Vacuuming is an old school technique that is known to shrink your waist! This exercise trains the transverse abdominis or ‘TVA’ to strengthen. The TVA is a muscle that acts like a weight belt around the midsection- it runs across midsection from left to right. The more you practice this exercises, the stronger your transverse abdominis will become, the smaller your waist can get and more control you will have during your posing. Keeping an extremely small tight waist is very important as a competitor guy or girl in any division. This will add strength and control during your poses and the more you practice this exercises the easier it will be to have core control on stage. I recommend doing 10 sets 3-4x per week right when you wake up on an empty stomach for 30-60 sec each set.
There are 4 ways to do this exercise and each get harder. As your TVA gets stronger you can progress and move towards the next step which will show you are progressing in this area. Here is what you need to know..
1. You cant narrow the width of the hips but you can control the width from the front to back.
2. The TVA runs left to right around the midsection creating a “suction” when you contract it will act as if you are wearing a weight belt.
3. The TVA prevents back pain and helps with posture once you strengthen this muscle.
4. To train the TVA you will start with the supine vacuum (lying on back) then progress to the other 3 - quadruped vacuum, seated vacuum and then functional variations.
THE 4 VARIATIONS EXPLAINED BELOW SUPINE VACUUM
1. This position starts by lying on your back with your hips are flexed up and knees are bent with feet flat on the ground.2. Start by exhaling all your air out slowly- this will raise your diaphragm and allow for maximum contraction of the TVA. If you do this on an empty stomach it will be much easier.
3. Pull your navel in as close to your spine as possible. You will feel a suction pulling your belly button inward towards your spine. The more your navels draw in the more the TVA is contracting.
Once you are able to do 5 one minute supine holds you can move to the next variation.
This variation you are working against gravity so this is why it is harder than supine.
1. Begin in the position on all fours with hands and knees. Shoulders will be vertical over your elbows and wrists with hips over knees.2. The same execution is applied to this as the supine version. You will slowly excel all your air then suck in pulling navel towards spine. Once you are able to do 3 of these for 1 minute each you should move towards the next variation.
This variation is tough because you are stabilizing the other spinal muscles during this position.
1. You want to be seated on a sturdy surface but with nothing to lean against.2. You will repeat the same as other variations you will notice it will be harder to hold so start with 15-30 second intervals and work your way up to one minute. You can breath during these but keeping the navel sucked in towards the spine.
Here you are standing or seated while hands behind head and flexing or opening up lats.
1. Making it to this point you are still doing the exact same movement - exhale and brining the belly button towards the spine but being able to breathe and open lats. If you can stand, open lats and bring the navel to the spine you have got this DOWN! Your TVA will be much stronger and it will become second nature.
Ashlyn Brown, IFBB Bikini Pro