The internet is plastered with hundreds of different core exercises; some which are very effective and others… well they can just look impressive. But behind every core exercise is the foundation; the Transversus Abdominis (TA) . And if you don’t have that – then you are up for some serious challenges and potential risk for injury.
Contrary to popular belief, having a strong core is not the same as having a six-pack. As I explain in Core Part I – by definition core includes everything from your lower back to your abs to your deep abdominal wall, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor. The focus of this article will be on the Transversus Abdominis.
The transversus abdominis is the deepest of the abdominal muscles, it is an important core muscle and its primary function is to stabilize the lumbar spine and pelvis before movement of the lower and/or upper limbs occur
There are several ways to activate your TA muscle but the easiest position will be laying on your back because you can use the floor for feedback.
Easiest position will be laying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on floor. This way you can use the floor for feedback.
Place your fingers on the front of your pelvis, 1 inch in from the pelvic bones on both sides
There are several ways to activate your TA muscle since every individual will respond to different methods. Try a few of these and see which one works best for you:
- Imagine a line drawn across your abdominals from one hip bone to the other. In your head, make that line shorter, pulling the two hip bones closer together.
- Imagine that same line; without letting the pelvis move out of its neutral position, try to pull your stomach muscles slightly away from this imaginary line towards your spine (e.g. some yoga and pilates instructors refer to this as “ bellybutton towards your spine”.)
You should feel the muscles tighten gently underneath your fingers (not bulge up abruptly). Congratulations! Your are now activating your TA muscle. Hold, Relax, & Repeat!
Practice makes perfect; Remember this is the foundation! With every great core exercise, the TA should your first priority. Once you know what “engaging your core” feels like, you should make it a point to activate it before you do ANY exercise, whether it’s an abs move or not. Nothing truly works by itself, as everything in the body is connected in some way. A strong core leads to a strong body.
Stay tuned for Part 3 – The “best” core exercises.
If you’d like to learn how to perform core exercises properly. Please feel free to make an appointment with myself, Tamara Kowal, at 306-343-7776.