Stomach vacuum is a popular exercise that entails the contraction of your abdominal muscles, particularly your transverse abdominis muscle. For years, fitness enthusiasts have been incorporating this move into their workout routines, touting its ability to trim your waistline and promote abs visibility. In this article, we will discuss what the stomach vacuum exercise is, how to perform it, and the potential benefits that come with consistent practice.
How to Perform the Stomach Vacuum Exercise?
To perform the stomach vacuum exercise, start by standing upright or sitting on a chair with your back straight, arms by your side and feet shoulder-width apart. Follow these steps:
- Take a deep breath until your lungs are fully expanded
- While exhaling, pull your belly button towards your spine as much as possible
- Hold the contraction for 15 to 20 seconds while breathing lightly
- Release the contraction and inhale deeply
- Repeat for 10-15 reps
It is important to note that the stomach vacuum should not be performed if you have high blood pressure, hernia or any other abdominal medical condition. Also, you should engage the transverse abdominal muscle only and not your diaphragm or outer abdominal muscles.
What Does Stomach Vacuum Actually Do?
One of the primary benefits of stomach vacuum exercises is its ability to strengthen and tone the deep abdominal muscles, particularly the transverse abdominis muscle. This thin sheet of muscle wraps around your midsection, acting as a natural corset that can pull your waistline inward, leading to a smaller waist and flatter stomach, provided sufficient fat loss occurs.
Improves Posture and Stability
Weakness in your core muscles is a common cause of poor posture, leading to back pain and swayed hips. By strengthening the muscles that support your spine, the stomach vacuum exercise can help improve your posture and provide greater stability when performing everyday activities such as lifting or bending.
Enhances Breathing Technique
Breathing during the stomach vacuum exercise’s execution can enhance your breathing technique. This is because the exercise involves contracting and expanding your diaphragm muscle, which makes you breathe naturally in a superior way, and can lead to better lung capacity.
Reduces the Risk of Hernia
Hernia is a condition that occurs when an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot in a muscle or tissue. One of the primary causes of hernia is weak abdominal muscles. By strengthening your abdominal muscles through the stomach vacuum exercise, you can reduce the risk of developing hernia and other abdominal medical conditions.
Boosts Body Awareness
Stomach vacuum strengthens your mind-muscle connection enhancing your body awareness. This movement develops a deep understanding of how to engage the transverse abdominis muscles, which is ideal for further core training movements. It improves your control over these muscles that can support the efficacy of other exercises that heavily rely on core strength.
How Often Should You Perform Stomach Vacuum Exercise?
The frequency of your stomach vacuum exercises should depend on your fitness level, goals, and health conditions. For beginners, you can start two to three times a week with five to ten repetitions while contracting the muscle for only five to ten seconds, increasing the number of reps and the duration of the contraction over time.
For experts, you can perform it once or twice every day. Increasing the reps and duration of the contraction and adding intensity variations such as moving while in a vacuum position can help increase the challenge level.
Can Stomach Vacuum Alone Give You a Six Pack?
Stomach vacuum can contribute to a six-pack, but it alone won’t give you a six-pack. Even consistent practice of the stomach vacuum exercise alone cannot give you a full six-pack because the rectus abdominis muscles, which are responsible for the “six-pack” appearance, are not the primary focus of this exercise.
Importance of Proper Nutrition and Other Exercises
To achieve a six-pack, it requires that you focus on your diet and other exercises that promote ab muscle visibility. Consistent resistance training and cardio with proper nutrition is the key to getting those abdominal muscles visible. The stomach vacuum exercise remains a helpful addition to add to your routine for improving core strength, posture, and control.
The stomach vacuum exercise can be an excellent move to incorporate into your fitness regimen if you’re looking to improve your core strength, tone your abs and waistline, reduce the chances of developing medical conditions, and improve your breathing and body awareness. However, for optimal results, it should be part of a more comprehensive fitness plan that includes other exercises and proper nutrition.
FAQs About Stomach Vacuum
Q: Can stomach vacuum exercise cause diastasis recti?
A: No, stomach vacuum exercise is not likely to cause diastasis recti; it is an effective way to treat the condition when performed correctly.
Q: How many seconds should I hold stomach vacuum?
A: During the stomach vacuum exercise, you should hold each contraction for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds.
Q: Can stomach vacuum reduce belly fat?
A: While stomach vacuum exercise can help strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, it does not directly burn belly fat. A combination of proper nutrition and exercise is needed to reduce overall body fat for a flatter stomach.
Q: Can I do stomach vacuum every day?
A: Yes, you can do stomach vacuum every day, but you should pay attention to your body signal to avoid overtraining.
Q: Is stomach vacuum safe for everyone?
A: Stomach vacuum exercise is generally safe for most people, but those with medical conditions such as hernia, high blood pressure or spinal disk problems, should avoid this exercise.
- Russman, B., 2015. The Benefits of the Stomach Vacuum Exercise And How To Do It Right. Bodybuilding 4.0
- Kadakkal, S., 2020. Stomach Vacuum Exercise: Benefits & How-To Guide. HealthifyMe