Stomach vacuuming? No need to worry, it does not involve taking a vacuum cleaner and sticking it to your abdomen. The only thing you will get there is an abdomen free of belly button lint!
This is actually a highly effective exercise for getting rid of belly fat. It works on the transverse abdominals, the innermost abdominal muscle at both sides of and below the better-known six-pack. This muscle group is “a significant component of the core”, according to the Wikipedia page dedicated to the muscle. In his younger bodybuilding days, Arnold Schwarzenneger has been pictured doing the stomach vacuum.
Piqued your interest, have we? Here is the stomach vacuum exercise explained.
The “Stomach Vacuum” exercise is “the easiest way to shrink your waist and melt belly fat”. Here’s how to do it:
We highly recommended that you do this without eating or drinking anything for at least an hour. After a deep five-second inhale, you bring your belly button inside towards your spinal column exhaling as you go. You hold that in for a count to between three and five, before letting go of it and breathing in again as normal. It is possible to do it standing, on all fours or lying down tummy up. You can control this particular workout by either intensity (how hard you pull in the belly button), by a range of motion (how far the belly button is pulled in), or by duration (how many pull-ins you do per set and how long each pull in lasts).
When you do the exercise, it does feel like an actual vacuum with the big exhale and hold. You may do this in conjunction with lifting objects, lifting your arms above your head, sitting down, or on its own, although the exercise by itself is the only one that is not disputed.
What else do we know about the ‘stomach vacuum’?
In yoga, it goes by the name of “Uddiyana Bandha” (UB) or abdominal lock. Authors mention UB in three important yogic texts: Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita, and the Siva Samhita. It is said that it activates the Manipura Chakra, situated behind the belly button. It is also the centre of vitality, controlling the energy balance to heal and maintain health and, being in the position it is in, plays an important role in the function of the pancreas and digestive organs.
Blockages of this chakra could result in diabetes, blood pressure fluctuations, digestive complaints, and circulatory conditions. When energy from this chakra flows in a free manner, it will always supply the body with vitality and good health. Activating this chakra is not only the gateway to a smaller waist, but it also gives the yogi qualities like clarity, self-confidence, wisdom, knowledge, and more.
In simpler form, this practice helps to counteract a big belly by releasing the physical distress caused by the stated possible ailments and replaces them with a body that runs like clockwork healthwise. And, it strengthens the innermost abdominals. It also gives psychological benefits, along with a feelgood factor that was not as present or even unheard of in the past.
Think of it like squeezing an orange. You squeeze out all of the impurities with the help of this simple exercise. Thus, the orange, now lacking its juice, is more svelte because of the squeezing – just like your body.
Therefore, if it is good enough for the bodybuilders and the yogis among us, why shouldn’t we all suck in that gut?