Best Ab Exercise: Vacuum Twists

Abs: The holy grail of being “fit,” right?! What if I told you that you could, in fact, have the abs of your dreams and NEVER have to do another sit up ever again?! I live and swear by this ONE move that I do daily to trim my waist, tighten my muscles, and let that six pack show! The absolute best part is this move is body weight only (no equipment needed!), and anyone can do it!

Vacuum Twists 101

This move helps strengthen and work the deepest ab muscles we have—the transverse abdominis, and it can also improve your posture. It’s the perfect move for moms who have experienced diastasis recti, and it’s even the perfect move for people who aren’t moms because it’s just that dang effective.

Click here for the full abs after baby program →

Abdominal Anatomy

The core muscles you see on top are the rectus abdominis, and these are the muscles we think we need to work! They’re the reason why we do sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, etc. They’re the bricks on top! Build the bricks, right? The obliques are on our sides, and we work these by doing side crunches, twists, etc.

What most people don’t realize, though, is that there are muscles underneath these two groups: the transverse abdominis! They’re the muscles responsible for pulling our ab muscles together, keeping our core tight, improving our posture, and helping reduce back pain. And truthfully, guys, for as important as they are, they’re the most neglected muscle group in our core.

How to Do Vacuum Twists

  • Stand up, good posture, and inhale.
  • Exhale all the air out, and at the bottom of the exhale, draw in. This is NOT sucking in. The goal is to draw in from the bottom up—use those lower muscles that tend to pooch after we’ve had babies. Act like there’s a string attached to your belly button that is pulling in and up toward your spine.
  • Arms up—hold that same squeezing position!
  • Twist from side to side. Then exhale.
Need to close the gap?

Get 100% FREE ACCESS to this at-home Diastasis Recti self-check some of my favorite tummy-taming ab exercises.

The goal: Do as many as possible! Shoot for 10, with your goal to be increasing over time. I currently do this three times each day, every single day. It’s part of my routine: before I get in the shower, before I go to bed…it’s just part of my day! Do I go through periods where I don’t do them? Sure! But I can tell you—I see a difference when I do them versus when I don’t do them religiously!

I get videos, photos, and questions ALL THE TIME from people doing vacuum twists, and one of the most common questions I get is when people draw in, they say their pelvis rotates under. That’s probably normal for you, but just try to elongate your core and have good posture and try really hard to keep your full body straight and your posture tight, and that will help with proper form!

Another question I get is if this is a good move to do while pregnant. I wouldn’t. Wait until after you have that beautiful baby. While you’re pregnant, you don’t have the muscle capacity to do it correctly, and you could actually develop a pooch if you have a baby underneath those muscles you’re trying to develop because they’re going to develop out instead of in. After you give birth, check with your healthcare team before starting any new exercises—including vacuum twists. I’m just here as your friend to show you what works for me and give you advice. The serious stuff needs to come from the pros!

This miracle move has seriously changed my life. Even the act of just drawing in has so many benefits for our build and our bodies, so if doing these twists seems like too much, too soon, just practice the habit of drawing in! It’ll improve your posture, your lifting or work out form, and your abs. If you’ve tried this move, drop a comment below and tell me if you’ve noticed a difference. I can’t wait to see more before and after photos of how this amazing move changed your life!

And guys…I’m so beyond excited to share My Abs After Baby-Closing the Gap program, 100% FREE! Check it out here.


Related reading:

How Do I Know If I Have Diastasis Recti? || An At-Home Self Check
Abs After Baby || Talking Diastasis Recti, Baby Bulge, and Postpartum Depression
C-Section Solutions: How to Eliminate the Pooch and Reduce the “Tummy Shelf”
Life Hacks: 5 Flat Belly Secrets Revealed!

10 Responses

  1. OMG that’s supposed to say I’ve been doing this movement for a couple of days. And I’m having some back pain and soreness. Is this normal? Or should I modify or change the way I’m doing it

    1. Hi Debbie: Make sure you’re doing the motion slowly and methodically to not cause further irritation and to make sure your form is correct. If you’re doing the movements too quickly or pushing your range of motion, that could cause issues. You’ll do fewer twists this way, but this should help with your form. Once your back is feeling better, you can increase the movement motion. You might also want to chat with your healthcare team about these exercises and your back pain/soreness to make sure there isn’t any underlying issues going on.

  2. I love your energy. Can I lay on the floor to do vacuum twists? I am able to draw in better that way. If I started on the floor I could build up to the others ways. Thank you.

    1. Hi Carolyn: It’s more difficult to the full twist on the floor, so we’d recommend you do them while standing. You can always practice drawing in on the floor. Hope that helps!

  3. In hooked! These are the best things ever. Thank you with all my heart, Heidi. I already feel tighter, after three days, 4 sets of 20 per day. Life changing!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing! You look amazing! Is it just one set of 10, 3 times a day or do you recommend trying several sets 3 times a day?

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