What is your TrA (Transversus Abdominus)? - Pulse Physiotherapy and Pilates

The TrA is one of the most important muscles involved in stabilizing your lower spine. The TrA wraps around your stomach like a corset, inserting into a thick fascia at the back of your spine. When activated, it gently increases the local stability of your lower back and provides support to your discs, joints ligaments and fascia. It should be active in nearly every movement you do!

Unfortunately, people suffering from low back pain and/or dysfunction often find this muscle to be particularly weak. It does not come on as often, or for as long, as required. This can lead to an increase in the duration of back pain or increase the frequency of these bouts.

How do I activate TrA?

We can improve the strength of this muscle through specific muscled re-education and training. Pilates is a great exercise to re-educate how activate the TrA and keep the awareness for the daily life activities. It is important that you understand how to visualize your TrA. You can do this a number of different ways. Imagine this muscle is a low slung belt. It is sitting down on your hips away from your belly button. This belt has a total of 10 notches.

To activate your TrA think of drawing in this belt very gently and slowly toward your spine to the third notch. You can also think of this muscle as a low slung corset. Think of drawing in this corset toward your spine very slowly. You should feel a gently flattening underneath your fingertips an inch in and down from the front of your hips. You should not feel your belly button move closer to your spine or feel thickening underneath your fingertips.

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