What.. Excuse me? Transverse muscles? Isn’t that when you join the circus and do that back flip thing? Well, not exactly, transverse muscles are a group of stomach muscles that often gets neglected when doing abdominal exercise routines. They are known as the transverse abdominals. These are the core set of muscles that lie just below what is known as the rectus abdominus. Most abdominal exercises in fact target the rectus abdominus as well as the vertical abdominals, but ignores the transverse abdominals altogether. Even when doing stomach crunches, which is the staple of most abdominal workouts, they do absolutely nothing for the transverse abdominals. Too bad because these muscles are the most crucial to target, as they connect to both the rectus abdominus and the lower back muscles and acts as a girdle for the entire abdomen region. Any exercise routine aimed at flattening the stomach, should be including the transverse abdominals. If you do the following exercises, you can then effectively work out the transverse, and really make some progress towards that flat stomach you want. Keep in mind with any type of workout routine, make sure to consult a professional first before starting, and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
3 Exercises For A Flat Stomach
1.) Pelvic Tilts
This excellent stomach routine requires you to lie on your back on a flat surface, such as a bench or the floor. Make sure you lay on a mat or a towel to cushion your spine. Bend your knees up so that your feet are completely flat on the floor. Then raise your pelvis up (and just your pelvis) off of the floor, hold it momentarily, and then lower it back down. Repeat the same routine for an entire set. Maintaining a controlled movement is critical to this exercise. This will allow you to effectively use your abdominal muscles, rather than using your body’s momentum, to do the work on this exercise. Also, make sure to keep your upper body and shoulders on the floor throughout the sets.
2.) The Crunch-less Crunch
This exercise routine is actually fairly simple, but can at the same time can also be fairly difficult. Basically, it involves trying to pull your belly button in towards your spine. This can be a bit tricky however, as it involves using the muscles which you may not use too often. To start, lie either on your stomach or you can kneel. You may want to try both ways and see which is more comfortable or helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your entire body as much as possible, then using only the lower abdominals, move your belly button towards your spine. Hold it for at least ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels too easy, then hold it for a bit longer. Your goal is to hold the contraction until: you either can’t feel it any longer, or you feel your other muscles beginning work harder than the transverse abdominus. When you begin to feel this, let the contraction out.
3.) The Scissor Kicks
This stomach exercise requires lying on the floor as well. To begin, start with positioning your hands under your butt, and make sure your back is pressed against the floor. Slowly raise one on your legs (straight), to a height of about ten inches, and then slowly lower the leg back to the floor. As you lower that one leg, start to raise the other one. Repeat this for an entire set of ten or fifteen. Make sure you maintain control throughout, not allowing any momentum of the movement to carry you. Your upper body should remain still on the floor through the entire movements.
There are actually plenty of other similar exercises that targets the transverse abdominals, but starting with these three should be enough to get you started. Doing these stomach exercises are the key to any stomach-flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant as well as post-partum women.