How To Contract Your Transversus Abdominis Muscles And The Importance Of Doing So

If you want powerful abs, you need to workout all of the core muscles, not just your abdominal muscles. Many individuals forget about or are unaware of a deeper abdominal muscle known as the transversus abdominis. While most people are familiar with their rectus abdominis, often known as the “six pack” abs, many people forget about or are oblivious of the transversus abdominis. In here we are going to do  an in-depth analysis of the anatomy and function of the transversus abdominis muscle exercises, as well as a list of the advantages of exercising this muscle and five efficient exercises that target it.

If you want to have a strong core, lower the amount of back discomfort you experience, and make day-to-day tasks easier for you, then strengthening this muscle is essential.

In spite of the fact that it is so important, many abdominal exercises fail to adequately engage the transversus abdominis muscle and instead concentrate their attention on the other abdominal muscles. Therefore, it is possible to generate well-rounded core strength by studying workouts that will target and build this muscle specifically.

Transversus Abdominis Muscle Exercises - powerful abs

What Exactly Is Meant By The Term “Transversus Abdominis”?

The layer of abdominal muscle that is the deepest is called the transversus abdominis, which is also sometimes called the transverse abdominis. It is located below the internal and external obliques, as well as the rectus abdominis, and it extends from the costal cartilage of the lower ribs (ribs 7–12) all the way down to the pelvis.

In a manner analogous to that of a corset, the transversus abdominis muscle wraps itself around your abdomen in a transverse, or horizontal, orientation, as its name suggests. In point of fact, the transversus abdominis muscle is sometimes referred to as the “corset” muscle of the body.

It is the only abdominal muscle in which the muscle fibers travel in a direction that is neither vertical nor horizontal, making it unique among abdominal muscles.

When we move about in our daily lives, the transversus abdominis muscle has an important job to do: it protects and stabilizes the spine. Your transversus abdominis muscle will be engaged by activities as varied as walking about the house and spiking a volleyball.

In addition to this, it assists in the upkeep of normal abdominal wall tension and the elevation of intra-abdominal pressure, both of which assist in the support of internal organs and viscera as well as the assistance of expulsive forces, such as forced expiration, the later stages of childbirth, urination, and defecation.

Having a strong transversus abdominis can help protect your spine and the muscles that surround it from damage. This is because the transversus abdominis is involved in virtually every movement.

What Are The Advantages Of Improving One’s Ability To Contract One’s Transversus Abdominis Muscle?

There are a lot of reasons why you should work on strengthening your transversus abdominis.

According to Marcy Crouch, PT, DPT, WCS, originator of the DT technique and a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor disorders, there are many benefits to strengthening the transversus abdominis.

Because it is one of the primary stabilizers of the core, a strong and well-functioning transversus abdominis muscle is one of the factors that contributes to optimal spine support. It has also been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing back discomfort, improving the function of the pelvic floor, and assisting with posture.

Could Ease Soreness In The Lower Back.

When you have a strong core, it is much easier and safer to execute the workouts and activities of daily life. In addition to this, it offers the lumbar spine dynamic stabilization, which simply refers to stabilization when the spine is in motion.

A number of the abdominal muscles, including the transversus abdominis, the multifidus, the muscles of the pelvic floor, the rectus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques, are involved in the process of supporting the lower spine.

In particular, understanding how to appropriately activate the transverse abdominis leads in a co-contraction with the multifidus muscle in your back during movement. This co-contraction may help relieve back discomfort since your spine is better supported in this position.

Numerous research utilizing training regimens that strengthen the transversus abdominis and other core muscles have shown this to be the case.

Core strengthening may be beneficial for some people with lower back pain; however, some researchers argue that it should not be used as a universal treatment, and that higher quality research studies are still required. Despite the fact that these findings are promising, some researchers argue that core strengthening should not be used as a treatment for everyone.

In addition, certain groups of people, such as women who are pregnant, people who suffer from chronic back pain, or those who have a hernia, may not be good candidates for core strengthening programs. Before beginning a new fitness routine, you should always consult with your primary care physician or another healthcare professional.

Lower Risk Of Injury

Transversus Abdominis Muscle Exercises - Lower Risk Of Injury

When doing demanding compound movements, such as a deadlift or squat, having a robust core that includes the transversus abdominis can assist in providing back support and protection.

In addition, becoming proficient at bracing your core during lifting actions (for example, picking up a large box off the floor) assists in the stabilization of your spine and prevents it from shifting in a manner that could result in a back injury.

Could Help Provide The Appearance Of A Smaller Waist.

The transversus abdominis muscle, often known as the corset muscle, can be strengthened to provide the appearance of a reduced waist.

This muscle creates a “cinching” effect on the waist by wrapping itself around the abdominal region like a corset.

Even though there isn’t a lot of data available on this subject, there are a lot of anecdotal accounts — particularly from the bodybuilding and physique business — that swear by the efficiency of training the transversus abdominis.

Having said that, the transversus abdominis is located below the rectus abdominis and is not the muscle that gives the illusion of having a “six pack.” In addition, having visible abs is mostly dependent on having a low body fat percentage, which may not be healthy for some people and may not even be attainable for them.

How Do You Start Contracting The Muscle In Your Transversus Abdominis?

Practice is required, but learning how to activate the transversus abdominis will make a significant improvement to the effectiveness of your core exercises.

Crouch asserts that there are several distinct schools of thinking in relation to this topic. Exhaling, drawing in the lower abs, engaging the muscles of the pelvic floor, and visualizing the lower abs being rigid and constricted are the steps that I take to teach this exercise.

If you touch the inside of your hip bones, you will be able to feel the transversus abdominis contract and pop into your fingers.

However, the “navel to spine” signal should be approached with caution, according to Crouch. “This cue is widely used and can be of use, but in addition to working with the breath, pelvic floor muscles, and other core musculature, the transversus abdominis needs to be engaged.”

Crouch explains, “It’s not a movement of’sucking in,’ and I think a lot of people attempt to engage it that way, but it’s not true.” Crouch believes that a lot of people try to engage it in that manner.

Because it is a deep muscle in your abdominal region, your transversus abdominis is more difficult to identify and contract than your other abdominal muscles. Therefore, getting the hang of properly engaging it may require some experience.

You can become more comfortable with your transversus abdominis by practicing the abdominal drawing-in movement (ADIM), which is also known as “stomach vacuuming” or “stomach hollowing.” Here’s how the maneuver is performed:

  1. First, you should get down on the floor and bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Put two fingers on the top of your hip bones to get a feel for where they are. After that, slide each one of them an inch (2.54 cm) inward while also moving them down an inch (2.54 cm).
  3. ake a steady, deep breath in with your nose, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, pull in your lower abs and activate the muscles that make up your pelvic floor. You should feel the transversus abdominis muscle in your abdominal region contracting when you do this.
  4. Maintain your usual breathing while you draw your belly button in toward your spine. Make an effort to maintain this position for at least ten seconds.

You will be able to extend the time limit as you continue to get better. When you practice this technique, it will become easier for you to appropriately engage your core when performing other activities.

Activities That Will Help You Build Strength In Your Transversus Abdominis.

Although it is difficult to target the transversus abdominis on its own, there are a number of exercises that can help you engage it and the abdominal muscles that surround it, which will help you create a strong core.

According to Crouch, “It is a crucial muscle and has to be incorporated in general core training.”

“Because the transversus abdominis is a ‘corset’ muscle, when it contracts, it pulls inward rather than stretching your trunk forward or bending your spine like you would do in a crunch,”

The majority of the exercises that target the transversus abdominis are known as stability exercises. These exercises demand you to keep your body in a particular position for a given amount of time, and they may also involve moving the extremities in a slow and controlled manner.

After you have mastered the abdominal draw-in motion, you will want to try some of these exercises to develop your transversus abdominis. These exercises will help you build your core.

1. Hollow Body Hold.

The hollow body hold is an excellent workout that puts your abdominal strength to the test and focuses on working your transversus abdominis.

  1. Lay down on the floor with your arms extended in a straight line above your head and your legs pressed together.
  2. Lift your legs around 12–18 inches (30–46 cm) off the ground while keeping your core engaged and your legs together. Point your toes and keep your legs together.
  3. Raise your shoulders off of the ground gradually until your lower back and hips are the only areas of your body that are still in contact with the floor. To avoid putting unnecessary strain on your neck, maintain a neutral position with your chin just slightly tucked in.
  4. Maintain this pose for fifteen to thirty seconds, or for as long as you are able to keep your form correct while engaging your core.

A good guide to follow to ensure that you are performing an exercise with correct form is to imagine that your body is shaped like a banana.

2. Dead Bug.

Transversus Abdominis Muscle Exercises - Dead Bug

The dead bug exercise is fantastic for those who have trouble maintaining their balance and is also helpful for those who want to strengthen their core.

  1. Position yourself so that you are lying on your back with your arms raised toward the ceiling and your legs bent into a tabletop position (knees bent at a 90-degree angle and shins parallel to the ground).
  2. Straighten your left leg so that your toes point outward and lower your right arm so that it is parallel to the floor and reaches behind your head. Keep your core engaged throughout this movement. Keep your arms and legs at a distance of around 6 inches (15 cm) from the ground at all times. Do not let one of them touch the ground.
  3. Your next move will be to switch sides, so bring your arm and leg back to the beginning position.
  4. Perform this movement for another thirty to sixty seconds, or for as long as you can keep the correct form.

3. Toe Taps.

One of the most common Pilates exercises that works your core is the toe tap.

  1. Position yourself so that you are laying on your back with your arms by your sides and your knees bent into a tabletop position (knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your shins parallel to the ground).
  2. Exhale as you bend your left knee and descend your left toes to tap the group. Keep your right knee bent. Check that your abdominal muscles are activated and that your spine is stable while you move your leg. Be careful not to arch your back as you lower your foot into the squat position.
  3. Take a deep breath in and bring your left foot back to the beginning position.
  4. Perform the same movement with your right leg.
  5. Keep alternating sides for the next thirty to sixty seconds.

4. Bird-Dog.

When you move your arms and legs, you work the muscle group known as the transversus abdominis. The bird-dog exercise engages your deep core by requiring you to elevate the arm and leg that are opposite of each other while keeping your balance.

  1. Beginning in a position where you are on all fours with your knees aligned with your hips and your shoulders aligned with your hands is the starting position for this exercise. Check that your neck is in a neutral position and that your back is completely flat.
  2. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back, keeping your right arm and left leg on the ground for support. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back.
  3. Maintain this position for two to three seconds, making sure to keep your core engaged the entire time. Then switch between the two sides.
  4. Perform this action 8–12 more times.

5. Plank.

Transversus Abdominis Muscle Exercises - Plank

The plank is an excellent exercise for developing general core strength and stability. Maintain a concentration on contracting your abdominal muscles as you move through this exercise.

  1. You should begin in a pushup stance with your elbows and forearms by your sides, and your palms should be facing down.
  2. Raise your torso off the ground while pressing your hands into the ground and pulling your hands away. Your body should have the appearance of someone who is performing a pushup in the upward position. Check that your hands and shoulders are in line with one another, that your legs are straight, that your feet are about hip-width apart, and that you have your core engaged.
  3. Maintain the correct form and keep your core engaged for as long as you can while holding this posture. The longer you can hold it, the better.

The Conclusion

It is a muscle that wraps around your abdomen and is responsible for supporting and maintaining your spine. It is also referred to as the “corset” muscle.

It’s possible that having a strong transversus abdominis will help you feel less pain in your lower back, protect you from injury, and even provide the appearance of having a smaller waist.

When you are working out the transversus abdominis muscle, it is important to remember to pull your lower abdomen in against your spine and focus on your breathing. The contraction of this muscle will grow less difficult as time goes on.

When you are doing an exercise that requires you to engage your core, it is important that you do not forget to engage your transversus abdominis.

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