T Nation

Ab Vaccuum


has any one ever tried training the abdominal vaccuum?....i know its mostly used for reducing waist size....but does it have any caryover for powerlifting movements??


seriously, can you imagine a 300 pound man doing this? It just seems gay to me...why dont you just do front squat holds instead, as stormthebeach suggests? :slight_smile:


seems to go against the traditional powerlifting thought of pushing your abs out vs. in


the worlds leading spinal biomechanists have shown that pushing your abs out or in is bad for spinal stability and health. you want to contract your core as if preparing for a strike to that region.

unless of course you are wearing a lifting belt. then pushing them out increases intraabdominal pressure which is good for max lifts.


I think that's what he was originally getting at.



thanks CS yes it was what I was getting at. If no belt is involved I would agree it's pretty much instinctual to puff your chest and flex your abs hard before, say, deadlifting or moving furniture



Are we talking about the bodybuilding pose?

Or am I missing something?


of course it is a bodybuilding pose but so contracting your triceps doesnt mean that it is strictly bodybuilding

  1. There's nothing wrong with pushing your abs out against a tight belt under s load
    2 . Paul Chek can be very silly at times.
  2. There ate other useful ab exercises for powerlifters . Planks. Side planks. Suitcase deadlifts. Side bends . Hanging leg raises with legs bent or straight.

Practicing a vacuum is next to useless. You want to learn how to isometrically contract your core by "thickening" your waist, not narrowing it. I like to think I'm making my shoulders and hips coming closer together . It isn't literal, but the thought helps me stay tight.

A thicker column supports more than a thinner column using the same material of course .


wtf are you talking about?

Doing a bodybuilding pose over and over is going to be very ineffectual for getting stronger abdominal muscles.





lulwut.jpg this is like asking if the most muscular pose has carryover to your bench


You do not want a little waist with a max squat on your back. The assholes who develop these ridiculous exercises don't even lift weights. It is a valid question though because there is about 50lbs of confusing fitness bullshit piled on top that you have to dig through to realize the real turd is the exerxcise itself.

These "drawing in" exercises do nothing for strength. I do believe in using every tool available for training as long as the implementation of it is planned out and make sense but, for God sakes, don't ever do these exercises.


all i said was that even though bodybuilders do the vacuum as a pose it doesnt neccesarly mean it wont have any cary over if you train the T.V.A


i still dont get it. are you talking about doing the vacuum poses for time/reps as an exercise or doing it while doing another exercise aka squats (which would be stoopid)


honestly, I cant even follow what you are asking.




He's talking about the transverse abdominis muscle that's deep to the rectus abdominis and the obliques and all that junk. People say you can train it by doing vacuum holds for time which is similar to the vacuum pose that used to be popular in bodybuilding.

It is also a similar concept to 'drawing in', a method that is touted by 'functional' strength coach Mike Boyle. He advises that weight trainers 'draw their stomachs into their spines' as a strengthening exercise for the abdominals that acts in place of more traditional crunches or sit-ups.

Is it useful? Maybe. Are there more useful things you can do with your time? Definitely.

/end S&C nerdiness


The abdominal drawing in exercises are not useless for the general population. However, for most weight training population I would agree with STB in that they don't need to worry about it as much as the general recommendation of filling your stomach with air, "prepare you abs" like you are about to get punched and push out against the belt will contract your transverse abdominis just fine.

However, you would be amazed at the amount of people in the general population who have no concept of how to contract their transverse abdominis which is a large part of why they get back pain. I see patients all the time in the physical therapy setting who really struggle with being taught how to gain lumbar stability through transverse abdominis contractions. This is where the abdominal "drawing-in" techniques are beneficial.

This is kind of off topic but since no one really knows what the OP is trying to say in the first place I figured I would keep this discussion going.


I definitely agree on what you and STB advise and I've always thought that 'preparing for a punch' is the logical way to create a tight core. I honestly haven't spent much time thinking about weight training from the general fitness perspective. Have you found any powerlifting specific exercises that carry over well to that field, or vice versa?

I think training the transverse abdominis would be useful for reducing anterior pelvic tilt by limiting distension of the belly but I don't see it having too much of a place in a powerlifting specific setting. Is that what you mean by 'gain lumbar stability'?

What's your opinion on heavy weighted sit-ups for core work as compared to things like 'olympic abs', roll-outs and other exercises that limit flexion of the spine? Most powerlifters I know personally train their abs with heavy sit-ups/crunches or don't train them at all.