In the 21st century, people are getting more involved in sports routines. You have definitely observed runners who exhale so heavily that they feel like they are the only one who is working out. Some people crave beautiful bodies: ladies desire to have a slim stomach and men make efforts to get the perfect “Adonis belt”. People for years have considered targeted exercises in a specific area as a great chance to lose fat where they desired. Of course, this myth was dissolved long ago. Another myth now is floating around in the media is about stomach vacuum exercises that allegedly can help you lose weight and get six-pack abs. Luckily, you are going to dismiss this myth, but that doesn’t mean vacuum exercise is unnecessary or unhelpful. On the contrary, this exercise is ideal for strengthening your core and reducing back pain. Aside from that, you also need to be aware of top tips and recommendations on how to do stomach vacuums properly since inaccurate actions can lead to unfortunate drawbacks. This article is going to open up the truth about stomach vacuum benefits and disadvantages and how to perform these stomach exercises.
How Do You Do A Stomach Vacuums Step By Step?
Ab vacuum exercise is a great breathing process during which your deepest abdominal muscle – transverse abdominis is contracted. Due to contraction, your transversus abdominis becomes activated and strengthened.
This deepest muscle is essential since it is situated around our abdomen and protects our spine (5).
If you wonder why so many sportsmen recommend this workout then the answer lies in the core and abs strength that results in it. The more strength you’ve got, the more effectively you perform the workout.
In a few seconds, you are going to learn a step-by-step way to do a vacuum pose. There are different positions you can use for this breathing exercise: standing, sitting, lying, and kneeling. The most common one is a standing position.
So, get prepared to get the hang of this effective exercise.
- Stand with your feet apart at shoulder width.
- Keep your back straight without rounding it.
- Prepare your body for the exercise by breathing in slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
- Once you exhale, suck in your stomach as far as you can. Imagine you are walking into the cold lake or pool (4).
- Hold in this position for 20 seconds in the beginning and then exhale through your mouth.
- Release by breathing out.
It is okay if you can’t drive your belly button far. All you need is practice. In addition to that, it is better to start with 15-20 seconds of holding and not more because you can get fatigued or dizzy.
Remember The Essential Tips To Perform Vacuum Workouts More Effectively:
- Do not forget to breathe while you are keeping your stomach sucked! Especially when you are a beginner.
- Place your hands or fingers on the lower abs. This can help you feel when your transversus abdominis is contracted.
- Don’t suck in fast. You should contract your transversus abdominis by slowly drawing the abdominal muscles inward.
Now you know how to do an ab vacuum workout properly. If you desire to challenge yourself a bit you can do the exercise on the Swiss ball. Remember that the mind-muscle connection is important.
How To Do Stomach Vacuums: Does Stomach Vacuuming Work?
You might have heard a lot of theories on the “magical” effects of stomach hollowing on your waist and abs: your waist can become super thin and you can end up with a sportive six-pack core. The bad news is that stomach vacuuming has nothing to do with weight loss or six-packs. Therefore, don’t expect to shed fat, build muscle, or burn calories.
If people could lose waist fat and extra weight with a stomach vacuum routine then everybody would do this exercise every day 10 times minimum and do nothing else. That said, even sportsmen often start their morning with an abdominal drawing-in maneuver since stomach vacuum results can be visible during the actual workouts. Here are top-6 vacuum exercise benefits you can jot down right now:
- Being responsible for targeting the transversus abdominis which is a part of our core and the deepest muscle in the abdominal wall, this exercise might reduce pain in the back (2).
- With the help of stomach vacuuming, intensive exercises and healthy food (mostly full of protein) men have all the chances to get the desirable Adonis belt (1).
- The stomach vacuum for abs can help breathe better during your workout routine. Breathing is essential during training and a lot of people sometimes even forget to breathe which is a big mistake. Good breathing can aid in better performance at the gym. Thus, you are guaranteed to burn more calories and gain a smoking hot body.
- Weightlifting exercises sometimes end with injuries when we lift heavy weights. We can avoid it more by learning how to properly contract our core during stomach vacuuming.
- The stomach vacuum for a smaller waist helps you slim your waist a bit. The point is that during stomach hollowing, our muscles are pulled closer together which visually slims the waistline. However, this won’t help you get rid of stomach fat.
- The stomach vacuum workout is beneficial to building strong core muscles with the help of which you get a straight posture and the possibility to perform more workouts. A lot of core exercises will not give you such effects as stomach vacuuming. That is why this exercise is perfect at the beginning of training.
Obviously, stomach vacuum benefits play a big role in your training. If you perform them on an empty stomach before your workout routine you are guaranteed to get stronger core muscles. With the mix of intensive workouts and healthy meals, the stomach vacuum can give you sportive abs and a bit slimmer waist.
How Many Stomach Vacuums Should You Do A Day?
You can perform stomach vacuums every day. They are not harmful if you do them properly. However, you need to remember a couple of rules for the best results:
- Do stomach hollowing in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Start with two sets for 20 seconds. If you feel like doing more, you can upgrade to 3 sets.
- Once you feel stronger you can prolong the time from 20 to 40-45 seconds.
It is advisable to perform 20 seconds of stomach vacuuming during the first week. The next week you can switch to 45 seconds. In the third week, you can try yourself for 60 seconds.
Please note that if you feel fatigued or dizzy then stop this exercise immediately. It can be difficult especially at the beginning since you are doing ab vacuum exercises on an empty stomach. Plus, do not try to hold your breath as much as possible when you are a beginner because you will end up with a headache or even nausea.
Start your stomach vacuum routine in the standing position. When you get used to the process itself you can change the position and contract your transversus abdominis on your knees or even in your bed.
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How Do You Stomach Vacuum In Bed?
If you feel like getting out of bed in the morning to perform a vacuum pose is not your thing then you can try the lying option. As was mentioned above, abdominal vacuuming can be done in different ways – some of them are more and some are less challenging. If you’d like to discover how to do the belly vacuum in bed, keep reading the article.
There are actually two ways you can do it in bed – supine and prone. We shall start with the most common one – supine (lying on your back):
- Lie on your bed. Keep your spine neutral, knees bent and feet flat.
- Inhale through your nose and exhale through your pursed mouth slowly. Once you exhale suck in your stomach (slowly) by drawing in your lower abs. Contract your abdominal muscles.
- While holding your belly in, don’t forget to breathe. If you don’t breathe then you are not contracting your abdominal muscles.
- Hold in this position for 20 seconds. Then release and repeat 2-3 times.
The second way is prone (face-down version):
- Lie on your stomach, keep your legs straight and your arms extended above your head facing down.
- Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth.
- Then inhale and draw your stomach in slowly.
- Hold in this position for 20 seconds and exhale.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
The prone version might be a little bit more difficult since you can face breathing problems. Try not to get perplexed or intimidated by it. Relax and enjoy the process. Shouldn’t it be fun to do the stomach vacuum in a comfortable soft bed? You combine two things: comfort and physical activity. Real stomach vacuum results can appear after exercising in bed which is an additional benefit to the list.
Can A Stomach Vacuum Help You Lose Weight?
A body mass index (BMI) from 25 to 30 indicates that a person is overweight while 30 and more is considered to be obese (6).
A lot of people who desire to lose weight or shed calories have a great hope that the tummy vacuum can help them lose weight. But can it really?
The answer depends on two factors: your eating habits and your active lifestyle. If you lack one of them you can wave goodbye to a healthy weight.
Ab vacuum exercise is not responsible for weight loss. The main benefit of it is that it makes your core stronger and keeps your spine protected. This is an inevitable advantage during any intensive workout.
You will never lose weight performing vacuum pose if you:
- Keep eating trans fats, or saturated fats in big amounts.
- Stick to an uneven sleeping schedule.
- Don’t work out at all and lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Some ladies also wonder whether they can lose belly by doing stomach hollowing. Belly fat is a big deal and it is not only about making your jeans too tight or getting intimidated by the numbers on scales. It is about the risks of such diseases as:
- Heart disease
- Fatty liver disease
- High cholesterol
- Breast cancer (3).
That is why abs exercises and a healthy diet are necessary. Here the stomach vacuum becomes beneficial since it helps you to engage your core during a workout better, which could lead to amazing results. Plus, this breathing exercise can make the waist look a tad smaller.
Therefore, a combination of stomach vacuum exercises, healthy food, and workout can make you look slimmer, athletic, and energetic.
Is Stomach Vacuum Harmful?
So far you have learned about the vacuum exercise benefits and probably have decided to incorporate it into your everyday routine. You are welcome to do it only if you do it correctly. In general, the stomach vacuum is not harmful at all. However, there are some drawbacks that are not even connected with the exercise itself but the misconception of results around it.
Many people believe that the belly vacuum can help you achieve visible abs. It is a common social media problem where young women lull other women into thinking that the perfect abdominal shapes are possible only by performing the vacuum pose. Thus, a lot of gullible ladies delve into this workout routine without even doing it properly: they might not breathe during this workout or hold their breath longer at the beginning.
Eventually, they get exhausted and fatigued quite fast but continue performing it since they are sure they will get rid of the annoying belly fat. Still, in order to lose belly fat you need to have a caloric deficit via diet and training.
Another drawback of vacuum core exercises is that you will not get six-pack abs. You can achieve this by training the rectus abdominis – the superficial abdominal muscle. Also, the low body fat percentage is essential here. If you have more fat, especially on your belly, you can perform abs workouts even every day but it won’t bring any results.
People who are prone to having high blood pressure, in general, should avoid abdominal vacuuming because it can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Clearly, the stomach vacuum core exercise is useful when it is performed correctly. It allows you to do other core workouts more effectively and breathe better during them.
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The Bottom Line
Overall, stomach vacuum exercise is a useful tool that contracts your deepest abdominal muscle – transverse abdominis which is responsible for spine and organ protection.
Here are the top tips and recommendations on how to do stomach vacuums properly. Vacuum core exercise should be done in the morning on an empty stomach. In order to perform it, a person should inhale and draw in the belly slowly as far as possible and hold for 20-30 seconds. Then exhale and repeat again. It is important to not stop breathing during the holding process. People can do the stomach vacuum every day with two sets for 20-30 seconds.
The great benefit of ab vacuuming is that it targets the abdominal muscle making us stronger for intensive core workouts. Plus, it helps us breathe properly during the training.
Indeed, it doesn’t shed calories, help you lose belly fat, or create six-pack abs. Instead, the belly vacuum may make your waist look a bit smaller. If your goal is to lose weight and build a sportive body then you need to combine the tummy vacuum with a calorie deficit, intensive training, and healthy eating.
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!
- How to get an Adonis belt (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Critical Role of Development of the Transversus Abdominis in the Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Facts About Belly Fat (2022, webmd.com)
- The viral ‘stomach vacuum’ exercise can strengthen your abs and reduce back pain — here’s how to do it (2022, today.com)
- Transversus Abdominis Plane Block: An Updated Review of Anatomy and Techniques (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Watch Your Weight (n.d., hopkinsmedicine.org)