Sure, we all want great looking abs, but have you ever stopped to think about what your abdominals do?
The muscles of your abs or “core” help you with good posture. And every movement you make, from sitting, squatting, bending, twisting, reaching, walking and running, stems from your core. A strong core is not only a key ingredient for washboard abs, it’s critical in preventing injuries, especially in the lower back.
What exactly is the “Core”?
The “Core” is made up of layers…
• The deepest layers are called the “Inner Unit”—they are your stability muscles, and act as a natural weight belt—holding your insides, in. Think “girdle.”
• The surface layers are called the “Outer Unit”— and are the thick, pumping muscles. Think “6-pack”
While it’s important to strengthen the entire core, it’s actually the “inner unit” that is going to give you flat abs and a tight waist; as well as prevent low back aches and injuries. Research has shown that about 98% of people with back pain have a weak “inner unit” namely, the Transverse Abdominis, or TVA muscles.
Here’s a simple exercise you can do to target the TVA:
• Get down on your hands and knees, with your back in a neutral position and your head in line with your spine.
• Take a deep breath in and allow your abdominal wall to drop.
• Now, as you exhale out, pull your lower abdominal wall up towards your spine, and hold for 10 counts; or as long as you can without taking a breath.
• Work up to 10 repetitions.
• Do this exercise at the very end of your workout.