What is the exercise “vacuum” for the abdomen

This is a movement in which you completely exhale the air, and then hold your breath and draw in the stomach as much as possible, as if trying to press the navel to the spine.

AT bodybuilding and fitness exercise became known thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many performing bodybuilders consider “vacuum” is a good help in working on the appearance of the hull.

There is a similar technique in yoga – there it is called uddiyana-bandha and is used to stimulate blood circulation, the health of internal organs and cleanse the body.

At the same time, the “vacuum” of bodybuilders and yogis has one important difference, which determines the technique of execution and the effect on the body.

What is the difference between vacuum exercises in fitness and yoga

“Vacuum” in fitness is aimed primarily at working out the deep abdominal muscles. In yoga, these muscles turn on at best at the very beginning of the movement, and then completely relax.

Xenia Shatskaya

Yoga therapist, yoga anatomy and physiology teacher, author of @kseniashatskaya blog.

“Vacuum” according to the method of Arnold Schwarzenegger is bringing the transverse abdominal muscle into tone to reduce the intra-abdominal space. Just exhale completely and keep your stomach pulled in.

Uddiyana bandha is a false breath. You exhale completely and make the same movement with the lower ribs as during inhalation, but do not let the air in. This is done by the intercostal muscles, while the transverse abdominal muscle is relaxed.

Since there is no consensus in fitness about how to perform the “vacuum” correctly, some bodybuilders do uddiyana bandha, while others simply draw in the stomach on the exhale.

Is it true exercise “vacuum” helps to drive fat from the abdomen

There is no evidence that the “vacuum” in any way helps to remove fat from the waist – neither subcutaneous, nor visceral, surrounding the internal organs.

When performing any “vacuum” – from fitness or yoga – small muscles work, the static contraction of which does not lead to a significant expenditure of calories.

Even regular and varied abdominal exercises, in which the muscles tense much more, don’t help reduce belly fat. Is it worth talking about the effect of a movement in which most of the muscles are relaxed?

True, “vacuum” can still help, but not directly.

Xenia Shatskaya

Yoga therapist.

Normally, the body breaks down fat that is readily available due to good regional circulation. “Vacuum” improves blood circulation in the abdominal region, so that fat from the abdomen will be easier to remove than under the condition of stagnation and inflammation.

As for other positive effects, it all depends on the type of “vacuum”.

What is useful exercise “vacuum”

Since vacuum techniques in fitness and yoga are different, they have different effects on the body. We will take a look at the benefits of both.

From fitness

The main advantage of the “vacuum” from fitness is the strengthening of the deep abdominal muscles.

The muscles of the body consist of several layers. In the center outside is a large and strong rectus abdominis, on the sides – external obliques. Beneath them lie the internal oblique and transverse abdominal muscles. The latter rarely work during standard ab exercises.

Exercise “vacuum” strengthens the external oblique and transverse abdominal muscles, providing additional body stability.

This is useful both during strength training and in everyday life. A strong and stable body will ensure effective transmission of force between the upper and lower extremities and protect the intervertebral discs from overload and injury.

In addition, strong transverse abdominal muscles will help decrease back pain and reduce the negative impact on the spine – no matter from sitting for a long time, trying to lift a heavy sofa or dragging heavy bags in the country.

From yoga

This variation of the “vacuum” practically does not involve the deep abdominal muscles, and therefore does not contribute to their strengthening.

However, exercise has many other health benefits. Ksenia Shatskaya believes that with regular performance, uddiyana bandha has a beneficial effect on several body systems.

1. Develops respiratory muscles

Specifically, the intercostal muscles responsible for false inspiration during exercise.

2. Improves blood circulation and prevents lymph stagnation

Xenia Shatskaya

Yoga therapist.

During the performance of the “vacuum”, the pressure in both the chest and abdominal cavities decreases, which provides a suction effect. This is also true for blood vessels – the blood rushes through them from the periphery to the center, to the right atrium. This provides unloading of the venous basin of the legs and small pelvis, which is very useful for varicose veins.

And due to the powerful work of the diaphragm – the main “pump” of the lymph, the “vacuum” has a positive effect on the lymph flow.

3. Improves digestion

This happens through the stimulation of blood circulation and through the effect on the nervous system.

Xenia Shatskaya

Yoga therapist.

“Vacuum” improves the sensitivity of the vagus nerve – the main nerve of the parasympathetic system. This is useful for improving digestion, and for the cardiorespiratory system, and even for strengthening the immune system.

Who should not do the exercise “vacuum” for the abdomen

Ksenia Shatskaya believes that a “vacuum” of any kind should not be performed under the following conditions:

  • malignant formations of any localization;
  • acute inflammatory processes of any etiology;
  • pregnancy;
  • menstruation;
  • AV block.

How to perform the exercise “vacuum” from fitness

Stand up, straighten your back, slightly tilt your pelvis. Inhale deeply, then completely exhale the air and draw in the stomach as much as possible, trying to bring the navel closer to the spine.

Hold this position for as long as you can, then exhale, rest a little and repeat 2-4 more times.

Do the movement every day with or without other ab exercises. For example, in the morning before breakfast.

How to do the exercise “vacuum” from yoga

This option is more difficult to master, because here you need to learn how to control the respiratory muscles well. It’s best to start in Fisherman’s Pose, which will make it easier to exhale completely.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees slightly, lean forward with a straight back and rest your palms on your hips just above your knees.

Exhale all the air, slightly bending your elbows and leaning forward. Then, while holding your breath, push your stomach towards your sacrum while simultaneously extending your elbows, lifting your ribs, and expanding your chest as if you were breathing in.

When performed correctly, the stomach will be strongly drawn inward, and the lower ribs will become clearly visible.

Hold this position for a few seconds. Then relax, take a few calm breaths and exhales and repeat 2-3 more times.

In the future, you can perform the “vacuum” without tilting – just standing straight, as well as sitting or on all fours.

As for the duration and frequency, Ksenia Shatskaya advises doing the exercise regularly, but not staying in the position for a long time.

Xenia Shatskaya

Yoga therapist.

It makes no sense to hold static for more than 20 seconds – the muscles will get tired and intracranial pressure may increase. It is more useful to do a “vacuum” regularly, every morning before the toilet. 1-4 sets will improve local abdominal and general circulation and help the intestines empty.

Most importantly, move on an empty stomach. This is a prerequisite for a comfortable and safe practice.