stomach vacuum exercise

The Stomach Vacuum Exercise: Is it Safe, and How To Do it Right

We’ve all seen those flawless Instagram fitness models with incredibly tiny waists. Filters anyone? And while you may not be able to achieve that level of definition, you can still work on toning and tightening your midsection with the stomach vacuum exercise.

Okay. So what the heck is this crazy sounding stomach vacuum exercise even good for? Is it safe? And how do you do it correctly?

In this article, we’ll answer all of those questions and more.

Read on to learn everything you need to know to safely start stomach vacuuming and achieve that slimmer waistline and flat abs you’ve always wanted!

For some interesting, and sometimes funny trivia on abs, see our article, Answers To The Internet’s Top 23 Six Pack Questions!

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What is the stomach vacuum exercise?

The stomach vacuum exercise is a move that targets the transverse abdominis, which is the deepest abdominal muscle that wraps around your waist.

This exercise uses an isometric contraction, meaning that you contract, or squeeze your deep core muscles to target that transversus abdominis.

This muscle is important for stabilizing your spine and pelvis, and when it’s strong, it adds core strength, postural control, and helps increase overall fitness.

stomach vacuum exercise

Is the stomach vacuum safe?

Here’s the big question. Is it safe to perform the stomach vacuum exercise?

Yes, the stomach vacuum is a safe exercise for most people to do.

There are no known risks associated with doing stomach vacuums, as long as you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions that might be aggravated by this type of exercise.

Pre-existing medical conditions: Safety first!

Some pre-existing medical conditions that could potentially increase the likelihood of injury while stomach vacuuming includes:

-Serious neck or back pain.

-High blood pressure.

-Compromised lungs.

-Inability to take a full deep breath or any other condition that makes it hard to breathe.

-Very poor overall fitness level.

Does the stomach vacuum actually work?

You bet it does! The stomach vacuum approach can help you strengthen your core, lower your chance of back pain, and improve your posture.

When the abdominal muscles, specifically the transversus abdominis are developed, it acts like a corset, pulling in your waist giving you that smaller waistline profile, and helping to support your spine.

stomach vacuum exercise

Do stomach vacuums shrink your waist?

The stomach vacuum won’t actually shrink your waist, but it can help to give the appearance of a smaller waist by strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and pulling them inwards.

If you have a layer of belly fat over your abs, you’ll also need to work on reducing that to get that six pack to pop.

No amount of stomach vacuuming will help you reduce body fat like a clean diet will!

stomach vacuum exercise

Do stomach vacuums tighten your core muscles?

Yes, like any core exercise done with consistency, the stomach vacuum exercise can help to tighten your stomach muscles, giving you a firmer midsection.

All muscles strengthen when you utilize the correct exercises.

How long does it take to see results?

That’s going to depend on you and your workout schedule. Of course, the cleaner you eat and the more time you can squeeze in these exercises the quicker you’ll see results.

If you’re having trouble staying motivated, consider hiring a personal trainer. Personal trainers can definitely help motivate you to exercise regularly and keep those abs, lungs, and muscles burning. Feel the burn, baby!

How do I do a stomach vacuum correctly?

To start, stand straight, with your feet shoulder width apart, and place your hands on your hips.

As you slowly exhale through your mouth, (giving you more control over your breath), tighten your abs and pull your belly button in toward your spine.

Still standing, hold this position for 10 seconds while breathing normally then relax and repeat 3 times.

As you get stronger, you can hold the vacuum position for longer periods of time, up to 60 seconds.

Just be sure not to overexert yourself.

This works as a great deep breathing exercise as well as you exhale all the air from your lungs and work on controlling your breath.

Stomach vacuum exercise variations:

If you want to add a challenge to the stomach vacuum, and really fire that transversus abdominis muscle, there are a few variations you can try.


-Sit on a chair or bench with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.

-Place your hands on your thighs and exhale as you pull your belly button in toward your spine.

-Hold for 10 seconds then relax and repeat.

Remember, this is an isometric exercise, so contract and hold those abs.

Kneeling stomach vacuum:

-Start in a kneeling position, palms flat on the floor directly under your shoulders.

-Keep your back in a neutral position, and your legs should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor.

-Your toes should be touching the floor and your heels facing the sky.

-As you slowly exhale, pull your belly button in toward your spine and tilt your pelvis forward.

-Hold for 10 seconds then relax and repeat.

Supine (laying down on your back):

-To do the supine stomach vacuum, lie on your back with your knees bent and place your hands on your abdomen.

-As you exhale, suck in your stomach as far as possible.

-Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat.

Prone position (laying face down):

-For this variation, lie on your stomach with your legs straight and place your hand’s palm down beside you.

-As you exhale, raise your head and chest off the ground.

-Hold for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat.

Should you breathe while doing the stomach vacuum?

Do I hold my breath during a stomach vacuum?

No, do not hold your breath while completing this move. Holding your breath could inadvertently increase your blood pressure or make you feel dizzy.

How often should you do the stomach vacuum?

You can do the stomach vacuum exercise every day if you’d like, but 3-4 times per week is probably sufficient.

Having said that, abdominal muscles like the transversus abdominis and rectus abdominis can be treated a little differently than other muscles in the body.

A normal muscle typically needs at least 24-48 hours to recover from a workout. With abs, it’s safe to hit them every day.

Remember though, as, with any exercise, it’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it.

Benefits of the stomach vacuum exercise?

Some of the benefits of this exercise include improved posture, reduced back pain, and enhanced core stability.

This is also one of the few moves that targets the deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominis.

Additionally, this move can be done anywhere as there is NO workout equipment needed.

Are there any risks associated with the stomach vacuum exercise?

While this exercise is generally safe, there are some risks to be aware of.

These include straining the lower back and neck, as well as experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness due to the change in blood pressure.

If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately!

Adding the stomach vacuum to your routine

The stomach vacuum is a great move to add to your workout routine. Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned pro, it just works!

To incorporate this exercise into your routine, start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets and reps.

I like to do my stomach vacuum exercises in between my other sets.

Tips for the stomach vacuum exercise

  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

  • Don’t arch your back while in the kneeling pose.

  • Think about keeping good posture while doing the seated method.

Upgrade your abs! Other tips and tricks

For another great ab exercise, check out our article, Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing.

For a complete guide to getting that ripped six pack, check out this article: Upgrade Your Abs! Best Diet and Exercises for Building the V-Line.

The bottom line on stomach vacuuming

The stomach vacuum is a safe, effective exercise that can help to tone your midsection and give you the appearance of a smaller waist and flat stomach.

However, as with any ab exercise, diet is also required to get that chiseled body you’ve always dreamt of.

Remember to breathe normally while doing the exercise, and to stop if you feel any pain.

With the right diet and consistency, you’ll see results!

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