The stomach vacuum, an exercise with a thousand and one benefits

The stomach vacuum, an exercise with a thousand and one benefits

So what is the stomach vacuum? You've maybe heard of this breathing method, which is also known as "abdominal hollowing". Often held up as an effort- and pain-free way of getting a flat stomach and thin waist, it's an exercise that has a lot of unexpected benefits. We look into the simple mechanics behind an exercise with an intriguing name.

A different way of putting your abs to the test The stomach vacuum is an exercise that's also known as "abdominal hollowing". It's a breathing technique that works the deepest abdominal muscles. As well as giving you a flatter stomach, it's also good for your organs, circulation and even your back.

How and when should you do it? Who should do the stomach vacuum and why should you try it out? What are the potential dangers and problems involved in doing it?
Here's a little guide to getting your stomach in shape.

What is the stomach vacuum?

As its name suggests, the stomach vacuum is an exercise that strengthens the abdominal wall. Unlike "classic" exercises such as the chest raise, which are designed to work the rectus abdominis (the famous six pack), the vacuum tends to work the transverse muscles. The transverse muscles are the deepest layer of ab muscles. They're what give you a flat stomach. Finding out how to use them is very worthwhile The stomach vacuum is just one of several hypopressive exercises, which place no pressure on the perineum, that can be performed simply through breathing.

It is a gentle but effective method, though you do need to know how to do it correctly.

How and when to do it?

The number one benefit of the stomach vacuum is that you don't need any sportswear or equipment for it. You can do it anywhere.
Advice for beginners:
lie down on your back with knees bent and with your feet flat on the floor and hip width apart.
Your arms should be extended beside your body.
Breathe in by slightly, inflating your stomach as you go, and then engage the perineum (hold back from going to the bathroom).
Then breathe out through your mouth while keeping the perineum contracted.
Once you've finished breathing out, hold your nose, close your mouth and take in a "false breath", without taking any air into your body.
When you pull your stomach in, your navel will move closer to the spine and the stomach to the ribs.
Hold for a few seconds, then relax and breathe normally.
Repeat five to ten times.
For the exercise to be effective you should perform it a minimum of two to three times a week.
Once you've got the technique right, you can combine it with ab strength training exercises: obliques and rectus abdominis. A routine of six to eight minutes should be enough.

When you feel confident enough you can do the exercise sitting down or standing up. The most intense version of the stomach vacuum is performed on all fours because the more you engage the transverse, the more you have to fight against gravity.

You should do the stomach vacuum when fasting or long after a meal, as a full stomach can prevent you from performing the exercise correctly.

Stomach vacuum, an exercise with a thousand and one benefits

What are the benefits of the stomach vacuum?

Massage your organs. they'll thank you for it!

Stress, a sedentary lifestyle and food are just some of the factors that can cause the kind of digestive and stomach problems that the stomach vacuum can help you tackle. Also known as abdominal hollowing, it has a simple mechanical effect in working on your organs. "Our organs deserve to be kneaded and massaged a little bit," explains Hervé Perrigault, a masseur/physiotherapist.
"We're going to 'pump' the liver, the gallbladder and the spleen, which all respond well to hypopressive breathing."
This massaging aids the digestive process and helps the body absorb nutrients better. It'll make your stomach as fit as a fiddle.

No more heaviness in your legs

While results can vary a lot from person to person, the stomach vacuum can really get blood pumping around your body, especially in your legs. We're working on the area of the small pelvis and the arteries and veins there. The massage effect can activate venous return and improve blood circulation. So it's goodbye to feeling heavy legged and hello lighter legs.
Try doing the stomach vacuum flat on your back with your legs raised slightly to make it even more effective.

No pressure on the perineum

An essential hypopressive abs exercise, the stomach vacuum is a great way to protect the pelvic floor. It strengthens the abdominal wall while relieving pressure on the perineum. Unlike a classic chest raise, which shortens the rectus abdominis, thus exerting pressure on perineal area, the stomach vacuum involves stretching and maintaining a position, which prevents pressure being put on the perineum. "The stomach vacuum is a subtle technique focused on one of the less obtrusive muscles in the abdomen, while the crunch is a wide-ranging and powerful exercise that works the showier muscles, " adds Hervé.
It's a different (and, it has to be said, not very instinctive) way of working the stomach muscles. It does, however, allow you to get to grips with this deep area of the body. Don't worry. You'll soon get the hang of it.

A flatter stomach and a slimmer body

Abdominal hollowing involves inverting the mechanics of the diaphragm, which, instead of descending and resting on the organs, lifts up and "sucks" the organs in.(Don't worry. It's all good!) Instead of taking up space horizontally, the lifted organs take up less space and the transverse is contracted even more. In other words, the stomach is hollowed out and sucked in.

"It's a way of using our belly much more than when we work it with more classic exercises, such as crunches. It's much easier to engage the transversus and it will show more, " explains Hervé. He adds: "Doing this type of contraction will enable the development of a motor pattern. It allows people to add a layer of knowledge, control and consciousness in the body and that's really interesting. "

As a result, you'll be more aware of your deep abdominal muscles and you'll be able to use them better. Your body's toned and your waistline has slimmed down. But be warned! This is no miracle method. Working on your transversus will have no effect whatsoever on that little layer of fat you might have over your abs. That's a battle that you pretty much have to win on the plate.

The stomach vacuum, an exercise with a thousand and one benefits

An effective tool against backache

 While the stomach vacuum doesn't have any direct impact on a bad back, it is an exercise that will help straighten and extend it and the muscles we call the erector spinae muscles, which help you stand straight). Here's Hervé again: "It's a game changer for anyone with a little bit of toning in their abdominal wall. Taking care of your stomach also means taking care of your back, and that's because the transversus abdominis is attached to it. If you can control your transversus, it's going to help you control your back."

Do athletes do the stomach vacuum?

The stomach vacuum is an exercise used in a range of sports. For example, bodybuilders do it when they're posing to show off their muscles and make themselves look slimmer. The vacuum is also used by freedivers. The technique's pumping effect aids their blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to their body.
Yoga also makes use of abdominal hollowing with the nauli kriya exercise. The aim here is to stimulate the agni or "digestive fire" to help the body absorb nutrients," explains yoga instructor Estelle Hitte.

The potential dangers and problems of the stomach vacuum

The stomach vacuum is a gentle, low-intensity exercise that people of all ages, or nearly all ages, can perform.
Here are a few useful tips about how to do it.If you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure), an aneurysm (a bulging blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall) or a lung condition, then abdominal hollowing is good for you. That's also the case if you have a pathology relating to your abdominal wall, such as a inguinal hernia, or if you've just undergone a abdominal or perineal surgical procedure. (unless otherwise instructed by a health care provider). If in doubt, seek the advice of your doctor.

Pregnant women can also do the stomach vacuum in the first two months of their pregnancy. From the third month they should do it with less intensity or stop doing it altogether. They should nevertheless seek the advice of a doctor before playing any sport.

You now know all you need to know about the stomach vacuum. You'll feel the benefits of a few minutes of exercise a day. To tone up your stomach even more and make it even healthier, add an abdominal strengthening exercise to your routine and eat a balanced diet.

The stomach vacuum, an exercise with a thousand and one benefits

Juliette gunther

Journalist, sports coach and fitness writer

A journalist and former classical dancer, I love pilates and stretching. I'm naturally inquisitive, so discovering new activities is second nature to me. My motto: Be kind and keep pushing yourself.

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