Vacuum Pose in Bodybuilding [Guide, History, Fame]

vacuum pose bodybuilding

The vacuum pose has been one of the essentials in bodybuilding since the beginning of the sport.

Competitors have used it for decades to create an impressive physique and showcase their muscles.

This article will go in-depth on how to do the vacuum pose, the history and fame of the vacuum pose, and some of the top bodybuilders who have mastered it.

Let’s jump right in!

Vacuum Pose Examples

The vacuum pose ruled the bodybuilding competition stages in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The vacuum pose is named because the bodybuilder will suck in their stomach like a Vacuum to show off the abdominals and the front of the upper body.

This creates quite the impressive look and is one of the many reasons this pose is mandatory in today’s sport.

Here is some beautiful inspiration for the vacuum pose seen around the world and performed by some of the best in bodybuilding:

vacuum pose examples

How to Vacuum Pose Step-by-Step

Let’s go over how to execute the vacuum pose flawlessly now that you know the correct posture.

Here are a few methods, suggestions, and adjustments you may use to make your pose stand out.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do the vacuum pose like an expert:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet should width apart

  2. Let out all of the air in your body slowly until there is absolutely none left in your body.
  3. Now you will pull in the air but block it from filling your lungs. This can take practice but is what give you the vacuum look.
  4. Keep your pelvis and spine tight. This will really show off your v-taper and look great in competition.
  5. Practice. Practice. Practice. This pose does not come naturally to most and will take some repeated training and vacuum exercises to get it right.

Planks and roll-outs are great exercises to work your transverse abdominis, which help you hit a better vacuum pose


Video: Vacuum Pose

The best approach to grasping a pose is to witness it in action. This pose is no different, and the mind-muscle connection needed to properly execute this pose can take some work and example.

Here is a great vacuum pose tutorial video that covers all of the tips discussed in this article:

Bodybuilder’s Famous for Vacuum Posing

Now that we know how to do the vacuum pose and what it looks like, let’s go over some of the most famous vacuum posers in all bodybuilding.

This list features iconic athletes who have made this pose their own and brought it to life on stage.

The pose has been around for decades means there are some really incredible vacuum pose photos and videos throughout history.

Some of these athletes may have even inspired you to start vacuum posing first!

Ronnie Coleman – The vacuum pose is a Ronnie Coleman signature pose. This eight-time Mr. Olympia winner definitely brought the vacuum to new heights and made it his own on stage.

You can see how confident he looks in the vacuum pose and how it makes his physique stand out.

Jay Cutler – Jay Cutler is another vacuum pose master and four-time Mr. Olympia winner.

He has some of the best symmetry in the sport, and his vacuum poses always looked incredible on stage.

Phil Heath – Last but not least, we have Phil Heath. This seven-time Mr. Olympia winner definitely knows how to work a vacuum pose and make it look easy.

He has vacuum posed his way to the top of the Olympia stage while showing off a v-taper not seen before on stage.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – We would be remiss to not mention Arnold Schwarzenegger in an article about vacuum posing.

He is a vacuum pose pioneer and has some of the most iconic photos and videos doing this pose. Pound for pound, Arnold could beat out nearly every competitor when it came down to the pose.

Working on your Poses for your next bodybuilding competition? Check out our other instructional articles for bodybuilder poses:

You can also check out our bodybuilding poses ultimate guide.

Muscles Targeted

Now that we know all there is to know about vacuum posing let’s go over which muscles this pose actually works.

vacuum pose muscle groups

You may be surprised by how many muscle groups are utilized in this one pose.

The vacuum pose is a fantastic way to really work and show off your transverse abdominis and your v-taper physique.

The vacuum pose will show off the following muscle groups:

Transverse abdominis – The transverse abdominis is a muscle group that helps to stabilize the spine and pelvis.

It runs along the sides of the abdomen, from the lower ribs to the pelvic floor. The transverse abdominis is often called the “corset muscle” because it helps to hold in the stomach and give the torso a slim appearance.

This muscle group is also vital for good posture and avoiding back pain. To strengthen the transverse abdominis, try doing exercises such as planks, side bends, and sit-ups. These exercises will help to tone your stomach and improve your overall strength and stability.

Abdominals – The abdominal muscle group comprises four muscles: the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, the internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis.

The rectus abdominis is the large muscle that extends along the front of the abdomen and is responsible for flexing the spine.

The external obliques are located on the sides of the abdomen and help to rotate and flex the spine.

The internal obliques are located beneath the external obliques and also help to rotate and flex the spine.

The transverse abdominis is a deep muscle that runs horizontally across the abdomen and helps to stabilize the spine.

Together, these muscles work to support the spine and trunk and produce movements such as bending, twisting, and side-to-side movement.

This pose is a great way to work on your vacuum and show off all the fantastic progress you have made in the gym.

This guide went over how to do the vacuum pose, some history, and famous bodybuilders perform it and even included a vacuum pose tutorial video.

The vacuum pose is not easy to execute, but you will have it down in no time with practice. Just keep your form in check and really focus on that mind-muscle connection.

Once you have the vacuum pose down, show it off on stage with pride!

If you know any tricks for obtaining the perfect vacuumed v-taper, please let us know in the comments below.

Matt Mahony
Latest posts by Matt Mahony (see all)

Matt Mahony

Matt Mahony has been a personal trainer for over a decade, helping people from all walks of life get in shape and stay healthy. He is originally from Portland, ME but now resides in Colorado. A self-proclaimed "gym rat," Matt loves nothing more than spending time in the weight room or on the basketball court.

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