Look Like Frank Zane With These 5 Brutal Vacuum Exercises

These 5 Vacuum Exercises Will Help Shape a Classic Physique

The above quote is a catch-phrase from Mighty Mouse, a 1940’s cartoon that still has an impact to this day. The iconic character is a small mouse with big powers and an even bigger heart who… well, saves the day. So why are we writing about this on a bodybuilding site? Just as iconic as the cartoon itself, is the way Mighty Mouse was drawn, his hip to waist ratio was out of this world.

Much like many cartoon strongmen and super heroes, the over exaggerated massive chest and V-taper was truly inspiring to the concept of “mass muscle.” I remember thinking as a kid, “Can anyone have a body like that?” As builders we’re constantly striving for perfection in areas most people don’t even see. Well, we’re here to tell you that you can have that mighty mouse profile and we’ll show you how.

We know what you’re thinking, “How could I possibly have a waist like that? That’s stuff’s all genetics, I can’t change my bone structure.” Well you’re right. Barring some very painful and probably expensive surgeries you’re stuck with the hip length you have. However, it is possible to customize your workout towards attaining a more classic physique as well as getting you the classic V-shape back of a Golden Era God.

The transverse muscle (TVA) is a band like muscle that runs along the sides of your midsection.  It’s there to stabilize your spine and core, nature’s weightlifting belt if you will. Without a stable spine, one aided by proper contraction of the TVA, the nervous system fails to recruit the muscles in the extremities efficiently, and functional movements cannot be properly performed. The TVA and lumbar multifidus support posture and control deep breathing during power movements therefore affecting a persons cardio as well as symmetry.

Cool. Now that you know what it is how can you train it? Well, we thought that you’d never ask. Here’s the key points in learning how to vacuum your stomach.


  1. Stand upright and place your hands on a desk (or elevated flat surface, hip height is ideal)
  2. knees slightly bent with back humped slightly (placing weight on desk
  3. Place your chin on your chest.
  4. Deeply inhale and exhale sharply.
  5. As you exhale, expand your chest and bring your stomach in as far as possible. Hold  the pose but Do Not Hold Your Breath!

On your back

  1. Lie on your back. For example while in a tanning bed or other firm surface.
  2. Reach your arms over your head and keep your legs flat and straight.
  3. Begin by exhaling your air.
  4. Lift your chest and arch your back.
  5. Draw in your stomach for seconds at a time.
  6. Continue to try and hold your stomach in for longer and longer periods of time.


  1. Begin on all fours with your shoulders vertical over your elbows and wrists, hips over your knees, and your neck in a neutral position.
  2. Exhale,  then  pull your navel in as close to your spine as possible.

Weighted Dumbbell pullovers

  1. Lie on upper back perpendicular to bench.
  2. Flex hips slightly.
  3. Grasp one dumbbell from behind or from side with both hands under inner plate of dumbbell.
  4. Position dumbbell over chest with elbows slightly bent.
  5. (Keeping elbows slightly bent throughout movement) lower dumbbell over and beyond head until upper arms are in-line with torso.
  6. Pull dumbbell up and over chest. Repeat.

Pull down crunch

This one’s simple. Have a seat on a pull down machine and perform your best vacuum pose. Hold it while at the same time reaching up and grabbing the pull down bar. Keep your arms straight up and use your breath to slightly pull the power up and down on your inhales and exhales. Still not getting it? Check out the instructional video above.

So now that we’ve given you the building blocks to perfecting your V-shape is there anything we left out? Do you have exercises that you use to keep your symmetry on point? Let us know in the comment section below. Feel Free to respond with a picture message if you see any massive changes due to these exercises.

Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.