How to Flatten Your Gut

Posted April 13, 2010 in Fitness Tips 12 Comments »
Swole Fitness Tips

Pot BellyDo you see these people walking around all day long, who appear not to be that fat, but whose bellies stick out like they are preggo? This happens because their internal abdominal muscles are weak and loose. Don’t let this happen to you.

The best way to flatten your belly is to work your invisible abdominal muscles. The transverse abdominis lies beneath your rectus abdominus; the rectus abdominus of course being the muscle that most people refer to as “the six-pack”.

When you suck in your stomach and your waist appears to be flatter, the muscle responsible for this is indeed the transverse abdominis. The good news is that the transverse abdominis can be trained with exercise.

Frank Zane Vacuum

The old time famous bodybuilder Frank Zane perfected a move called the Vacuum, and you should too. To do the Vacuum, suck your belly button in towards your spine. Hold that position for 20 seconds, but for crying out loud, please breathe normally. I don’t want anyone telling the paramedics that Project Swole made you pass out.

Repeat the Vacuum 5 times. Do this workout several times a day every day. In due time you will train your transverse abdominis to stay contracted, perpetually sucking in your stomach and making it appear as though you have a flat belly.

The Vacuum won’t do a whole heck of a lot to develop your 6 pack, but it really works for flattening your gut.

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12 Responses to “How to Flatten Your Gut”

  1. Well, that could easiliy have been me in the pictures. I was reading another site that ranks highlighy for “should i suck in my gut” and it says sucking your gut in can harm your diaphram and lead to spinal support issues. They claim to be breathing experts. I’m going to try the Vacuum. It sure feels a lot better than sitting and letting it hang out. Is there any value to keeping those muslces tense for longer periods of time? Like say while working? I find its improving my posture which is supported by one of those obusforme backrest with lumbar support, on a kitchen chair no less. I find it very comfortable, but how long should i hold it in?


    • You can do vacuum exercises all day long while you are working, riding in the car, eating lunch, etc… It will all pay off in the long run. I don’t know much about what these breathing experts have to say, but I don’t believe keeping your abs tense all day long will hurt your diaphram or spine. It might be a good idea not to always just do the vacuum. If you make your torso flat, straight, and long, and blow out all the air in your lungs and belly, you will feel your abs tense up. This is basically how bodybuilders flex their abs on stage. Do this exercise in addition to the vacuum to work your abs all day long.

  2. How much of ‘pregnant’ look the guy in the photo has to do with fat content versus the traverse ab? In other words how much can you really gain from doing vacuums (not that I saying doing vacuums is bad)?

    • You can gain a lot from doing vacuums. Having a strong transverse abdominis is important for having a stable core and a tight six pack. Everyone should do vacuum exercises whenever they think about it, for abdominal and core stability benefits alone. That being said, the guy in the picture clearly has a fat belly, but you can tell his transversus abs are loose and weak.

    • You can do it after lifting, or in the morning if you lift at night / in the night if you lift in the morning, or you can do it on a separate day. Whatever fits your schedule. And it’s HIIT. HIT is a weightlifting program developed by Mike Mentzer that most people think doesn’t work that well.

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