One Simple Ab Exercise You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime - Even in a Room Full of People

by Suzanne Hiscock

Usually, when you think about ab exercises, you picture yourself on the floor, grunting through a variety of grueling crunches. Hardly something you’d do anywhere, anytime — and definitely not something you’d do in a room full of people outside of the gym, right?

But there’s one ab exercise you can do while grocery shopping, giving a presentation at work, sitting on the bus, walking down the street — really, anywhere, anytime.

The Vacuum

This do-anywhere ab exercise is a variation of what’s called the ‘Vacuum.’ This exercise works one of your deep core muscles called the transversus abdominis. The transversus abdominis is an ab muscle that runs horizontally from your sides to your front. Think of it as a wide belt or cummerbund that holds in your abdomen. This muscle helps stabilize the lower part of the spine and the pelvic area. It plays an important role when you do other ab exercises. And don’t we all want a little bit of help when doing ab exercises?

How to Do It

While standing or sitting up straight, gently draw your navel in towards your spine, as if you want to make your belly button and spine touch. It’s extremely important that you keep breathing normally while you do this. People tend to “suck in their gut” and hold their breath when doing this exercise. Don’t hold your breath.

Try it now. Can you feel the muscle contracting? Are you breathing normally while doing it?

Make a Game of It

One of my favorite ways to do this exercise is while walking. I make a game of it by picking out a spot a bit further ahead of me — say, a lamppost or a mail box. I gently pull my belly button in towards my spine and see if I can hold the contraction until I reach the spot I picked out. Again, it’s important to keep breathing while you’re doing this.

And I’m not kidding about “anytime, anywhere”. You can do this simple ab exercise while:

  • Cooking
  • Washing dishes
  • On the bus
  • Driving your car
  • Stuck in traffic
  • In a meeting
  • At a party
  • Sitting at your desk
  • Talking on the phone
  • Watching TV
  • Surfing the net

Do It: Pick a few times during the day where you can do this exercise. Make it a point to work your transversus abdominis throughout the day.

Add It to Your Workout

You can also add the Vacuum to your regular workouts.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Exhale. Draw your belly button in and up towards your spine, slightly rounding your lower back.
  3. Continue to breath normally while holding the move. Release.

You can also do the Vacuum while standing up. You can even do it while…vacuuming!

This is one exercise where there’s really no excuse not to do it. It’s easy to do, you won’t get sweaty and you can do it anytime, anywhere. It’ll help support your lower back and help with other ab exercises.

Where will you do it? Let me know in the comments section down below!

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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN L2 Certified Master Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 20 years, she's been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website,

And she’s really TRULY SORRY ABOUT THAT. You see, she didn’t realize she was contributing to diet culture; she just wanted to help people feel better. But losing weight isn’t the way to do it. She’s on a mission to change all that with an anti-diet approach. So, pardon the dust on the floor as the website gets revamped.