Sunday, July 1, 2012

How to Activate Transverse Abdominal

Every women needs to activate her T.V.A-Transverse abdominal muscle and pelvic floor muscles after giving birth. This is the exercise you need to do during the first 1-10 days post birth. If you have had a ‘C’ section it is better to wait for 5-14 days before you start.

Why is it Important? 
It is important to start activating your TVA along with your pelvic floor muscles as this is the first part in your rehabilitation from your pregnancy, labour and birth.  These muscles have been severely stretched and even more so after a ‘C’ section. During your pregnancy and you will have lost or have minimal neural connection to the inner core muscle now.

If you have strong TVA and pelvic floor muscles you can hold good posture whilst you are breastfeeding, carrying and lifting your baby. It will decrease the risk of back and hip pain and reduces possible post pregnancy incontinence.

Exercising the muscles sooner rather than later will help to start to correct a diastasis recti (post pregnancy abdominal separation) ultimately leading to a flatter stomach and if you want to eventually get back into a regular exercise routine activating these muscles daily is a must to prevent injury.

Where are these Important Muscles?

  • The transverse abs run from our sides (lateral) to the front (anterior), its fibers running horizontally (transverse).
  • The muscle runs transverse and is the deepest of the major abdominal muscles (the others being the rectus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques).
  • It ends (the muscle insertion) by joining with the large vertical abdominal muscle in the middle (the linea alba), where the fibers begin to curve downward and upward depending on what direction it has to go to meet the linea alba, and below the sternum it combines with next most superficial muscle (the internal oblique). This insertion runs down by the belly button where it passes over the thick abdomen muscle (the "6/8-pack") and all the ab muscle fibers join together.
The transversus abdominis (TVA) helps to compress the ribs and viscera, providing torso and pelvic stability. The transversus abdominis also helps pregnant women deliver their baby.

Watch my video guide to Activate your TVA's correctly


Make sure this is the first Exercise you do after Giving Birth and do it sooner rather than later.

You don't have to engage the muscles lying down you can think about engaging your TVA and Pelvic Floor muscles together during the day.
Have a look at your stomach when you are standing, sitting and when you are holding your baby and try to activate your T.V.A muscles.

First think about activating your Pelvic Floor Muscle then draw your belly button in towards your spine, I think about either trying to zip up a pair of jeans or imagine you have a corset on and it is being pulled tighter, it is a subtle contraction.
 You should see your tummy muscles draw in; if you can see this happening, you are activating the correct muscles. You could use a mirror to help, stand sideways and watch yourself activating these muscles.

From 1-14 days post birth this is the exercise you need to do try to think about activating your tummy muscles regularly when you are lifting, changing and carrying your baby. If you can concentrate on this for a couple of weeks post birth the connections will become stronger, the muscle strength will increase and activating these once weakened muscles will become second nature.

For a full Pre or Post Pregnancy Exercise Program have a look at my website. Pregnancy Exercise Program  and Post Pregnancy Exercise Program


  1. My wife has a pelvic floor issue and we're looking for alternative options; surgery being the last resort. Is TVA safe for this? I've watched the video and it looks intense.

    Also, do you have any idea where to find a surgical mesh lawyer?

  2. No I don't know a good lawyer but I have a client who has one fitted and the above exercise is fine, thanks

  3. Hi Tim,

    this is brad, Pelvic floor issues are more common among women these days. This particular problem happens because of not doing proper exercise during pregnancy time.You just try to consult with pelvic muscle related specialists.

  4. I recently purchased your program. I am 6 months post partum with my 2nd child. I had approx a 3 finger width seperation of my abdominal muscles with this pregnancy. I am curently at about 1 1/2 finger widths, but hate the way my belly looks. Is it too late for these exercises to help? I have always been thin, so having a poochy belly is very uncomfortable for me. Also, is there any reason to think wearing some type of abdominal binder would help the muscles to regain their "memory"?

  5. Hi there great results you are doing well!Don't rush through the program, take your time you can do extra weeks of program 1 or 2 which will really help. You now don't need a belt as your gap is less than 3 fingers. You should keep progressing now, can you feel your abdominal muscles?

  6. Hi my youngest is 3, I had an emergency c-section with him and also with my first. Iv got a 3/4 finger gap in my tummy, but its biggest around my belly button and sort of goes smaller at top and bottom almost like a diamond shape, if you get me what I mean. I didn't have this problem with my first. I was wondering if it was to late to try this and do you have any tips?

  7. Hi yes I understand what you mean you can make a difference and if you start with corrective exercises such as the one above and a few others you can reduce your separation. Have a look at the birth2fitmum program on my website will help you, Lorraine