How To Train Your Transverse Abdominals and Strengthen Your Core For A Flat Tummy!
Here are some practical tips on how to connect to the ever so challenging lower abdominal muscles.
We will refer to them as your TA …or more specifically, your transverse abdominals!
What is the Transverse Abdominal?
The Transverse abdominals are our deepest abdominal muscles and act as a corset stabilizing our spine and making our lower belly narrow and flat. Yay!
They also connect to our diaphragm aiding our lungs and making our breath more powerful.
A “Real Life” Example Of What Your Transverse Abdominals Feel Like.
Imagine you have a pair of drawstring pants you are tying on. Your two frontal hip bones should feel as if they are drawing toward one another and your waist should feel as if it is narrowing.
Next, imagine you are trying to zip the fly on some really tight skinny jeans and you have to “suck it all in” so to speak. (Not that you’ve ever had to do that of course….) You should feel that everything from your pubic bone to your navel is sucking in and up.
So What’s The Big Deal?
It is difficult to train the TA alone as it often gets “bullied” by the other more easily accessed abdominal muscles.
This result is overtraining the other abdominal muscles and a bulky lower belly pooch instead of the sleek lower abs we actually want. Very frustrating indeed!
If you’ve ever seen a bodybuilder with overdeveloped abs that stick out, you know what I’m talking about. A lower belly pooch is often the result of an overtrained rectus abdominal (the most superficial abdominal muscle) and an under-trained transverse abdominal.
A Reminder – Why Is The TA So Vital For Women In Particular?
The TA is particularly important to cultivate for women who have had children. The Transverse Abdominal muscles are directly connected to the pelvic floor muscles.
Strengthening them not only gives you back your pre-baby body but prevents embarrassing accidents as well. If you have ever laughed so hard a little pee came out you know exactly what I am talking about.
A Simple Excercise to Find and Engage the Transverse Abdominals
Place your hands on your hips and gently press your fingers into your abdominals and give a polite “ahem” cough like you are trying to get someones attention. You should feel a deep smooth muscle engage underneath your fingertips. That my friend is your Transverse Abdominals!
Engage Your TA All Day Every Day for Strong Adominals!
So now that you know how to engage your TA, use your “ahem” cough to engage your transverse abdominals whenever and wherever you like. Over time you will be able to engage without the help of your cough. In fact you don’t even need to make a sound as you “cough” it’s more about just bringing your awareness to that area of your body. Over time it will just become automatic.
Every once in a while double-check with your fingers to make sure that you are engaging correctly. You will know you aren’t doing it right if you feel your lower abs bulge out.
I think if the “Most Interesting Man In The World” (The Dos Equis Beer Commercial Guy) were to explain all of this he would say “I don’t always cough, but when I do I make sure to engage my transverse abdominals. Stay strong my friends!”
- How To Do “Breath of Fire” For Sexy Abs and Body Detox (kukhahnyoga.com)
- Core Conditioning for Knee Pain (part 2) (exerciserehabfix.com)
- How to do an Abdominal Brace for Core Activation (donmillermassage.wordpress.com)
- Abs (igoyougoblog.com)