What is the abdominal vacuum? What is it for?
The definition that best suits the purpose of this article regarding the abdominal vacuum, in a vision therefore of fitness and bodybuilding enthusiasts, is that of being after all a real aesthetic pose, which appeared already in shots of 1950 -1960 by Steve Reeves and depopulated in the “golden era” of bodybuilding. (used in some variants, partly heavy also in this article, as a real exercise for the deep muscles of the abdomen, in particular, the transversus).
It was a characteristic pose of the competitions of this discipline and often performed in photoshoots by the aesthetic athletes of the time. There are also other contexts in which the vacuum is used, which are outside of this article, however.
The goal of the abdominal vacuum is the execution of a pose that allows you to reduce the size of the waist for a few seconds and create an optical effect of “wide chest” and narrow waist that create a certain visual impact and allow you to show moreover (when fat mass is at low levels) the various muscles that superficially surround the rib cage.
The abdominal vacuum activates the core muscles and occurs in particular thanks to the deeper abdominal muscle transverse abdominis and internal obliques (in synergy with the other more superficial muscles of the core) and other accessory muscles of breathing (to better understand what muscles we are talking about I recommend reading this article.)
How is the abdominal vacuum done? Correct execution and breathing
The vacuum requires constant technique and practice to be able to do it for a sufficient time in pose and requires maximum control of the core and breathing, the goal must be aimed at being able to perform the vacuum standing.
The correct vacuum is performed:
- standing, with the hands generally positioned behind the head and shoulders down without closing (it can also be performed in other poses, for example in a double bicep, once we are able to perform and control it);
- column in a natural position with its physiological curves;
- the first phase of exhalation (very important, air must not be retained in the lungs, there must be as little of it as possible);
- the second phase holding the breath and closing the glottis;
- the third phase in which you contract the deep muscles of the abdomen while remaining in apnea (seeking a false inspiration);
- the consequent expansion of the rib cage, with the visual and perceptive impression that the abdomen is pressed against the spine and the expanding chest. The contraction of the superficial abdominal muscles should not be sought by performing a sort of standing crunch );
- a vacuum can generally last from 3 to 20 seconds, depending on the subject’s abilities.