Especially it doesn't sound like something that you want to do.
Despite the name, it's one of the most effective exercises for your abs, and here I am going to tell you why.
I've always had a problem: skinny guy (hardgainer) with developed abs and...an ugly belly that had no relationship with the word "flat".
I would accept being chubby with a belly, that's understandable. But I hated to be skinny with a belly. Come on, a skinny guy has to have a flat belly!
It became the question I was asking myself every day.
I remember thinking "Ok, first things first: let's get a flat belly and then let's build some muscle".
I searched everywhere for a solution, and all the answers I found were something like the usual body crunches, leg raises etc.
But we know that if that was true then everybody would have a flat belly right?
I was stuck, and nothing I was doing seemed helping, until I came across a personal trainer that gave me the best advice ever!
It's probably the most unknown ab exercise. Still now, none of the people I talk to know what I am talking about. First reaction...they laugh, then they ask indeed: "What the heck is that???".
Let's start with some anatomy.
In our belly we have inner abs and outer abs.
The so popular six pack that we all want forms the outer abs or external abs. The part that we can see with our eyes.
That's good to have, I mean...a six pack looks great on everybody, but it doesn't help you have a flat belly.
What we want to focus on now is the inner abs, or internal abs.
The fact is that we have two layers of ab muscles in our belly.
Click to enlarge
The purpose of this page is to explain you how to train the internal abs because they have the purpose of supporting the abdominal wall.
In simple words, they keep your belly flat. When you "hold your breath" to keep your belly in, you actually hold your internal abs tight.
If you train those muscles regularly your belly will look more and more flat naturally, even in a relaxed state.
Ok this is enough theory, let's move to the practical aspect: how to train internal abs.
Stomach vacuum consists of blowing out all the air from your lungs and "sucking in" your stomach as much as you can for about 10 seconds.
When I do it's like if I was trying to breath without letting any air inside. If you try to expand your lungs with no air you feel exactly a vacuum sensation. You feel like your stomach is sticking to your spine.
Here I found a video on YouTube that describes how to do this important exercise:
It seems an easy and useless exercise, but if you start doing it every day you will see huge changes in your waist line!
And by the way, it's not easy at all, it hurts! You feel the burn inside, and that means that you're doing it right. Let's try to write down the steps.
Stomach vacuum steps:
I am sure you've seen many bodybuilders posing in a stomach vacuum position like this one below.
It's important that your body is curved forward. If you try to stay upright it won't work that well, plus it's even more difficult.
I like to do it on the floor. Sometimes I do it at work, in that case a stand an put my hands on the desk, it does the same job.
I know of people that do it while they drive, but I don't like it...
Some people also do it lying face up on the floor...it depends if you feel it right or not.
Just trying different positions and stick with what feels better to you.
I repeat, it's not an easy exercise, stomach vacuum is painful but it's the only ab exercises that gives you a flat belly if you do it regularly.
Train your internal abs to stay tight and after a while you will notice that you belly starts to look more flat even if you don't hold it tight on purpose.
If you liked this article don't hesitate to share it and let your friends know how they can get flat belly with a simple (execution) ab workout like stomach vacuum!
See? Even the great Arnold used to do it!