Stomach vacuums are a great way to promote a smaller and firmer midsection. But some
trainees will get the misconception that I am suggesting that it promotes SPOT
REDUCTION to the stomach. This simply isn’t the case no matter how I want it to be
so. Let me explain that further.
First off, what is spot reduction? Okay, let’s review: Spot reduction is the myth
that states that the fat around the body part which you have trained will be trimmed
off. For example bench presses will let you lose fat around the chest area, or that
squats will let you lose your fat deposits around the thighs, or that sit-ups will
help you lose your fat in your abdominal area.
That is only HALF true. YES those exercises will indeed let you lose fat but NOT
just around the area of affected muscle groups – because the reality is that
exercising especially lifting or resistance training, when done correctly will
indeed increase your body’s fat burning because it will use your stored lipids to
fuel the exercise itself in the repair and strengthening of your body as an
adaptation in response to the applied stress (Eustress – good stress) by the workout
that you just executed which should have been scientifically designed to achieve the
end result that you desire.
Like what we mentioned in our old article, fat loss occurs in a whole body level. It
doesn’t occur locally and yes spot reduction is a plain old myth.
Stomach vacuums for those who don’t know – is the secret of many great old
bodybuilders and athletes for having stronger and flatter midsection. You do vacuums
by sucking in your stomach for several seconds and holding it in, like what you do
when you are trying to hide a huge belly. It sounds simple and easy but in fact it
is very tiring and demanding since it doesn’t just work your rectus abdominal area
(the abs) like your sit-ups but it works the entire sheet of muscle that covers your
entire midsection like a huge belt – although a corset would better fit our simile
on that respect.
I shared this to one of my buddies, Arturo who is an avid lifter himself. I was
going about the benefits of this move and I told him that this is the reason why
Arnold, Olivia and all the guys from the 80s had better midsections than today’s
But to my surprise he responded that it could not be true because he also knew that
spot reduction is a myth. There I have seen an error in the way I present vacuums.
There I realized that it appears as though I am promoting the validity of spot
reduction when I am not.
And here is what I have explained to him:
Yes, vacuums will not cause the fat around your belly to burn out simply because it
affects literally the ENTIRE midsection. But the thing with vacuums is that the more
belly fat you have, the more challenging it is and thus more calories are spent. I
had once assisted a middle aged patron of one of the gyms I go to who is being
coached by a complete amateur and when I taught him how to do vacuums, he said that
it is even more demanding than all of those random workouts that he has been doing
all this time and that it even beats doing all those damn cardio since it got his
heart racing. This man has a huge belly so to speak. After that we had a little
educational chat and he asked for About Lifting’s url. I hope he’s doing fine right
now since I haven’t been to Brando’s in a long time.
Firmer Midsection Muscles:
Vacuums work your entire transverse abdominals which is
the huge sheet of muscle that encircles your midsection like a belt – power liters
call this the biological belt. Thus vacuums will condition literally your entire
midsection AND when you condition your midsection, no doubt it becomes a lot firmer.
Thus it will more effectively keep a slimmer and flatter appearance.
Like what we said above, vacuums will be like putting on a very
tight corset on a regular basis. Have you seen women of the old days? They all wore
corsets, which is like wearing lifting belts only they are ten times tighter and
they wear them every second of the day (except when they sleep or get naked):
From Wikipedia: By wearing a tightly-laced corset for extended periods, known as
tightlacing, men and women can learn to tolerate extreme waist constriction and
eventually reduce their natural waist size. Though petite women are often able to
get down to a smaller waist in absolute numbers, women with more “fluff” are
typically to reduce their waists by a larger percentage. Many tightlacers dream of
waists that are 16 inches (41 cm) and 17 inches (43 cm). Some went
so far that they could only breathe with the top part of their lungs. This caused
the bottom part of their lungs to fill with mucus. Symptoms of this include a slight
but persistent cough, as well as heavy breathing, causing a heaving appearance of
the bosom. Until 1998, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Ethel Granger as
having the smallest waist on record at 13 inches (33 cm). After 1998, the category
changed to “smallest waist on a living person” and Cathie Jung took the title with a
waist measuring 15 inches (38 cm). Other women, such as Polaire, also have achieved
such reductions (14 inches (36 cm) in her case). However, these are extreme cases.
Corsets were and are still usually designed for support, with freedom of body
movement an important consideration in their design.
Thus we show that adaptation to waist tightening includes anatomical changes in the
midsection. That is why we saw those women of the old having waists like COCA COLAs,
while them bitches these days are land whales! The government really got to make
corset use a FUNDAMENTAL REQUIREMENT to all ladies; that not wearing one should be
In the case of the classic bodybuilders, their small waists are attributed not to
corsets but to vacuums. Those days the vacuum pose was mandatory in bodybuilding
competitions so every bodybuilder knew this and thus they regularly practice stomach
We recommend that one does vacuums for 100 seconds a day – and yes one can splitFollow @AboutLifting
these 100 seconds with respect to their own capacity, for example you do 30 seconds
now, then you get exhausted then the rest either you do later or at another time of
the day like when taking a dump for example. BTW the contractions you do when you
defecate don’t count, okay? As your tolerance increases you will be able to do 100
seconds in one go.
Check this photo out, there is no doubt that Eiferman’s waists look better (left
side) than the modern bodybuilder on the right side:
And sad to say that today’s bodybuilders have even less body fat percentage than
their forefathers. Most competitors today would enter having only around 2-5% body
fat and yet they exhibit bulging bellies. This is the effect of neglect of the
transverse abdominals direct training and GH abuse and misuse. 70s bodybuilders were
also huge but their cycles were monitored by their physicians thus they only take
what is needed and their drugs were legit since they weren’t from the black market
because back then steroids were legal. And notice that they look 100 times better
than our bodybuilders today.
General fat loss effect:
The thing about general fat loss which is the reality of
things (not local fat loss like what spot reduction implies); is that you tend to
lose fat in any given body part at the same rate that it stores fat there in the
Thus if you tend to get fatter first in the belly (which is the case for most of us)
thus when your body commences to burn fat, you will notice that your belly is also
the place where you burn fat the most.
That doesn’t mean that your body burns fat from area to area, but it only means that
if for example 60 percent of your subcutaneous fats are being stored around the
waist – this is significant, thus when you get slimmer, you will notice that your
belly will lose a lot of flab not because you are “targeting” it but it just
contains much of your fat stores to begin with.
Thus the fat burning effect caused by doing vacuums (together with regular lifting
off course – preferably), together with the waist compression anatomical effect –
AKA the CORSET EFFECT, and the waist line muscle tightening and conditioning:
vacuums will indeed lead to a slimmer and flatter midsection without needing the
help of spot reduction. Eat your eggs AND do your vacuums, people! Train hard!