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  • Writer's picturemarcus bessin

What is the TVA and how will it get me a flatter stomach?

We all want a flatter stomach, but not many know about a muscle that's responsible for stabilising the spine and protecting the organs. But interestingly, the it flattens and compresses the belly when properly trained. The TVA (transverse abdominis) is a crucial muscle that acts as a natural corset for your abdomen, playing a big role in both aesthetics and functional fitness. In this blog, I'll delve into exactly how it acts as a belly tuck, and how it goes beyond the superficial goal of a six-pack.

The Transverse Abdominis is the deepest lying core muscle layer that wraps around the abdomen, providing stability to the spine and pelvis. Unlike the 6 pack muscle (rectus abdominis) which is mainly responsible for just flexing the spine, the TVA is responsible for compressing the abdominal contents and supporting the lower back. Think of it as an internal corset that, when properly trained, helps create a strong foundation for your entire core.

A strong TVA is the cornerstone of core stability. Functionally, it acts as a natural weight belt, helping to maintain proper posture and alignment during various movements. Whether you're lifting heavy weights, doing cardio, or simply going about your daily activities, a well-conditioned TVA provides big help needed to prevent lower back pain and injuries.

Aesthetically as well as functionally, the TVA contributes significantly to better posture. A weak TVA can lead to a swayback posture, where the lower back arches excessively. This is not only undesirable for your physique but also puts additional stress on the spine. Strengthening the TVA helps pull the abdominal wall inward, promoting a more upright posture and reducing the risk of developing chronic back issues.

While the functional benefits of a trained TVA are immense, the aesthetic perks are undeniable. Strengthening it helps tighten the midsection, creating a flatter appearance. Unlike traditional abdominal exercises that primarily target the superficial muscles, TVA training works from the inside out, providing a more holistic and sustainable approach to achieving a toned stomach.

Enough about what it is and how important it is. here's how to train it:

  1. Vacuum Exercises:

  • Stand upright and exhale completely.

  • Inhale deeply and, as you exhale again, draw your navel toward your spine.

  • Hold the contraction for 10-20 seconds, gradually increasing the time held as your strength improves.

  1. Plank Variations:

  • Engage your TVA by pulling your navel towards your spine from a plank position.

  • Focus on keeping it held in throughout the exercise.

  • Imagine theres a flame underneath you and the only way to avoid getting burnt is to pull your belly in.

  1. Pelvic Tilts:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent.

  • Inhale, then exhale as you tilt your pelvis upward, engage the TVA by drawing your belly in.

  • Hold for a few seconds before releasing.

So don't overlook the hidden gem this hidden gem. As you can see, training it is basic in principle, draw your belly button in and hold it! You can do this anywhere, in the supermarket queue for example. If you're new to training, you now have a huge advantage that many sadly don't. So, as you embark on your fitness journey, remember to incorporate TVA-specific exercises into your routine – your body will thank you, and your journey to a flat stomach will be all the more rewarding.

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