TVA Exercises For A Strong Core

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Do you want to build a strong midsection?

Watch this video and I’ll take you through five key TVA exercises for your core.

Hi, it’s Ivana, online coach helping you get fit, healthy and strong.

Most of us want a strong, tight core. Not only does it make your stomach area look better, but it improves their posture and helps to prevent injuries, particularly of the lower back. Now the abdominals, the abs are in layers and the TVA.

The Transverse Abdominus

The transverse abdominis is the inner most layer, so the deep layer.

On top of that, you have your internal obliques and then you have your external obliques, and then right at the top you’ve got the rectus abdominis, which is the six pack muscle. The function of the TVA is to stabilize the lower back and the pelvis before movement of the arms or legs occurs, so you can see how it’s really important for protecting your lower back.

I’m going to show you five key TVA exercises to help strengthen your transversus abdominus.

Make sure you stick around until the end because I’m going to show you how you can integrate these exercises into your workout program.

Stomach Vacuum – TVA Exercises

The first exercise is the stomach vacuum and this is one of those old school bodybuilding exercises that even our himself used to do when he was preparing for competitions. So they use this to train the abdominals and then also to help them learn how to suck in their stomachs onstage. It’s actually a great way to train the TVA and to build that mind muscle connection with the TVA. So I’m going to show it to you from the side. All I’m going to do is suck in and then try to hold, it’s an isometric hold for 10 to 30 seconds. So I’m going to show you a fairly short one first. First I breathe in and breathe out.

You just try to hold that. Pretty much as long as you can. 30 seconds is what you’re aiming for.

After a while it becomes easier to be able to pull that TVA. Think about pulling your belly button in right towards your spine just as far as you can go and that helps strengthen the TVA.

TVA Side Knee Drops – TVA Exercises

You’re going to be lying on your back with your knees bent and then the first thing you want to do is flatten your lower back so that you can feel the TBA contracting as you start the exercise. This should help stabilize your pelvis, so you want to do that before you start moving the knees out to the side and keep in mind that you want to be coming down very slowly and then up very slowly and focusing on the TVA.

It’s not just about moving your leg up and down because that’s not going to get you the work that you want.

Very slowly maintain the stable pelvis, contract the TVA, and then do the movement so the knees from side to side.

TVA Seated Squeeze – TVA Exercises

You’re going to do this one with your back against the wall, legs crossed in front. And the important thing about this one is that you’re pulling back, you’re starting a position is actually pulling back all the way with your TVA. I think about your belly button pulling towards your spine. And then from that position you’re going to do a little pulses.

You’re breathing out and at that same time you’re pulling in. You do a little pull each time. So I’ll show you what happens here. So the starting position, I’m going to breathe in first and then breathe out.

As far as it feels like I can go, and now I’m going to continue to breathe out for 10. Then breathe in and relax.

Each time you’re pulling and tightening the TVA even further.

It actually teaches you how to contract your TVA quickly and very sharply. So that’s the TVA to squeeze.

TVA Dead Bugs – TVA Exercises

You’re going to do this on your back. And the first thing you’re gonna do is just bring the knees up and then the arms are going to go straight up as well. So that’s your starting position. Sometimes you’ll see people do this with a stability ball as well holding it. We’re just going to do this just to make it simple.

Now to start off your flat in your back and activating the TVA.

You’re squeezing very, very hard trying to activate that TVA and now you’re going to move your right arm and your left leg. It doesn’t have to be all the way out. It can just be a little bit of a movement. And then back in here, it’s actually kind of hard to talk.

That’s why I gotta pause there in between. In order to keep your back pressed down and your TVA activated, it takes a lot of effort. You could do up and down just movements like this. In order to actually work the TVA with this exercise, you need to do it very slow and very controlled.

Keep pulling in with your belly button towards the floor so you’re kind of drawing in and then slow movement and then back up. Then switching over and back up.

Dead Bug Variations

If this is too difficult for you, it’s totally fine. If you just want to move the arms first, keeping the squeeze and the contraction and the TVA moving the arms. You can also try us.

There’s an even simpler version if you just want to go one leg at a time, just a sore leg lowering exercise from here, but pressing flat with the back the whole time and very slowly. The key thing about dead books and variations of that exercise is that you want to stay really, really tight. You want to hold the pelvis stable.

Move very slowly in both directions, so out very slowly and then back in slowly as well.

TVA Squat Against The Wall – TVA Exercises

The next exercise is the TVA squad against the wall, so it’s a simple squat. All you’re doing is sliding down and then up against the wall, but at the same time you want to activate your TDA and be pulling in the whole time. You’ll find this is not as simple as it first sounds.

So I’m going to come up just a little bit away from the wall with my feet and I’m going to breathe in and breathe out,

Squeezing the TVA, pulling the belly button in towards the spine.

And then as I do that, I’m going to move down down into the squat position and back up the whole time, still squeezing, pulling the TVA, really tightening up.

Let me show you again.

From here you squeeze.

You might not think that looks very hard, but if you’re trying to activate your TVA and pull it in throughout the movement, you will find it very challenging. You’re going to work up to 10 reps of those. All of these exercises made sense for you.

If you have any questions, please just leave a comment and I will try to help you out.

Now, in order to incorporate these exercises into your routine, you have three options:

  1. You can do the whole routine that I’ve given you every other day
  2. Pick one of those exercises and do one exercise per day
  3. Pick two or three exercises and then do two or three exercises every day

You can do any combination you want, but I just want to give you a few suggestions that makes sense.

Hope you enjoyed these TVA exercises and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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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