TVA Exercises To Prevent Back Pain

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Hi guys, welcome to my channel.

If you want to prevent back pain training the TVA, the transverse abdominis is really important in this video.

I’m going to show you five TVA exercises to help protect you from back pain.

Hi, it’s Ivana. I’m an Online Fitness Coach and a certified strength and conditioning specialist with over 20 years of experience.

If you’re interested in abs training, weight, loss, and ways to get fitter healthier and stronger as you get older, I’ve already done three videos of TVA exercises. I wanted to do this one specifically for back pain prevention. And one of the exercises is from the McGill big three, which is a series of exercises from dr. Stu McGill. Who’s a specialist in back pain. The TVA is considered nature’s weight belt, and it stabilizes the spine and the pelvis during movement without strong inner core muscles. You put stress on your back and particularly your lower back.

TVA exercises can help prevent back pain.

They are a key of back pain prevention.

You can also use TVA exercises to help flatten your belly, strengthen your core.

You’re training those muscles to pull in so that they’re not sagging out in front.

So I’m going to show you five TVA exercises that are going to help prevent back pain.

And at the end of this video, I’m going to put the whole program together for you.

Quadruped Squeezes

The first exercise is Quadruped Squeezes.

This one really introduces the other two exercises. It trains you to tighten up the TVA in the quadruped position.

That’s this one here, with a  natural hip distance apart, and all you’re going to do with this one.

You kind of want to breathe and relax at first, then you’re going to breathe in. And as you breathe out, you’re going to pull your belly button up towards your spine, and you’re going to maintain the arch in your lower back. So from there, I’m going to breathe in and out.
And then relax.

You’re going to try to hold each of these squeezes for 10 seconds.

I’m going to show you one more. So again, breathe in and breathe out.

Pulling that belly button up towards your spine is hard to do. Can You should be able to train yourself to breathe and even speak eventually while doing this exercise. And then after 10 seconds, you’re gonna release. So you are going to do 10 sets of ten second squeezes

Bird Dogs

For the next exercise, bird dogs, you’re going to use the same position, the same contraction, but we’re going to make it a little more interesting. So back into quadruples, same thing, breathe in first, freed out, just do a contraction, pull your belly button in towards your spine. And then you’re going to lift one hand and one leg out in front And then back down. And then you just switch over.

Really make sure that you’re maintaining that contraction of the TVA throughout the movement. If you need to rest in between, that’s fine. You can kind of release it now and then tighten up first, activate the TVA and lift. Then I switched sides.

So are you going to try to do two sets of 10 seconds. That means that you’re going to do five each side at a time. Just give yourself a little bit of a rest in between probably about 15 to 30 seconds. And you can do the second set.

Quadruped With Vertical Lifts

The third exercise is the Quadriped with vertical lifts. So that means, of course, you’re back in the quadruped position.

You should have this down by now!

And you’re going to do the same kind of breath, just release, breathe in and then breathe it out, tighten up. And now what you’re going to do here is lift one hand and one knee just lightly And then release and then switch over to the other side. So when your right hand lifts, your left knee lifts up.

You’re doing the opposite side and you’re going to try to hold this for about five to 10 seconds on either side. It’s really important that you maintain the TVA contraction throughout the exercise.

You don’t just want to be wiggling from side to side, hold it as tight as you possibly can really focus on your inner abdominals.

So I might’ve done a little bit too much of a movement, even there. All you want to do is have a tiny little gap between your hand and the ground or the mat, whatever you’re using. So just a lift upwards, same thing with your knee, just slightly up.

It’s almost as if you’re going to slip a piece of paper underneath, you want it to be just a tiny little lift and it seems really silly. It seems really easy, but if you maintain that contraction and hold your body stable, it’s actually very challenging to maintain the TVA contraction.

Chair TVA Squeeze

The next exercise is the chair TVA squeeze.

This is probably the easiest of the TVA exercises to prevent back pain for you to work into your day.

You can do this at work while you’re sitting at your desk.

It’s very practical and easy.

Anytime you’re sitting, you should be maintaining an arch in your lower back. So the lumbar spine that curve there should be maintained. Give yourself some lumber support. So if you’ve got some sort of padding, when you’re sitting in this case, we’re going to train your TVA in that proper sitting position.

Maintain the arch in the lumbar spine, and we’re doing the same kind of contraction with the TVA.

Just breathe in and allow the belly to come out a little bit and then breathe out, pull the belly button in towards the spine. So here we go. Pull in tight and try to relax the shoulders.

And then relax. So the idea is just to keep pulling in that tight core contraction, and you can do this throughout the day. A basic set is just two sets of twenty seconds but you can do these several times a day.

Modified Curl-Ups

The next exercise is the Modified Curl-Ups.

And this is part of the McGill big three for back.

Bend your knees. One of them is going to straighten. You’re going to maintain the arch in your lower back, and you’re going to place your hands underneath and you want to lift your elbows up. So you’re going to maintain your elbows up in the air throughout the movement. Now we’re going to breathe in To get that TVA contraction again. So now that you’ve got the contraction, all you’re going to do is lift your head slightly up off the mat and maintaining the contraction and the TVA. And then relax.

Now you’re going to try to hold this for 10 seconds at a time, but I really want you to be careful not to crank your head up. You just want to do a tiny little lift, similar to what I said with the previous exercise, where you just want to imagine a piece of paper coming underneath your head. And just being able to slide a of paper underneath just taking the pressure off slightly. You’re not bending forward, just lift straight up towards the ceiling.

While maintaining the contraction of the inner abdominals. So you may notice that my neck definitely gets a bit tense. You can’t do this exercise without activating those the, and in your neck, but that’s okay. You’re going to do these in sets of 10 seconds. And when you’re finished with one side up, you’re going to switch it over just so it’s balanced, Same position elbows up, and then do The ten second holds on the other side

And then rewind.

So those are the five TVA exercises to prevent back pain.

The last exercise is a TVA exercise to prevent back pain that’s part of the McGill Big 3.

I’ve done a full video of all those exercises.

Here’s a summary of the entire TVA workout:


I recommend you do this about two or three times a week and make sure you give it some time to see back pain results from these TVA exercises.

Probably about three to four weeks. You may notice some differences before that perhaps your back pain reduces or you’re able to tighten up your core a little bit better. You have better posture.

Those kinds of things may come earlier, but do be patient in terms of back pain, because it is a complex issue. Let me know when the comment, how often you suffer from back pain and what kind of activities and exercises help you.

If any of this was helpful, please hit that thumbs up and please subscribe to my channel for more practical evidence based information, just like this.

See you next time.

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 8-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, 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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