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Monday Move: The Vacuum

This one simple move can make such a difference in your core strength and appearance of your stomach after having kids!  Learning to properly engage your core is integral in all exercise and everyday life.  Unlike vacuuming your house only to have gold fish crumbs strewn moments later, the results from performing this vacuum are long lasting.
This move certainly isn’t new. Weight lifters have been using the vacuum for decades to tighten and shrink their waistline. That’s fine and well, but it is also a very practical movement for strengthening your core. Learning to engage your inner most “corset abs”…aka the transverse abdominis …is integral in healing your #postpartum ab separation. Knowing how to engage your abs when you lift weights, children, laundry…anything…is like the cryponite to a shitty, dysfunctional core, a bad back, and stress incontinence.  

Here are a couple cues to remember as you learn this movement:
inhale and fill belly with air
exhale and draw belly button to spine.
I like to think of my belly button as a pin popping a balloon and releasing the air.
draw pelvic floor in and up
Weird cue, but it worked for me: I pretend I am drinking a smoothie through a straw in my vagina (“she’s weird.” You’re right–I totally am!)
Things NOT to do:
??you are not pushing like a poop
??you should not be straining so that you can’t talk
practice this as you drive, watch television, and do it until it becomes second nature.
This should be one of the first abdominal exercises taught to new #moms after #pregnancy. Our culture doesn’t teach proper postpartum recovery and it chaps me.

This move won’t solve the twin skin issue, but has made a difference in my “mommy tummy”–bigly.

4 Comment

  1. Karen Kanak says: Reply

    okay, so I’m not exactly a new Mom, my youngest is 19! But I totally loved you blog and the whole visual concept in abs and more exercises. Never too old to learn new tricks!

    1. My site is for ALL moms. I’m so glad you found my site. It is absolutely never too late to learn better exercise mechanics. I was an athlete all my life and didn’t know how to use my core or breath until after having my twins. I’m still learning. Thanks for commenting. It is very motivating for me to keep on educating!

  2. Juliette says: Reply

    Hi Ashley,
    First thank you for your blog which is awesome.
    I am a little bit confused with this vacuum stuff : I can read on your blog and on MuTu posts that it is NOT sucking in or holding our breath. But when I am looking on youtube, a lot of videos explain that first you inhale, then you exhale all your air, and then hold your breath, and go on with a “false inhalation” (since you have held your breath) so that your belly is sucked in… In France a famous doctor Bernadette de Gasquet calls it “false thoracic inhalation” and promote it to be done right after birth.
    Could you explain me the difference please ? Is it a wrong exercice up to you?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Juliette. Thanks for reaching out. A pelvic floor physical therapist is the best resources for helping ensure hands-on that you are breathing with core/pelvic floor engagement, but here is my sense of it. You should inhale and fill your abdomen with air (make it more poochy), exhale and engage the transverse abdominis and pelvic floor. This is a muscle and should not impact your ability to breath. You aren’t contracting the rectus (the six-pack) or pushing (like a bowel movement–although you shouldn’t push in this either…I digress). Once you do the “big breath” or filling your air in your tummy and exhaling and drawing your core in and pelvic floor up, you breath normally. Now, if you are lifting something, you would want to inhale and fill belly with air, and exhale to brace core as you stand. Does this make sense? Am I confusing you more? IF you’d like to connect, we could talk and I could try to help. 520-243-9984.

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