Here are some simple steps to learning how to engage your Transverse Abdominus Muscle (TVA).
The first thing is to be able to picture it in your mind and connect to it. Click Here
Now you are ready!!!
1) Lie on your back, internally rotate the hips (turn knees in to each other) & feel the ASIS (bony bumps on front of hips) with your hands or fingertips to monitor what is happening.
The hip bones should turn in to each other, with the muscle between them tightening - lower TVA
2) Place your hands on your rib cage & gently inhale & exhale to feel the upper TVA contract between the ribs. Be sure you are not flexing & extending the spine, this is transverse motion. Exhale to internally rotate the hips, inhale to relax & let them open.
If you notice your back arching or flattening towards the floor, then you are using your other abdominal and low back muscles instead of the TVA, re-group and try again!
As you get better at feeling this muscle, work on contracting it and holding it during regular breathing and without moving your legs. Gradually progress this to feeling this muscle when seated and eventually while standing, walking, biking, etc.
When the TVA is strong, it can take up to 40% of the pressure out of your lower spine. The TVA will help you keep your spine in a balanced position and protect the intervertebral discs from excessive pressure. If you are still having trouble connecting or aren't sure if you are doing this right, come in for a session. This is nature's back brace and very vital to normal back function!