What is a stomach vacuum?

Looking for carved abs and a super toned midsection? Add the powerful stomach vacuum exercise to your workout regime and see it transform you. 

But what is a stomach vacuum and how does it work? Also known as stomach vacuuming, this exercise aims at sculpting your abdominals. It is not a new exercise. Instead, the stomach vacuum exercise has been around since the time of Arnold Schwarzenegger and has helped contribute to the ‘in-rage’ slim and hard physiques in the 70s and the 80s. And this amazing exercise has made a comeback. 

It is created around the principle of isometric contraction of your transversus abdominis muscles, which is also known as the six-pack abs. 

How is stomach vacuum done?

If we’ve got you intrigued enough, it’s time to know how do stomach vacuums work. Here is a detailed guide on the correct stomach vacuum technique and form:

  1. Stand straight and stabilise your weight. Place your hands either your hands or the hips.
  1. Exhale deeply as if you are about to empty your lungs.
  1. Once you exhale, suck in your stomach as much as you can. Try to visualise your navel touching your backbone.
  1. Hold this position for as long as possible. 
  1. Slowly release your stomach and return to the starting position. 

Sets and reps of stomach vacuum: You can start by holding your stomach in for 30 seconds. Once you have enough practise, gradually build your practice to 40, 50, 60 seconds and so on.

What are the different variations of stomach vacuum?

Once you have mastered the stomach vacuum workout, it pays to try out the different variations of this exercise for better stimulus and injury prevention. 

Whether you are doing a stomach vacuum for smaller waist or for reducing lower back pain, here are some of the most effective stomach vacuum technique variations that challenge your transverse abdominis muscles more:

  1. Kneeling stomach vacuum: In this variation of stomach vacuum for abs, your stomach and internal organs are put against gravity. This makes the exercise more challenging and hence more productive. Here is how this exercise is done:
  • Start this exercise by kneeling on all fours. 
  • Your shoulders must be directly above your hands and your hips above your knees. 
  • Keep your neck and spine neutral.
  • Now exhale and pull in your stomach. 
  • Hold in your abs as much as you can while breathing normally for the desired duration.
  • Release your abs, relax, and repeat the exercise.
  1. Prone stomach vacuum: In this variation of the vacuum exercise for stomach, you need to take your stomach and internal organs away from the force of gravity. Here is how you can do this advanced exercise:
  • Lie on your chest with your forehead resting on your arms. 
  • Make sure that your legs are straight.
  • Exhale deeply and pull in your stomach while lifting your belly button off the floor. 
  • Hold your abs for the desired duration while breathing normally. 
  • Release the position, relax your abs, and repeat.
  1. Supine stomach vacuum: This is an easier and less-demanding variation of the vacuum exercise for stomach. This is because, in this, you pull your stomach along with the gravity instead of working against it. 
  • Lie on your back comfortably. 
  • Keep your legs straight and keep your arms by your side. You can even bend your legs and keep your feet flat on the ground.
  • Exhale deeply and pull in your stomach for as long as you can. 
  • Keep your abs held in while breathing normally. 
  • Relax your abs and repeat the exercise.
  1. Sitting stomach vacuum: This is an easier variation of the stomach vacuum workout and can be done by people who suffer from back problems. 
  • To begin the exercise, sit straight in a chair.
  • Place your palms on your thighs and exhale deeply. 
  • Pull your stomach towards your spine. 
  • To make the exercise more intense, pump your stomach a few times. Remember not to breathe in during this movement. 
  • To end the exercise, breathe in and repeat.

Do stomach vacuums work and what are their benefits?

A stomach vacuum is an immensely beneficial exercise that has benefits for your overall fitness and health. Here are some of the most important stomach vacuum benefits:

  1. A strong core is the foundation of every movement that you do. Not just this, your core also impacts your workout performance. One of the most important stomach vacuum exercise benefits is that it enhances your core strength. This helps prevent injuries and improves your balance and stability.
  1. There are amazing benefits of stomach vacuum for smaller waist. By contracting your stomach muscles, you shrink them effectively for a considerable period leading to a toned mid-section.
  1. For males and females stomach vacuum exercise has special benefits when it comes to preventing postural problems. By strengthening your abdominals and stabilising your spine, it helps prevent and manage lower back problems.
  1.  Besides the benefits of stomach vacuum for abs, this exercise improves your digestion and prevents disorders such as constipation and bloat.
  1. For males and females stomach vacuum exercise improves stability and coordination, especially in the lower body. 
  1. One of the most important stomach vacuum exercise benefits is that it requires minimal set-up. You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or gym space to do this exercise. This makes it an excellent addition to your home workouts.

How to do a stomach vacuum safely?

Here are some tips for doing stomach vacuum safely:

  • In case you suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions, don’t start this exercise without talking to your doctor.
  • Instead of doing this exercise on your, learn its correct form and technique from an experienced trainer. 
  • Always do a warm-up before doing a stomach vacuum.


While this is an excellent exercise for better abdominal strength, to gain stomach vacuum benefits, you need to be consistent with your practice. Also, whether you are doing stomach vacuum for abs or other gains, it is important not to restrict yourself within one exercise. 

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February 25, 2022

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