Transverse Abdominis Exercises For The Core

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I’ve already done a few videos of TVA exercises.

And I’ve talked about the importance of the inner abdominal muscle.

In this video, I’m going to share five transverse abdominis exercises, which are all safe for diastasis recti, If you do them correctly.

And we’re going to use both methods of activating the transverse abdominis, both bracing, which is just tightening up your abs before the movement, and drawing in, which is pulling in with your muscles towards your spine.

Bridge Exercise

You’re going to start off on your back for a bridge. And the first thing you want to do is brace your abs first. So you’re just tightening them up, tensing them up and then lifting up back down.

It’s important to keep your abs braced so that you continue to activate your TVA throughout the movement.


Single Leg Bridge Exercise

Once the bridge becomes fairly easy for you, you can do this single leg.

One leg stays down and the other one just lifts above same thing, brace first with the abs.

Then don’t forget to switch legs.


Knee Hovers

Turning it over for me, hovers on your knees with your feet tucked under hands down. We’re going to use the drawing in aspect of TVA activation. You’re just going to pull your belly button in towards your spine first, so you can breathe out and do that. And then lift your knees up.

And then you come slowly down. So try to do 20 to 30 seconds for that one.


Dead Bugs

And on your back for dead bugs.

For this one, it’s really important that you pull in tight focus on the area inside your hip bones. If you press down on your hip bones and just about an inch in there, that’s where you should feel it.

Lift both knees up. I actually find this easier if you press your back flat in order to maintain that contraction. And then arms up, try to maintain that flat back as you move tightening the TVA.

If this is a bit challenging for you at the moment, you can do it just with your legs. Always maintain that TVA contraction pushing down, squeezing.

You can also keep your legs up and then just move the arms. Same thing, pushing it flat here. Get the TVA nice and tight.

Modified Stomach Vacuum For Transverse Abdominis

I’ve done a couple of videos demonstrating the stomach vacuum exercise.

And for this particular TVA exercise, it’s actually a modified stomach vacuum.

It’s not as intense as the one where you’re pulling up and you can see the ribs underneath. It’s a lot more gentle.

You release the belly out and then you’re going to pull it in towards the spine, focusing on this lower part here, underneath the belly button between the hip bones.
Hold it for about 20 to 30 seconds.

Don’t worry too much about the breathing. Just make sure that you’re pulling in your TVA towards the spine.

Knee Lift & Out

One of the functions of the transversus abdominis is that it stabilizes the pelvis when you’re doing lifts. So that could be either your limbs lifting or even things like squats and deadlifts. You’re going to be activating the TVA to stabilize when you’re doing those actions.

Now for this exercise, we’re just gonna tighten up, trying to stabilize and then lift the knee up and then you can move it a bit to the side. And then back and then bring the leg down. So this takes a little bit of stability.

Lift out and back and take it all the way down.

You want to do this on both sides and you can do 10 reps on each side. So a little bit to the side, hold really focusing on that same area, and then drop it down. Lift back and down. So you’re going to feel it in the abs and the TVA area there. And underneath just tightening up as you go to do this movement.

Breathing During Transverse Abdominis Exercises

Don’t worry too much about the breathing. I get a lot of questions about the breathing, particularly in relation to the stomach vacuum.

The main thing is that you’re able to hold the contraction. So don’t worry so much about the breath.

Let me know in the comments, which of these exercises you find are best for activating your TVA.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 6-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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