Transverse Abdominus (TA) Muscle

Transverse Abdominus (TA) Muscle

Work through the following steps to isolate and activate your transverse abdominus muscle…

  1. Neutral Spine
  • Set yourself in a comfortable and pain free position (as per photo).  Place your fingers on your stomach an inch in from your hipbone.  Press down gently.
  • Tilt your pelvis forward and backwards and then settle into the middle position.  This is the neutral curve or your lumbar spine.

2. Breathing in Tummy

  • As you breathe in you belly should rise.  As you exhale you belly should fall.

3. Contract core using one of the following cues :

  • Imagine two pieces of string tied in a bow running between your hip bones…gently tighten the bow and draw your hip bones together
  • Imagine ‘zipping up’ you lower abdominals from your pubic bone to below your belly button
  • Gently draw in your belly button towards your spine as if you are tightening your belt 1 notch
  • For some contraction of the pelvic floor muscles can assist with initiating the transverse abdominus contraction

To contract pelvic floor imagine you are stopping the flow or urine

– for women – imagine you are gently trying to lift a tampon

– for men – gently lift your testicles (imagine walking into cold water)

  • A correct transverse abdominus contraction you should feel a deep tensioning under your fingers.  No bulging of muscle should be felt (such as happens when you cough or laugh)

4. Lets go and check ‘what has let go’

Remember :

  • The contractions should be slow and gentle
  • The hand placed above your belly button should feel nothing but the rise and fall of your stomach with each breath.  Do not hold your breath!
  • Firmness or bulging felt under this area is an over activity of your abdominal muscle.
  • Your spine should stay in neutral and your gluteal muscles should remain relaxed.

Once you have obtained an isolation transverse abdominus contracton your goal is to sustain the contraction for 10 breaths.  You need to be able to hold the contraction while breathing normally.   If you feel the quality of your contraction is starting to lessen, stop and rest.  It is better to practice several short sessions throughout the day with good technique rather then one large session that reinforces poor muscle recruitment.

Suggestion Frequency : 2 sets of 10 – 15 contractions – 3 times per day…




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