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Beginning Core Exercises - Engage Your Transversus Abdominis

by Kirstin Uchida

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In the previous blogs, we discussed the importance of breathing and how to activate your Transversus Abdominis. Now, we will move forward and start some beginning exercises to challenge and strengthen your Transversus Abdominis (TA).

First, do not complete any exercise that causes pain to your lower back. Pain is an indication that you are not fully stabilizing you lumbar spine and not ready for a progression. Second, if you are not sure how to engage your TA, please see the previous blogs to insure you are working the correct muscles. If you have any questions, you can leave me a comment or talk to your physical therapist.

Pelvic tilts
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Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart. Keep the natural curve in your spine. Inhale to prepare, exhale and draw your belly button to your spine, tightening your TA. Starting at your hips, roll your pelvis so each part of your tailbone and lumbar spine moves sequentially from tail bone lower back, stopping when the natural curve of your spine is flat. Then reverse the direction until the natural curve returns. Inhale, exhale and repeat. Repeat 5-8 times.
            

Marches
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Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart. Keep the natural curve in your spine. Inhale prepare, exhale and draw your belly button to your spine, tightening your TA. Lift your right knee towards your chest, shin parallel to the floor. Keep the natural curve in your spine. Lower your leg and repeat the sequence on the other side. Alternate right and left sides and alternate which side you raise first. Repeat 5-8 times for each side.
  

90/90 Hold
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Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet hip distance apart. Begin as in the marching exercise above except keep the right leg up, then lift the left leg up. When both legs are up, your hips and thighs should be at 90 degrees to one another. Raise your arms straight up to the ceiling. Hold this position until you lose the natural curve in your low back. If you are able to hold this position for 30 seconds, you are likely ready for more advanced exercises. Ask your physical therapist for more advanced exercises.
  



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