A quick Abs 101: the muscle fibers of the six-pack (rectus abdominis) run vertically. The muscles the stomach vacuum target is the transverse abdominis (TVA), the deepest of the six main abdominal muscles, which is composed of fibers that run horizontally like a belt.
Why would you ever want to work these muscles and do the stomach vacuum exercise? Simple – together with the myotatic crunch – to have for the first time in your life reliable and visible six-pack abs (the only prerequisite is to have low body fat).
The TVA is sometimes called the “corset muscle,” and if your abs ever ached from laughing or coughing, you’ve felt it working.
Here is how to perform the stomach vacuum exercise:
- Get on all fours (can be done sitting or laying down but doing this on all fours is more effective given you work against gravity) and keep your gaze focused either directly under your head or slightly in front of you and keep your neck neutral with a straight back.
- Contract your abs by forcefully exhaling from your mouth until all air is fully expelled.
Full exhalation is necessary to contract the transverse abdominals, and you’ll use gravity to provide resistance.
- Hold your breath and pull your belly button upward toward your spine as hard as you can for a target of eight to twelve seconds.
- After eight to twelve seconds hold, inhale fully through the nose.
- Take one breath cycle of rest by exhaling slowly out the mouth and inhaling slowly through the nose.
- That’s one rep.
Repeat the above for a total of ten repetitions.
The stomach vacuum together with the myotatic crunch will give you visible abs in minutes per week – literally!