Chris Bumstead is intent on making the “vacuum” cool again. The 24-year-old Canadian—who finished second at the 2017 and 2018 Olympia Men’s Classic Physique contests—recently posted a YouTube tutorial on how to practice the iconic pose, made famous by legendary three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. Here, Bumstead shares some advice for using the vacuum to achieve pinpoint control over your core onstage and off, along with four other tips for a lean and mean middle.
1 TRAIN THE TRANSVERSE.
“Everyone focuses on ab moves that hit the visible rectus abdominis, the six-pack muscle. But they skip the transverse abdominis, or TVA, which is the deepest layer of abdominal muscles. The TVA helps stabilize your core in almost all body movements. A few great exercises that target the TVA include ab rollouts, dead bugs, vacuums [more on those next], and planks.”
2 SUCK IT IN.
“Performing a vacuum pose, where you pull your stomach and abdominals in as far as you can, is a great tool for training the TVA and helps give the illusion of a smaller waist onstage. Doing vacuums as part of your exercise regimen won’t make your waist physically smaller, but what it does is give you better muscle control and endurance to keep your stomach tight and pulled in. To do it, exhale all your air, suck in your belly button toward your spine, tense your core, and hold that as long as possible.&rdq