Uh, what’s my TVA?
TVA stands for transverse abdominus, one of your deepest abdominal muscles.
Okay. What does it do?
Considered part of you core, this muscle (along with fascia) works as a corset to aid in spinal stabilization.
Why should I care about this muscle any more than the others?
A strong and functional TVA helps the other muscles in the body activate (think nervous system sending the information where it needs to go) and work efficiently (think force production sent to the muscular extremities instead of your bones and joints). It is your foundation for every movement. You can only be as strong and functional as your foundation.
I perform abdominal work all the time, I’m sure I engage it regularly.
Not so fast. Learning how to engage and cue in to your TVA takes practice. This 7-minute video from Beverly Hosford might help. I attended one of Beverly’s anatomy workshops this past summer at the IDEA Fitness Conference. Her video can help you 1) understand how the transverse abdominis works 2) locate the muscle in the body and 3) learn to engage it.
Alright, alright. I get it. What specific exercises can I add to my list?
First and foremost, you must be able to cue in to you TVA before the exercises are effective. The drawing-in maneuver or vacuum exercise (shown in this video) are excellent. Be aware of these techniques when you perform your traditional abdominal exercises to get more bang for your buck!