The stomach vacuum is the fitness buzzword that fitness bloggers, trainers and celebs are going mad for – with videos devoted to the practice all over Instagram. But, what exactly is stomach vacuuming?
It may sound like a cosmetic procedure but actually it’s anything but. It’s the fast-track fitness hack, first derived from Pilates and Yoga breathing principles, that helps tone the inner abs (also known as your body’s natural corset and the thing that gives you an hourglass shape).
We spoke to Claire Finlay, founder and personal trainer at pilates and boxing studio Transition Zone to find out how to master it. Bring on the Michelle Keegan-style tummy…
Read: How To Lose Belly Fat...
What does stomach vacuuming do?
‘The concept of stomach vacuum is to suck in your stomach for a time period,’ explains Claire. However, while it is essentially breathing in and out, it’s vital you’re on form – and you do it properly. ‘If you imagine you’re pulling your stomach in deep to pull on a pair of trousers, it will help get your form right,’ adds Claire.
When do I do stomach vacuuming?
Anywhere! ‘Once you’ve learned the proper technique you can do it in the car, at your desk, at home…’ says Claire. ‘It doesn’t need any equipment so I often tell my clients to put little notes on their dashboard or kettle reminding them to do it when they’re waiting in a traffic jam or making a cup of tea. With enough practice you get to the stage where you’re naturally pulling your belly button in towards your spine when you’re just standing, leading to perfect posture which, in turn, makes you look slimmer. No more slouching in morning meetings!’
Read: 9 Ways To 24 Hour Fat Burn…
What are the stomach vacuum benefits?
‘The brilliant thing about this move is that it isn’t superficial – it works the really deep abdominal muscles at the centre of the core,’ says Claire. ‘If you train the inner abs muscles regularly, they will pull your stomach inward, tightening and making it look flat naturally, even in a relaxed state. And new mums listen up! It’s also the perfect move after having a baby as it tightens the pelvic floor also.’ Practice three times a week to see a difference within a fortnight. We’re doing it right this second!
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How to do a stomach vacuum
The basic form of the exercise is best done in a position where your body is curved forward. This is typically done with your knees and hands on the floor, or from standing, bent over position with your hands on the table. However, it can be done in almost any position, including lying down, once you get the technique right!
1) To begin, slowly inhale as much air as possible for a count of three to five seconds.
2) Exhale through your mouth, draw your stomach towards your spine as tight as possible. Try to visualize your navel touching your spine.
3) Hold the contraction for a count of 20. Breathe normally while you hold the contraction.
4) Repeat the exercise for five rounds, building to ten once you get more used to it.