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See the "Scary" Abs Exercise Video That's Going Mega-Viral

One fitness model flashed her "stomach vacuuming" skills to TikTok and it's all anyone can talk about.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Several years ago, a workout trend known as "stomach vacuuming" started to gain attention and make the rounds on social media. In short, the move is quite simple: To do the stomach vacuum, you are required to suck in your stomach as hard as you can—up and back toward your spine—by inhaling deeply.

Proponents of the move said it's an easy and effective way to work your abs and core. After all, the same muscles you activate when you vacuum your stomach are the very same muscles that help your body with important things such as posture and stability. In a 2015 article, Cosmo noted that "crunches are so 2000—especially now that everyone is stomach vacuuming." The more pressing question was whether or not it actually works.

During the heights of the stomach-vacuuming craze, Mark Crabtree, C.S.C.S., told Women's Health that it's a fairly weak core exercise—and not as good as traditional exercises. "On its own, it isn't enough stimulus to burn calories, shed fat, or build muscle," he told the magazine.

Another exercise and nutrition expert, Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., said that it's a great move to supplement your existing routine with. "Stomach vacuuming can absolutely tone your stomach because it targets your transverse abdominis, a muscle deep inside your abdominal wall that can be hard to engage with typical core exercises," she explained to WH. "[However,] If you're doing it to get rid of your pooch, you have to combine it with a healthy diet and other types of physical activity."

Related: The Best Workouts for Flatter Abs to Try Now, Say Exercise Experts

On the whole, experts seem to agree that it's a minor movement that can help you tone but shouldn't necessarily be the cornerstone of your fitness regimen.

Fast forward to 2021, and a fitness model and influencer named Noelle Leyva has revealed that she may in fact be the world's most effective stomach vacuumer.

On Tuesday, she posted a video flashing her stomach vacuuming skills on TikTok. Suffice it to say, the #FitTok masses responded, and the video went mega-viral, with nearly 2.5 million views so far. She also posted the video to Instagram.

@noelle.leyvaLMAO♬ original sound – Noelle

"Ok, I'm going to show you guys something," she tells a group of male friends. "Let me know what you guys think."

She then performs a stomach vacuum so deep that the men literally gasp. One of them even places his hand underneath her rib cage, showing just how far in she can suck her stomach.

"I think that she doesn't have a liver," says one commenter.

"Where did her organs go?" asks another.

"That's lowkey kinda scary," notes another.

Now, remember that this move isn't exactly a life-changing for your body, and it won't help you melt fat, build muscle, and lose pounds. But if you already work out hard and eat a proper diet, it can help you carve your midsection. In fact, it's a move that professional bodybuilders have used for decades.

If you'd actually like to try it and do it correctly, it's important that stand upright, relax, and perform the move after you've exhaled all of the air out of your lungs. Consider it a bonus that you hold the exercise, and you'll be training your breath, as well. According to the folks at bodybuilding.com, you can effectively add it to your routine by performing just 3 sets per week, increasing the length of your hold from 20 seconds to a full minute as you progress.

But if you'd like some core exercises that are likely way more effective for you, see here for The Single Best Abs Exercise You Can Do, Says Science.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more
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