Physiotherapy & Pilates


Activating your deep abdominal muscles - Step one

The transversus abdominis muscles sits deep inside your abdomen and via other tissues attaches on to each vertebrae of your lumbar (lower) spine. When you use this muscle it provides stability to your lower spine. This muscle sometimes will not work properly if you have had lower back pain or poor posture.

Here's a simple exercise to practise to try and locate that deep core muscle!

  1. lie on your back with your knees bent up
  2. using your fingers - find the prominent pelvic bones at the front of your hip area, now move them in and down about 1cm and gently press into your tummy
  3. now, gently squeeze your pelvic floor muscles - you should feel a small amount of tension develop underneath your fingertips - this is the transversus abdominis muscle contracting!

However this is a very hard for a lot of people to do! Especially if you have a history of lower back pain. Keep trying and watch out for these common mistakes:

  • not breathing! 
  • squeezing everything at the same time (keep bottom, upper abdominals and inner thighs relaxed)
  • squeezing too hard - aim for a gentle tension under your fingertips, you don't want your abdominal muscles making your fingertips pop out

Activating this muscle is the first step to increasing stability in the lower back and pelvic region. Practise the above exercise and keep an eye out for instructions for step two!