Slimming your waistline: training the TA!
Spring has officially sprung! Summer will be here before you know it! But the pounds packed on during the winter months don't seem to be changing with the seasons! What should you do? Start training your Transverse Abdominis (TA) of course! The importance of properly training and engaging the TA for optimal core stability and strength has long been known and understood by physical therapists and personal trainers for years. But recently, researches out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale have found that consistent training of the TA can actually reduce the waistline of individuals by as much as one to two inches! Regardless of dietary changes!
How can this be? The researchers believe that due to the structural and mechanical properties of a properly functioning TA, consistent and progressive strength training of this muscle essentially creates a tightened girdle around the entire navel and waistline; very similarly to the exact fabric ones many woman wear underneath their clothing to create a slimming effect. The only difference is that the TA does this from deep within your core (the deepest of the abdominal core muscles) and is permanent!
So how does one "properly" train the TA?
In essence, this girdle shaped muscle is most effectively trained when exhaling and bracing (as if anticipating to be punched in the gut) while contracting your core in a standing up position. A perfect example is performing a core rotation with the cable machine. While holding the handle and standing with the cable directly to one side, one mimics the swing of a baseball bat while exhaling and bracing simultaneously. Another good example is exhaling and bracing while performing a push up or row on the TRX, or even simply lifting ones knee during the end of a squat or lunge. The lifting of one leg forces your proprioceptors to engage to keep from falling and if done properly, (i.e, simultaneously exhaling and bracing to be punched) engages the TA very efficiently.
So what are you waiting for?! If you want to slim your waistline while improving your core strength and lower back health, start focusing on TA training! It's simple: Just exhale and brace!