Transverse Abdominis Activation

Exercise Series, Motor Control, Strength






The information is intended for patients of mdkPHYSIO, who have been formally assessed and provided the instructions, precautions and parameters necessary to perform this exercise.  Information on this website is not, and is not intended to be, medical or professional health advice. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat or make any health related decisions. Whether and how any of the information on this website applies to your circumstances requires the assistance of a medical professional. Contact a doctor or appropriate healthcare professional to address your medical concerns and diagnose or treat any medical problems. Do not rely on this information to make decisions about your health or medical issues. Read my Terms and Conditions of Use for more information on the limitation of our liability.

Transverse Abdominis Activation

transverse abdominis activation
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    The “transverse abdominis” or TA is a crucial muscle to be able to use. We often find that the TA is inhibited, especially in people who have had low back pain. This exercise is often combined with other core exercises, so it is crucial to mast this before moving on.

    What you should feel

    You should feel like your core is engaging and tightening up with these exercises.   You should feel like you can talk and breathe throughout these, so try to relax the rest of your body!  Sometimes people will feel a stretch and/or engagement into their lower back (this is fine).

    Pain is not expected with these exercises, besides any discomfort associated with working your core muscles really hard.  Stop this exercise if you are unsure about what you are feeling or if it is painful in an unexpected way.

    Transverse Abdominis Activation


    This exercise is crucial to understand before moving on to the other videos.

    Here are the instructions, as per the video below:

    1. Start out lying on your back with your knees bent.
    2. Find the two bones that are on the front of your pelvis, on either side, called the ASIS (they are the most prominent).  Sink your fingers in, on the inside aspect of this bone.
    3. Monitoring using your fingers:  Imagine drawing the two bones (ASIS) together while trying to “hold your pee.”  When you do this properly, your stomach should flatten out and you should feel the muscle where your fingers are contract / tense.


    mdkPHYSIO provides specific parameters to all patients.   In general, for this exercise you will want to hold it for about 5 seconds to start and then relax for a few seconds, then repeat.  Performing this at least once per day for about 5 minutes is a good start, but we typically aim higher than that!  We will adjust how long you hold it for and how often you do this depending on how proficient you get.


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