Has anyone ever told you to tuck in your tummy, while standing? If yes, then you must continue to follow this neat trick. No, we aren’t joking. It really might help your tummy to get in shape, and guess what? It’s even got a name: stomach vacuuming.
This practice is considered to be one of the easiest ways to burn fat, and tighten your tummy muscles. Plus, there is no age bar. Yes, anyone and everyone can do it!
Basically, when you suck your stomach in and hold that position, the transverse muscles in your abdominal area get activated. FYI, they are the deepest ab muscles in your tummy, and they lie right beneath the oblique muscles. Even crunches are not as effective to fire them up!
This inner muscle helps in maintaining your posture, and can largely be targeted by controlled deep breathing. In fact, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, practicing stomach vacuuming can help to relieve severe back pain, improve posture, and can power up your overall workout regime. After all, your core provides you with strength and stability.
“In the art and science of yoga, having a stomach vacuum means that there is generation of heat within the body. This can be especially beneficial for people who are looking to lose weight. As the heat gets built up within the body, all the extra weight melts away, and this gives you a flat stomach. This is also considered beneficial for your stomach or gut health. It eliminates any kind of digestive disorders, and helps you maintain a smoothly functioning digestive system”, explained yoga expert, Grand Master Akshar.
There’s a way to do stomach vacuuming and this is how you can do it
Chill, we aren’t going to suck out all that’s there in your tummy. Instead, we will help you learn these isometric moves that largely include deep breathing. But you need to really focus on your stomach muscles to execute it.
Initially, you might not be able to hold the vacuum for really long, and that’s absolutely ok. You need to first start focusing on your breath, then on how much tummy sucking you can do, and lastly how long you can hold it for.
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“The breathing methodology involves inhalation through the nose, and exhalation through the mouth”, suggested Grand Master Akshar.
So, now let’s get started:
1. Stand straight and place your hands, either on your waist or your hips.
2. Now, exhale. You need to exhale in a way that feels like you’re emptying your lungs.
3. Now, suck in your stomach as much as possible, and hold. Remember the more you suck, the higher your chances are of hitting the transverse muscle.
4. Now, slowly relax your stomach and repeat.
Two exercises that you can do to ace stomach vacuuming
Cat-cow pose and kapalbhati are the simplest and the most basic stomach vacuuming exercises that you can begin with. In both the moves, try to maneuver your stomach in such a way that it hits the backbone (not literally).
Cat-cow pose, is a combo of two poses. When you go into the cat pose and hunch your back, that’s exactly when stomach vacuuming happens. Whereas when you move to a cow pose, you relax your muscles. This is a slow pose, and you can actually practice how to hold the vacuum.
If you see kapalbhati, then it is fast-paced. It’s like cardio for your tummy, using the vacuuming technique. In this case, you inhale and exhale rapidly, sucking in your stomach. This pose will help you warm up your transverse muscles, so that you feel less pain when you hold that position. This will also build your stamina, and provide more oxygen supply to your heart and lungs.
“You can also try standing poses to create a stomach vacuum. Many different kinds of poses such as Tadasana, Vrikshasana, Samasthiti, Ek Padasana, etc. can be performed. You can begin by holding the posture for 10 seconds and gradually increase it to 30 seconds. It is advisable that you do not exceed 10 sets in your practice”, he suggests.
Excited to start stomach vacuuming? Awesome, then practice these two exercises, and then try doing vacuum holds to charge your stomach muscles.