatten it?

Yes, stomach vacuuming is a technique of holding in your stomach to flatten it, which does work to reduce the appearance of stomach flab when done regularly. 

  • What happens when someone is holding their stomach?

If someone is holding in their stomach, they contract the transverse abdominal muscles to appear thinner and lean. A majority of people do it to look taller and thinner. 

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, while holding in your stomach may create a falsified appearance of having a lean, flatter belly, it is not real. Therefore, having a fake belly can never really be good if you have to make a physical appearance. A better and more recommended strategy would be to work on yourself, use stomach vacuuming to tone your belly muscles, and exercise regularly for good posture and overall good health.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Best Flat Stomach Workouts You Can Do at Home (2019,
  2. Can You Really Tone Your Body With Just Exercise? (2020,
  3. Contraction of the abdominal muscles associated with movement of the lower limb (1997,
  4. Effects of Prolonged Sitting with Slumped Posture on Trunk Muscular Fatigue in Adolescents with and without Chronic Lower Back Pain (2020,
  5. Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity (n.d.,
  6. How to Engage the Transversus Abdominis, and Why It’s Important (2021,
  7. Stomach vacuuming can help you lose 3 inches in 3 weeks. Here’s everything you need to know (2020,
  8. The Stomach Vacuum Is One of the Most Functional Core Exercises You Can Do (2022,
  9. What Is a Calorie Deficit, and How Much of One Is Healthy? (2019,
  10. What to know about the stomach vacuum exercise (2023,