Stomach vacuum is a simple abdominal breathing exercise that originates from practice of yoga, and later it became an integral part of Pilates. Stomach vacuum targets your innermost deep abdominal muscles. A lot of power lifters use this exercise, and deep divers that helps them train their breathing and stamina. And basically a strong and fit abdominal transversus also helps to improve your posture, protect your inner organs and also burn excessive abdominal fat and train diaphragm.
A Little Bit of History
What is the essence of the vacuum stomach and how can the waistline be reduced? Actually this exercise is not a novelty at all. In 1968 young Frank Zane, a world-wide famous bodybuilder, achieved one of his most important bodybuilding results: in addition to his titles of Mr. America and Mr. Universe, but he also beat Arnold Schwarzenegger. And the stomach vacuum was kind of his trademark. In the course of his performances he retracted the belly, and as a result his transverse abdominal muscle was greatly reduced that looked amazing and unbelievable.
Why Fit Abdomen is Essentially Important for Overall Health
Anatomically, the transverse abdominal muscle has a role of a weightlifting belt and goes along the stomach from left to right. It keeps the entire peritoneum and internal organs, not allowing them to “protrude”. Actually, it can be one of the most unpleasant and unhealthy consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. Protruded belly does not only look unaesthetic, the main thing weak abdominal muscles do not protect vitally important inner organs. Even skinny people can have ‘protruded’ bellies if their muscles are not trained enough. Another consequence is one of important functions of the core and abdominal muscles is to support vertical position of a human and support the spine and skeleton. So we can see the vital importance of well-trained stomach for overall health both for men and women.
Advantages of Stomach Vacuum
One of its main advantages is the following: as it contracts transverse muscles of abdomen, with the regular practice it will shape a fit waistline and for male sportsmen, in combination with a flat belly, it helps to reach desired harmonic proportions of a ‘triangle’ – shoulders, back and waistline. For females stomach vacuum is a real magic wand as it allows shaping a beautiful fit tummy and a slim waist. So, with and the vacuum stomach exercise a regular healthy diet you’ll be able to remove a few extra centimeters in the waist area. Let’s figure out how to properly perform the stomach vacuum. The essence of the vacuum exercise is to train the transverse muscle of the abdomen that it becomes toned and elastic. In tree-four weeks of regular performance, condition of this muscle will improve, it will get more fit and tight, and the reduced waist will be a visual benefit.
The width of the waist (front and back) is not genetically determined and can be changed by doing the vacuum as a priority exercise in your training routine. By training the transverse abdominal muscle, you, in addition to all above-mentioned, prevent back pain by relieving the load from the waist.
How to Do the Stomach Vacuum
To master the exercise, start the vacuum with the easiest posture – lying on the back (the stomach is easier to vacuum in under the force of gravity). With more practice, go to the execution of the vacuum in the “knee” position, then in the sitting position and, finally, the most difficult variant is in the standing position.
Lie on your back, bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, hands stretched along the trunk. Make a powerful exhalation, trying to exhale all the air from the lungs, and strongly retract the abdomen. Imagine that you need to touch the navel to the spine. In the supine position you will be helped by gravity. Keep the stomach retracted for 15 seconds. Make small breaths. Concentrate on your diaphragm, feel how it is drawn deep into the abdomen. Repeat 3-4 sets several times a day (at least twice). It is better to do it in the morning on an empty stomach (ideally straight after you wake up), but feel free to do it any time throughout the day when the stomach is not full. Over time, increase the time of exercise from 15 seconds to 1 minute or more. The main criterion is your comfortable feelings and pleasure from exercise.
Vacuum on the knees
After you can easily make a vacuum in 5 sets of 1 minute, go to a more complex option – in the “knee position”. Get on your knees and put your hands on the floor. Do not bend arms in elbows. The wrist, elbow and shoulder should be on the same line, and the thighs should be perpendicular to the shin. Make one powerful exhalation and retract the abdomen. Slightly lower your head, and arch your back. Start with 30 second, and gradually increase up to 1 minute. Do 5 sets.
The sitting position activates the core stabilizers muscles, which hold the spine in the vertical position. This type of the vacuum is more complicated. In addition, gravity also complicates the task. Sit on a flat and firm surface. Do not lean anywhere. After a powerful exhalation, retract the abdomen and hold this position for 1 minute. Do 5 sets.
Standing vacuum is similar. Take a comfortable standing position and, as you exhale, retract the abdomen and try to hold on as long as possible. Do not limit to 1 minute.
Carry out a vacuum throughout the day. Just control your abdominal muscles, during all the movements that you make. Try to retract your stomach constantly, despite whether you are standing or sitting. Over time, the transverse abdominal muscle will get toned, your body will look more harmonic and fit, but what is most important – your health condition will be much better and inner organs well-protected.