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Engaging & Strengthening the Core for Posture & Back Health

The Transversus Abdominis


The transversus abdominis, also known as the “corset” muscle, is the muscle that helps to protect and support your spine and surrounding muscles. It is the innermost layer of your core muscles, and is the main stabilizer and support system of the core. Strengthening the transversus abdominis can help to decrease back pain, improve pelvic floor function, and help with posture.





How to Find & Engage your Transversus Abdominis

Version # 1: Lying Down - Transversus Abdominis Contraction


  1. Lay on your back, placing your fingers just inside the bones on the front of your pelvis.

  2. Exhale, and gently pull in the muscles that are under your fingers.

  3. Draw your navel down and in toward your spine, bracing your deep abdominal muscles.


Version # 2: Sitting Unsupported - “Ocean Breath” Deep Breathing


  1. Begin sitting in an upright position with your hands on your lower abdominals.

  2. Take a deep inhale, and on the exhale, extend your breath to create an audible “ocean sounds” as you blow out for several seconds.

  3. As you blow out, slowly draw your navel in toward your spine, bracing your deep abdominal muscles.

Version # 3: Sitting Supported - Transversus Abdominis Contraction


  1. Sit upright in a back supported chair, with a towel roll behind your lumbar spine.

  2. “Zip up” your internal zipper, stacking your vertebrae.

  3. Draw your navel back towards your spine, engaging your deep core muscles.




Version # 4: Standing - Transversus Abdominis Contraction


  1. Begin standing with your hands on your hips and fingers resting on your lower abdominal muscles.

  2. Slowly draw your navel in toward your spine, “zipping” up your internal zipper, bracing your deep abdominal muscles.

  3. Engage your glutes slightly to anchor the engagement.





The Pelvic Floor


The pelvic floor muscles are located on the underside of the pelvis and act similarly to a hammock or sling, supporting all of the organs and muscles above it. When engaged, they lift upward toward the stomach. Strengthening the pelvic floor can help to support your bladder and bowels, sexual function, and improve posture.




Pelvic Floor Posture


When determining correct core and back posture, think of your pelvis as a bowl full of water. The bowl should be upright without any spilling. This is called your “pelvic neutral.” If any water is spilling forward or backwards, then your pelvic tilt is not properly aligned.




How to Find & Engage your Pelvic Floor

Version # 1: Lying Down - Pelvic Tilt


  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs bent and feet resting flat on the floor.

  2. Exhale, and contract your pelvic floor muscles, “zipping up the zipper” and pulling them up towards your stomach. Relax, inhale, and repeat.

Version # 2: Hands & Knees - Pelvic Floor Contraction


  1. On all fours, find neutral with your spine in alignment.

  2. Engage your “bikini line” and “zip up” your internal zipper.

  3. Inhale, and then on the exhale, contract your pelvic floor muscles, pulling them up towards your stomach.




Version # 3: Standing - Pelvic Floor Engagement


  1. Begin standing with your hands on your hips and fingers resting on your lower abdominal muscles.

  2. Slowly draw up through your pelvic floor, “zipping” up your internal zipper, bracing your deep abdominal muscles.

  3. Engage your glutes slightly to anchor the engagement.




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