The transversus abdominis is the deepest abdominal muscle. It sits below the oblique muscles. It acts as an abdominal support belt and plays a major role in maintaining posture. Most abdominal exercises involve the transversus abdominis; however, the transverse abdominal exercises below focus on it in particular. These exercises are excellent for improving core stability and strength and preventing lower back pain. Find additional EMG abdominal exercises at the following links:
- Lower Ab Exercises & Upper Ab Exercises
- Oblique Exercises
- Combination Abdominal Exercises
- Ab Workouts for Men
Page Table of Contents
Transverse Abdominal Exercises
The prone plank is one of the staple transverse abdominal exercises. This is a good exercise for users of varying experience because the user can vary the amount of time the plank is performed for. More experienced users may hold the plank for a longer period than less experienced users. The important thing when performing this exercise is to keep the core as tight as possible. Most individuals perform this exercise one minute on, one minute off, one minute on. When performing this exercise, it is common and normal for the user to shake toward the end of the time period. This is a safe exercise for those with back problems to perform.
Stability Ball Bridge
The stability ball bridge is a stabilizing exercise that works the transversus abdominis muscles. This is a good exercise for users of varying experience because the user can vary the amount of time the bridge is performed for. More experienced users may hold the bridge for a longer period than less experienced users. The important thing when performing the ab bridge is to keep the core as tight as possible. An example of how to do the ab bridge is one minute on, one minute off, one minute on. When performing the ab bridge, it is common and normal for the user to shake toward the end of the time period. This is a safe exercise for those with back problems to perform.
Swiss Ball Rollout
The Swiss ball rollout is one of the more advanced transverse abdominal exercises. This exercise is more user friendly for those with lower back problems than the Swiss ball jackknife. With this exercise, the user’s knees and lower legs are planted on the ground for support. The forearms are flat on the ball. This provides the user with more balance and lowers the risk of injury, either from falling while in an engaged position or from low back issues. This exercise is safe for those with low back problems. Although the back is not supported, there is no rounding of the back during the motion. Strengthening the transverse abs can help decrease low back pain by strengthening the core.
Swiss Ball Jackknife
The Swiss ball jackknife is one of the more advanced transverse abdominal exercises. It is important for the user to perform this exercise slowly when they first start art. Balance is required when performing this exercise. If the user is not properly balanced, he could lose control of the ball and injure himself. Make sure that the hands are firmly planted on the ground and the feet are secured on the ball. This exercise may be problematic for those with back problems. During the exercise, the low back is rounded. Those with back problems should attempt the exercise but should stop immediately if discomfort is felt in the low back.
The stomach vacuum is an exercise that works the transversus abdominis. It is one of the simplest yet most effective transverse abdominal exercises. This exercise can be performed either seated or standing. When performing it seated, the user is actually kneeling on their knees. This exercise is very similar to taking a deep breath and then exhaling, but with a focus on using the core muscles throughout. As you exhale all the air from your body, suck your abdomen up and in as far as you can. Then, hold for ten seconds. Finally, breathe in, relax and repeat. Perform this cycle at least ten times.
Transverse Abdominis Exercises Video Playlist
Transverse Abdominis Exercises Infographic
External Resources: Wikipedia: Transversus Abdominis
Updated: March 30th, 2015