The V-Shaped Body never really went out of fashion, but lately more athletes seem to pay attention to the increasing trend of narrow waists and attempt to achieve that type of physique. While you cannot narrow the width of your hips because of the bone structure, you can train your transverse abdominis (TVA), and narrow the width from front-to-back.

The transverse abdominis or TVA, is across your midsection, there where you would generally put a weight belt (and it does naturally act like a weight belt). The TVA lies under the rectus abdominis and obliques and it's the deepest of the abdominal muscles. When it contracts, it increases intra-abdominal pressure and reinforces the spine. That's why it plays a key role in preventing back pain. It also protects and supports our internal organs.

Because of it being a deep muscle, it's not that easy to train and it is challenging to build strength in the TVA. While most athletes do train their TVA for aesthetic purposes, it does enhance core stability and strength, aids digestion and improves breathing.

The ancient Stomach Vacuum Exercise is used sometimes even unconsciously by people sucking in their tummies to fit in skinny jeans or to seem like they have tinier waists. However, it's a powerful isometric exercise and it requires intense control. It can be performed while lying, standing or seating, and it can also be performed dynamically, as part of a more complex exercise.


Supine Stomach Vacuum

Gravity will work in your favor for this exercise. Hold the vacuum for 20 seconds and aim for 60 seconds as you have more control over the technique. Do this exercise on an empty stomach for quicker results!

  • Lay on your back.
  • Exhale as much air as you can.
  • Pull your navel into your spine.
  • Hold this for 20 seconds.
  • Take small breaths.
  • Release and repeat!



Quadruped Stomach Vacuum

Do this exercise after you've mastered the Supine Stomach Vacuum to improve your results. This variations of the Vacuum will be a little more challenging, because you will be working against gravity.

  • Stand and all fours maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Exhale as much as you can.
  • Pull your navel into your spine.
  • Hold for 40 seconds.
  • Take small breaths.
  • Release and repeat!



Seated Stomach Vacuum

This exercise recruits spinal stabilizing muscles, and works against gravity as well, so it's a bit more challenging than the previous variations. You can perform this on a stable or unstable surface (such as a stability ball).

  • Sit on a stable (or unstable) surface and keep a neutral spine.
  • Exhale as much air as you possibly can.
  • Pull your navel into your spine.
  • Hold for up to 60 seconds.
  • Take small breaths.
  • Release and repeat!



Dynamic Stomach Vacuum

Now that you are able to perform the Vacuum, it's time to make it harder by incorporating it into your normal abdominal training. Just remember to vacuum every time your work out.

Side Plank

  • Lie on your side, place your forearm under your shoulder, perpendicular to your body. Place your leg on top of the lower leg and straighten your hips and knees.
  • Raise yourself upwards as you exhale and straighten your waist.
  • Pull your stomach in as you reach the top.
  • Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Return and repeat!

Torso Twist

  • Stand up or seat on a bench maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Place a light bar across your shoulders and hold it with your hands with a wider grip.
  • Exhale and pull your navel into your spine.
  • Actively twist the lowest part of your waist.
  • Return to starting position and repeat!

Vertical Leg-Hip Raise

  • Place a weight between your ankles if you want to.
  • Put your forearms on the parallel bars and hold the handles.
  • Exhale as you pull your navel into your spine.
  • Raise your legs by flexing your hips and knees until your hips are fully extended.
  • Raise your knees towards your shoulders by flexing your waist and raising your hips.
  • Return to starting position and repeat!



The Vacuum Exercise is great because it is so versatile. You can incorporate it in almost every exercise in your routine. It doesn’t have to be an ab workout for you to add it to your session. More importantly, you can do it when you are not even working out. You can do it when you are sitting with a friend, at work, lying on your bed, etc. It is a great TVA toner you can do literally do anywhere without people even noticing!

Contracting your TVA will support your organs, improve your posture, aid your breathing, and strengthen your entire core for enhanced athletic performances. It is an exercise that will help your control your breathing and your techniques in order to build more strength and endurance. So, pull your tummy in as much as you can! But always remember it is most efficient on an empty stomach.

Add it into your workout sessions and see how fast you can get maximum results! The Vacuum was the narrow waist trick of old school bodybuilders like Frank Zane and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so if it worked for them, it will mostly certainly do wonders for you! Did you try this exercise before? Let us know as soon as you get your desired waist!


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