How to Get a Flat Belly with the Stomach Vacuum Exercise

Stomach vacuum sounds a little bit silly, and compared to ab crunches, sit ups, leg raise and so on it doesn't even sound like an ab exercise.

Especially it doesn't sound like something that you want to do.

Schwarzenegger Stomach Vacuum

Arnold performing the stomach vacuum

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 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!

So What Can I Do 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!

Do Stomach Vacuums and You'll Get a Flat Belly

Stomach Vacuum: What the Heck Is That?

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.

Training Internal Abs Is the Key of a Flat Belly

Abdomen muscles

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.

So How Do I Do Stomach Vacuum?

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:

  1. Knees and hands on the floor, or from a standing position with your hands on a table. It's important that your back stays curved to facilitate the vacuum
  2. Blow out all the air from your lungs, squeeze your diaphragm
  3. Suck your belly in, try to expand your lungs like if you were breathing but don't let any air in. Use your diaphragm to suck in your belly very tight. Feel your stomach squeezed against your spine (just saying)
  4. Hold on for about 10 seconds
  5. Release and breath a few times
  6. Repeat the exercise

I am sure you've seen many bodybuilders posing in a stomach vacuum position like this one below.

Stomach Vacuum

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 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!

The other best option you have is to burn stomach fat and get ripped abs with flat stomach exercises and healthy food.

Return from Stomach Vacuum to Best Ab Exercises

  Return to Home Page

9 Responses

  1. Avatar Blake
    Hi I am going to be trying to get bigger and blocker abs soon I have done this a bunch of times with good results. what I was wondering is will the stomach vacuum affect how big my rectus abdominis get would it six pack size.
  2. Avatar Karen
    Interesting in yoga, this is called uddiyana bandha, best also practised on an empty stomach as it massages your digestive system
  3. Avatar Bernie
    Warning this exercise can give you a hernia! I developed inguinal hernia weeks after doing the exercise less than 20 times over the period. Squeezing the abdomen creates internal pressure on our inguinal canals, the weak parts in men. Not worth the risk...hernia surgery cost me over 10k not to mention the trauma and hassle.
    • Avatar kim
      thx for warning me... i was close of trying to do this...
    • Avatar Robert Smolko jr
      Was this something you added to a regimen that you already had established? Or was this something that you tried as the start of a regimen? I know I don't want a hernia, and Im just getting back into a regimen.
  4. Avatar Chris
    After doing this exercise for a few day it gave me constipation, I don't know if this has happened to anyone else...
  5. Avatar Jim
    There's no way this can give you constipation. Constipation is caused by your diet.
  6. Avatar Eli
    Doing abdominal exercises will not herniate you. Overloading your core is a leading cause of this. Simply do not over train and you wont herniate.
  7. How often do you do this exercise? Every day or every other day?