Do the Stomach Vacuum for a more Aesthetic Abdomen

Did you notice how old-school bodybuilders, like Arnold, had a slim waistline?

Having well-defined abdominal muscles was important, but it was more important to have a remarkable waist-to-shoulder ratio.

Most of them attributed this quality to the stomach vacuum exercise.

In this text we will see how to extract the maximum benefits from the technique, as well as from the athletes of the old guard of bodybuilding.

What is the Stomach Vacuum?

The stomach vacuum is an isometric exercise that makes the transverse abdominal muscle work through static contraction (isometry, again).

The transversus abdomen is a muscle located behind the rectus abdominis, or behind the muscle that generates the famous buds, and plays a very important role in stabilizing the spine.

When performing the Stomach Vacuum it is possible to train this muscle and generate benefits such as:

  • Build stability and rock solid stance;
  • Protect yourself from injuries during heavier lifts (squats and landing, for example);
  • Improve core involvement and contraction during other abdominal exercises;
  • Check the protrusion of the stomach, not allowing a swollen belly.

How to do

You can do the Stomach Vacuum almost anytime, anywhere and every day, if you want.

Doing the exercise will not interfere with the training of other muscle groups, not even the abdomen, since working the transverse muscle is something very specific in bodybuilding.

  • Here are the basic steps:
  • Standing up, exhale all the air into your lungs.
  • Contract your stomach as hard as you can from the navel
  • Hold as much as possible without breathing
  • Breathe in a couple of times and repeat
  • Start by doing this a couple of times and as you get used to it, hold the position longer and more often.

For example: if you have never done the exercise before, start with 3 series holding the abdominal vacuum for 10-20 seconds.

After a week, add another series and / or another 10 seconds.

No, doing the Stomach Vacuum will not leave the abdomen defined

Unfortunately, just doing the Stomach Vacuum will make no difference in terms of fat burning.

Diet and the rest of your training, yes. These aspects will have a much greater influence on the definition of the abdomen.

The vacuum serves to improve the shape of your abdomen and the results will be more noticeable as fat levels are lower.

But this does not mean that you should only exercise after the cut, when you are low on fat.

Vacuuming can improve posture, spine stability, and improve function when performing compound exercises that require postural balance.

Important tips

Leave the Stomach Vacuum on an empty stomach. Food in the stomach will stop the total contraction of the abdominal muscles.

Contract and relax the abdomen by holding your breath to increase the difficulty.

Try doing a lying and sitting vacuum to add variation to the movement.

Forward: vacuum with column rotation

To progress in the exercise and continue to generate results, you can increase the movement by twisting the spine.

To do this, perform the vacuum normally, taking a deep breath and, exhaling, contract the navel towards the spine, as if the two were touching.

Now put your hands behind your head and rotate your torso from side to side.

This is a great way to get the benefits of the vacuum and still include some oblique work (the lateral abdominal muscles), challenging the central and transverse muscles even more.

Alternatives and training integration

Okay, the gastric vacuum trains the transverse muscle isometric.

But what if you want to work even more or maybe you don’t get along with the exercise and want to try new things?

Working transversely is specific, but not impossible. There are other excellent ways to train this muscle using common exercises in the gym.

In fact, just as you should and do with other muscle groups, adding different variations is important to generate a complete workout.

Either way, the following exercises can bring about vacuum-like benefits:


Lie on the floor and move into a flexed position. Keep the spine straight and the abdomen contracted.

Maintain this position for as long as possible.

You can start using 3 sets that last up to 30 seconds and increase as you gain stamina.

Later you can even add weight to your back (with the help of a partner) to make it even more challenging.

You will definitely feel the burning throughout your core, but your transverse abdomen or internal abdominal muscles will also be heavily recruited.

Bridges for buttocks

Lie on the floor and slide your feet directly under your knees (your shins should be perpendicular to the floor).

With your hands planted firmly at your sides, push your hips and buttocks up.

Hold the position for 1-3 seconds and then lower your hips to the floor.

This is a great exercise for the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core. You can also add weight to this when you are ready for a bigger challenge.

These are difficult!
If you can do this exercise without any problems, you probably already have a relatively strong abdomen.

Abdominal with trunk rotation

Sit on the floor to get started.

With your legs stretched out in front of you and your knees slightly bent, lift a few inches off the floor. Lean back slightly so that the torso is tilted.

At this point you should rest your body on your hips only.

Now rotate your torso from side to side with your hands in front of you, centered on your chest.

Make long rotations and you will feel an incredible burning in the abdomen and obliques.

Do 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.


Remember that the Stomach Vacuumnon does not work miracles, you still have to diet and train very hard to define the abdomen.

But passing the Stomach Vacuum frequently can optimize the aesthetics of the abdomen and generate a much more pleasant final result, plus you will have other benefits such as better posture and stability.

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