Old school bodybuilders have a distinct look. That dramatic X taper is something that modern lifters are beginning to lack. Why? People stopped training their Transversus Abdominis and Lumbar Multifidus. These muscles tighten like a corset when trained. This is why bodybuilder in the 80’s look so damn good.
I highly recommend women do this movement, read more for the explanation and tell your damn woman to start doing it.
Training this region not only makes you look good, but allows you full control over your core. The average person hasn’t ever learned how to engage or even use their deep abdominal muscles.
Movements like the crunch, sit-up, and even the plank tackle the upper abdominal muscles with minimal focus on your deep internal muscles. The more you isolate your transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) the more it will engage in other activities as well. You can allegedly knock 2 to 4 inches off your midsection in around 3 weeks when properly training TVA.
So what can you do to train your TVA?
No, I’m not recommending you force your mom’s Shark Navigator Powered Lift-Away NV586 vacuum hose down your throat to suck out your guts. This exercise is a lot easier than that, I swear.
HOW TO TRAIN TVA:
Stand up tall, put your hands on your hips, exhale entirely.
Raise your chest and without inhaling suck your ab muscles backwards to your tailbone.
Hold this position for time.
Or until you need to breath or take a break.
You should not just be sucking in.
You need to exhale and suck back in without inhaling.
That’s it. Once you’ve learned how to engage these muscles properly you can do it sitting down or really anywhere.
To see results they recommend doing it 3x a week for 3×3 of 20-60 seconds a set.
This isn’t the only movement to train TVA but it is the most isolating exercise I have found. If you’ve never trained TVA you probably aren’t engaging it well during a plank anyways.
Women desperately need to do this movement. Not just because it makes your core tighter and your form feminine but because of Abdominal Separation (Diastasis Recti). This is something that commonly occurs to women due to childbearing. About two-thirds of pregnant women have it and can drastically lower their odds of developing it just by strengthening their core/TVA. Although, it can still happen due to age or weight.
Essentially your stomach muscles pull away and separate from your body due to the weight of the child or weak muscles.
Women should not be training core as often during pregnancy because it can make separation worse due to the extra weight. You can still workout but don’t try to bust out crunches at 7 months or after the kid just came out.
I highly recommend a belly support band during pregnancy and a girdle after birth.
If you think you already have a separation you SHOULD NOT be doing ab work until your deep inner muscles are strengthened and your abs begin to heal.
Men can also get Abdominal Separation (Diastasis Recti) from a weak core while lifting, being weak, and dieting. We often see it happen in bodybuilders who juice and rapidly gain core muscle without working their TVA muscle. We also can see it in men who lost a decent amount of weight, have weak TVA, or don’t brace correctly.
This simple self-test will help you determine if you have diastasis recti:
Lie on your back with your knees bent upward, as if you are in the starting position for a crunch exercise.
Place your fingers right above your belly button.
Raise your head and shoulders off floor as if you are performing a crunch exercise.
If you can feel a gap or see a bulging, then you could have a diastasis.
Don’t be a weak core dork. Train TVA