A Flat Stomach With Transverse Abdominal Exercises
The goal of abdominal exercises is to build muscle, but also to attain a flat, attractive stomach. This is where transverse abdominal exercises come in. The Transverse Abdominus is the stabilizing muscle that acts like a belt along with other abdominal muscles, to provide core stability and in keep your stomach shape. In other words, a stronger Transverse Abdominus means a tighter, slimmer waist.
The transverse abdominal muscles are so-called stabilizer muscles that allow for smooth and powerful movement. Transverse abdominal exercises are often overlooked when training for a six-pack, and rarely mentioned outside professional training circles. But neglect them at your own risk. Their importance should not be overlooked by anyone who would like to do more with their muscles than just show them off!
Transverse abdominal exercises are indispensable if you want to attain that elusive washboard stomach. You have to target them to take your ab workout to the next level. A six-pack might look great, but it does nothing to facilitate movement, enhance performance or maintain proper alignment.
It is therefore important to activate the transverse abdominal muscles when you are doing any ab exercises. One way to do this is to focus on drawing in the area beneath your navel while you are exhaling and contracting. Keep breathing normally, but hold this "vacuum" position without engaging the upper abdominal muscles. Letting go counts as one repetition. You can start with ten repetitions of seven to 10 seconds daily to build strength around your waist. This will gradually translate into more effective general exercises, better posture and greater overall results. It has even been said to enhance digestion!
There are a few more transverse abdominal exercises to try once you've mastered the vacuum exercise. Do pelvic tilts by lying on your back on a comfortable surface that supports your spine. Lift your knees about 90 degrees but keep your feet flat on the floor. Now raise only your pelvis, keeping your lower back on the ground. Hold it for three or four seconds and lower it again. Repeat this for two or three sets, depending on your level of fitness. The most important thing is to maintain control over the movement at all times. This will isolate your abdominal muscles and allow faster progress.
Don't try to rush these transverse abdominal exercises. Slow, controlled movements are all that is necessary for them to be effective, and will help you keep the proper form. Another exercise involves pulling your stomach towards your spine while lying flat or kneeling. Find which position suits you and then relax your back as much as possible. Try to use only the lower abdominals while you suck in your stomach in as far as possible. Do not use your oblique (side) muscles to help. Hold for ten seconds or longer if you can, then let go. A good guideline is to hold the contraction until you cannot feel the tension anymore, or until you feel other muscles doing the work. Let go of the contraction and repeat.
Always keep your spine straight and in a stretched but relaxed position, to protect your lower back and neck. Stand with your back straight against a wall to get used to this position. Only your lower back and neck will be slightly away from the wall. This is the correct posture to follow. With this in mind, keep your upper body flat on the floor while doing these transverse abdominal exercises, and support your butt with your hands. Now raise one leg no more than ten inches, your knees bent and relaxed. Lower it again in a slow, controlled movement while raising the other leg.
Resist the temptation to let momentum do the work for you, as this will defeat the purpose! The motion is easy enough, but doing it right requires patience and concentration. That burning sensation means it is working. Just remember to breathe!