This is one of those hidden abdominal workout secrets that have been passed down from fitness legends of the past such as Frank Zane and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many bodybuilders in their time knew and used often this tip and many other tips for a flatter stomach. The tip I want to focus on today that I have seen a lot of success with is using “stomach vacuums”. Stomach vacuums are very effective when coupled with your weekly ab routine at the end of your training session.
Too often we focus on doing countless ab workouts and exercises when we don’t exactly understand which part of the stomach we are actually working. Yes some of the workouts are a little more noticeable than others as to what section of the midsection we are working. By doing lying or hanging, pulling your legs up toward your chest it pretty easy to tell that this triggers the lower abdominal regions. Other more typical exercises such as the standard ab crunch or sit ups clearly works more of the upper part of the abdominal.
The rectus abdominis or “six pack” area is what most people tend to focus on every time they workout their abs. SECRET: Not too many people are aware that there are other ab muscles on the “inner” abdominal wall called the transversus abdominus. These inner abdominals are just as important to train as the outer abdominals and are essential to workout if you want a leaner more shredded abdomen.
WHAT DO YOU GET FROM DOING STOMACH VACUUMS? By doing stomach vacuums you are targeting you inner transversus abdominis stomach muscles. This will allow you to keep a tighter more flat stomach even when you are not flexing. Also by building the transversus abdominis you will improve your posture, ease back pain, and become more explosive and powerful in all your core workouts. Since I started to do stomach vacuums I have definitely seen and felt a noticeable difference. I could visually see my waistline getting smaller. When I was on stage I could hold my abs tight and smile for days it felt like haha, while others were shaking from not being used to flexing their abs for long periods of time. And mostly because they lacked proper muscle development of their inner abdominal muscles.
The term stomach vacuum comes from the motion of “sucking” in your stomach and holding it in for a desired amount of time. As you do this focus on keeping those inner abdominal muscles tight. This is called an isometric contraction. So here is what you do…
Video Representation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2f0dMtXeR8
1.) Relax, stand up tall and straight puffing your chest out.
2.) Exhale all of your air from your lungs.
3.) Suck your stomach in inhaling air as far as you possible can. Try and visualize yourself sucking your belly button in all the way to your lower back, then contract the transversus abdominis muscles as hard as you can. Try to breathe normally at this time.
4.) Hold this contraction “stomach vacuum” for 20-30 seconds then exhale the remaining air. Do this for 3 to 4 sets every time you train your abs and your waistline will get smaller and tighter.
Bonus When your transversus abdominis gets stronger you can intensify the exercise by increasing to 40-60 second holds. Advanced Routine: 12 sets of 10-20 reps, each rep can last from 5-10 seconds at a time. In those 5-10 seconds you should be contracting and squeezing your transversus abdominis muscles so intensely that 5-10 seconds is all you can handle. Exhale. Then immediately perform the next 5-10 second rep until you reach a total of 10-20 reps. That equal 1 set. Do as many set as you feel comfortable with.
- Plank Exercise Tips and Techniques (exercise.answers.com)
- Fit Tip Friday: Transverse Abdomi-What?? (happylifehealthylife.wordpress.com)
- Getting Fit to the Core With the Ab Glider (exercise.answers.com)
- Pilates Basics: Five Moves for a Flat Stomach (pilates.answers.com)
- 3 Secrets to A Flat Stomach (weightlossprogram111.wordpress.com)
- Performing Proper Vertical Leg Crunches (exercise.answers.com)
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