The Weak Muscle Causing Your Nagging Back Pain Injury
More than 80 percent of adults will experience a back injury at some point in their life. This type of injury can knock you out of the fitness game for weeks or even, months.
Surprisingly, a lot of back injuries are preventable. And often, it comes down to one frequently neglected and weak muscle.
Introducing: The Transverse Abdominis Muscle
The transverse abdominis, or TA, is the lower and deep abdominal muscle. It helps stabilize your pelvis and spine, acting as corset. Before you move or twist your body, the TA is activated helping to support these vital structures. It also plays a role in breathing and aids in supporting a baby during pregnancy. In other words, it’s important.
This muscle sits under the 6-pack muscle, the rectus abdominis. This fact means that an individual could have a solid 6-pack, but a weak TA - meaning they are still at risk of developing a back injury.
And this muscle isn’t the end-all, be-all to back injuries. But having a strong TA can significantly reduce your chances of back pain.
What’s the Fix?
If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s important to get it checked out by a doctor or physiotherapist. They can help guide you through the proper course of treatment. You can also work on strengthening that TA muscle. If you are experiencing back pain, we recommend first checking with your doctor or physiotherapist that it’s okay to do so.
The Static TA Exercise
A lot of people don’t know how to contract the TA muscles. This exercise helps with that.
1. Lie face up on a comfortable surface.
2. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the ground.
3. Imagine a tightrope being pulled together in between your hip bones. If this doesn’t work for you, imagine stopping the flow of urine.
4. Your stomach should not bulge up, and your low back should remain flat on the ground.
5. You can use your fingertips to feel for tightening in between your hip bones, near your belly button. A lot of people question if they are even doing anything. It takes practice. Just keep trying.
6. Hold that contraction for 5-10 seconds.
7. Perform 10 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
Once you get this down, you can progress to lifting one leg at a time. If at any point you feel yourself starting to use your back or you feel pain in the back, stop.
Eventually, you can begin lifting both legs at the same time - then progressing to straight leg lifts.
Another version of the TA exercise involves positioning yourself on all fours. The challenge here is that you are working against gravity. It gets you used to contracting and strengthening this muscle in various positions.
Soon, you’ll want to engage this muscle for every exercise. Before you squat or deadlift, contract your TA. Before you go to lunge, activate your TA. It helps maintain proper form, while protecting your low back.
Don’t become a back pain statistic. Start strengthening your TA muscle today! It only takes a few minutes every day. And it can prevent you from major setbacks and pain.