More Core Muscles: Transverse Abdominis

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Prior to this, we’ve talked about the rectus abdominis, the internal & external obliques, and this week we’ll discuss the transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominals are, as someone called them, ‘the Spanx of your abdominal muscles’.

Transverse abdominis: these muscles have a supportive role, as well as a protective role. They hold our abdominal organs in place, help support your spine, and also help with trunk rotation. They are connected to ribs 7-12, all the way down to your pubic crest.

What do they do?  Besides acting as your girdle (holding your abdomen in and protecting your organs), they help with forced expiration (as in exhaling as hard as you can), urination, defecation and during final stages of childbirth, where the mom eliminates the baby as well as any additional matter related to childbirth.

What happens when these muscles aren’t functioning at their peak? You might develop a hernia, distress the other muscles in your abdomen, and cause injury to your back. Sometimes an injury can be from overtraining these muscles, but also the injury can be from surgical procedures as well. How do you know if they’re weak? Do you have toned abdominals above the navel but a telltale bulge below it? Or an inability to hold in the stomach after a large meal or when gassy. Another sign of weakness is low back fatigue after pro­longed standing or walking.

We’ve covered the core musculature on the front of your body, next week we’ll talk about the core muscles represented on your backside.

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