Transverse abdominal exercises workout your transverse abdominal muscle, which is the most neglected muscle in your abdomen. They are the deepest core muscles and they form a natural girdle to support your entire middle section.
Their main function is to stabilize your spine. They help to keep your organs in place, while putting pressure onto your abdomen. The development of the transverse muscles helps to tone and flatten your belly.
These 5 top transverse abdominal exercises workout all your ab muscles, but also specifically focus on your transverse abdominals.
5 Best Transverse Abdominal Exercises
Traditional stomach exercises like crunches do not affect the transverse abs. Sit-ups will barely affect them.
There are not many ab exercises that focus on these deep muscles and you do not need a variety of exercises to tone and strengthen them. All these exercises need only an exercise mat.
1. Plank Pose
This is a simple abdominal exercise that helps to workout your transverse muscle. The exercise is based on holding on to your position, which strengthens the muscle.
These are called isometric exercises, and these are great for muscle strengthening and toning.
* Your elbows should be placed on the floor below your shoulders.
* Rest your toes on the ground and your legs should be placed at hip width apart.
* Straighten your back and try to lift your body away from the ground, as you pull in your navel towards your spine.
* Hold on to this position for about 30 – 60 seconds.
* Relax by going back to your starting position, place your body on the ground, and then repeat.
* Breathe while you hold on to the position. Your back should be straight and in line with the ground.
2. Leg Lift – Plank Pose
This exercise has a small variation in the plank pose and gives some additional challenge to your transverse muscle, with the leg lift.
This exercise is a combination of isometric exercise and a moving one, as you are holding on to the position and also lifting your leg.
* Start the exercise in the plank position.
* You have to lift your leg to about 6-8 inches, away from the ground and you should pull in your navel towards the spine.
* Hold on in this position for a count of 30 seconds.
* To tone your body more, squeeze your glutes and butt while you do this move.
* Return back to the starting plank position and repeat with your other leg.
* Repeat this with both legs.
3. Plank Pose – Twist
This exercise is a slight variation made to the plank pose and it is an exercise that workouts your transverse abdominis and also your oblique muscles.
* Start with the normal plank position.
* You should lift your leg and bend at the knee, then twist your trunk slightly and bring the knee up towards the hip.
* Go back to plank position, before you repeat with your other leg.
4. Transverse Pull Ins
Although the movement made in this exercise is very small, the effect of the exercise reaches deep down to your transverse muscle.
This exercise can be done while standing or lying down. As the movement is very small, you can do this exercise while standing up and no one will know that you are doing an exercise.
* Lie flat on the ground, with bent knees and feet placed firmly on the ground.
* Your hands should be placed on your lower abs and your thumbs should touch your navel.
* Pretend that you are to wear a pair of tight jeans and you have the hard job of zipping it up, pull in your navel towards the spine.
* Stop when you feel your muscles get tight.
* Hold on to this position for about 30 to 60 seconds, then relax.
* Repeat it several times.
* When you want to do this while standing, you have to repeat the same steps and relax the rest of your body.
5. Back Extensions
This is not a specific ab exercise, but it helps to stretch the ab muscles and the back muscles. It is important to stretch your back muscles after doing any type of ab exercise.
* You should lie flat on your stomach with your arms extended in the front, and with the palms facing down.
* You should lift your body up to stretch the transverse muscle and also your back muscles.
* You should lift both your upper and lower body, for additional stretching.
* Hold on for 30 seconds, then relax.
* Repeat it several times.
Transverse abdominals are the foundation of strength, and weak and unbalanced core muscles cause low back pain.
Postural imbalances can lead to injuries, and fitness of these muscles is essential for regular activities and daily living. The 5 best transverse abdominal exercises can have functional and aesthetic advantages.