Monday, March 28, 2016

Training the Transverse Abdominis

(But you still need to lose the fat)

In an article last week about the V-TAPER/SIX-PACK CONUNDRUM See it here I mentioned there is one muscle that you can train hard and not have to worry about ending up with a “blocky” waist.

That muscle is the Transverse Abdominis (TVA).  The TVA lies directly behind your Rectus Abdominis (what we normally call the 6 pack) and runs across your abdomen from left to right. It’s the deepest of the abdominal muscles and is not visible externally. It's the muscle that you use to "suck it in".

The TVA is very unique in that it doesn’t connect and move bones like most muscles. When the TVA contracts it increases intra-abdominal pressure and stiffens the spine protecting the internal organs as well as the spine. In fact, a strong TVA has a major influence on reducing low back pain and improving your posture.

Somewhere, somehow and for some reason we got away from training the TVA. So don’t expect to see a modern day body builder with a small waist.  On the other hand look at Arnold in the 1970’s at a weight of 250 pounds (6ft, 1.5 in)

Training the TVA

Training the TVA is simple and requires no weights at all. I’ll start with the easiest and progress. You should be able to progress fairly quickly. Do them every day if you like. The TVA can take daily training.
I suggest you do them in the morning before eating. You’ll get a better contraction with an empty stomach.

1.     Sublime vacuum- Lie on your back on the floor (or in bed)
·        Raise your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor.
·        Exhale completely
·        Pull you abdomen in toward your spine as far as possible and hold it there
·        Start with a count of 15 seconds for 3 sets. Then progress to 30 seconds, then 60 seconds.
This is the easiest simply because gravity is assisting while lying on your back

You can breathe during the set but take shallow breaths trying not to release the contraction.

2.     Quadruped vacuum. (On your hands and knees)
·        Drop back to a 30 second count for 3 sets and progress to 60 seconds for 3 sets
·        Be sure to keep you head/neck in a neutral position

3.     Seated Vacuum.
·        Sit on a stable surface without leaning on anything
·        Again drop back to 3 sets for 30 seconds. You’d think seated would be easier than Quadruped but because other stabilizing muscles come into play, it’s actually a little more difficult.
·        You can increase the intensity a bit by doing this seated on an unstable surface like a Bosu ball.

You want to get into the position where you are strengthening your TVA all day long. Driving, seated at your desk, standing, walking.

Make it a habit!

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