Core Exercises – Transversus Abdominis (VIDEO)
What is the core?
The core is a group of muscles spanning from the trunk to the hips that work together in supporting, stabilizing, and moving the spine during exercise and daily activities. The key part of this body area is the abdominal muscles, which are arranged in several layers that collectively surround the abdomen. The “core” consists of four muscles: the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal oblique, and external oblique muscles.
What is the TA (transversus abdominis)?
“TA” stands for transverse abdominis, which is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles. Many exercises that focus on building core strength involve the activation of this deep muscle. You will also often feel this muscle activated during coughing and forced exhalation, as its main function is to compress the abdomen.
Why is it important to strengthen the core?
The core muscles are essential for movement of the spine, which allows us to not only perform workouts but also move and maintain our posture during daily activities. Contracting our core muscles helps us brace and resist loads that are placed on the body when we are moving and exercising. Core strengthening exercises can help improve your ability to control and stabilize the trunk during movements ranging from high-effort workouts to the maintenance of upright posture. The inability to control the core ultimately places more reliance on passive structures (such as ligaments, joints, and intervertebral discs) to support and stabilize the spine. Prolonged stress imposed on these passive structures may increase the risk of injury when engaging in movement and exercise.
What’s the best core exercise?
Your core muscles are at work during any exercise that requires movement and stabilization of the spine. Many exercises strengthen the core, ranging from targeted activation of smaller groups of muscles to full-body movements. An effective core exercise will depend on what you are exercising or training for, and what you can tolerate in terms of intensity and body positioning.
Will core exercises help with my back pain?
Back pain can be complex and can depend on many factors such as your age, your medical history, physical abilities or impairments, and your goals. Getting an assessment with a knowledgeable rehabilitation specialist such as a physiotherapist or kinesiologist would be highly beneficial and advisable. Exercises can include stretches, mobility drills, and strength training. A combination of these types of exercises will typically improve your back pain. There is a high likelihood that your therapist will include at least one form of these exercises in your home exercise program. The aim is to prevent further injury from happening by training the core and improving the ability to control the trunk during movement, especially under higher loads or repetitive movements. As well as being able to take load/reliance off passive structures and put the emphasis on the muscles, allowing the muscles to do more work.
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