What to Know About Strengthening the Deep Abdominal Muscles

man exercising

You can’t talk about exercising without including abs! Whether a fitness enthusiast or not, most people refer to their abs when mentioning getting fit and healthy. Since abdominal muscles support the trunk, hold organs in place, and allow movement, it’s crucial to perform workouts that strengthen them.

One can’t begin to enumerate every great ab exercise out there—there are probably too many to mention. However, although there is an abundance of training plans to help you strengthen your rectus abdominis or obliques, not many focus on the transversus abdominis.

The Key to a Stronger Core

While working out the muscles running vertically on the front and along the sides of your abdomen are essential to building well-balanced core strength, you can’t forget about your deep abdominal muscles or transverse abdominis!

The transversus abdominis(TvA) refers to the flat, thin sheet of abdominal muscle under internal abdominal obliques. This abdominal muscle protects the body’s internal organs by holding them in place and supporting the torso.

Since the TvA influences the spine’s stability, it’s recommended to develop this muscle and train it so that the spine will be protected from injury while you exercise. By strengthening your deep abdominal muscles, your torso could become a powerful unit that can withstand the rigor of weight lifting and other physically demanding sports.

Activating Your Deep Abdominal Muscles

Unlike other muscles, it can be challenging to recognize when you’re activating stabilizing muscles like the TvA. To ensure you’re targeting the correct muscle group, you must practice “drawing in” your belly button toward your spine. 

Besides drawing in, you can also try bracing to get your deep abdominal muscles working. To feel how the TvA brace themselves for effort, you only need to do a pull-up or chin-up on a bar. The crunch is another basic exercise that is great for strengthening the deep abdominal muscles.

Keep in mind that bracing does not involve holding your breath and pushing the stomach out or pushing your belly button through your tailbone. You’ll know that you’re engaging your deep abdominal muscles correctly when you tighten your stomach as if you’re going to be punched in the gut.

Fitness enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who can benefit from braced abdominal muscles—even office workers who sit in front of the computer for at least eight hours a day can 


Working out just for the sake of it won’t get you very far! Achieving your fitness goals involves having a comprehensive training plan and knowing which muscle group to engage. If you want to build strength and improve performance, you must strengthen your deep abdominal muscles.

Bracing will be challenging to get used to at first, but you’ll get the hang of it the more you do it. Once you’ve gotten used to bracing, you’ll be able to do it pretty much anywhere and no matter what you’re doing. When you activate the stabilizing muscles at the back and front of the torso, you’ll be able to tap into your potential without the risk of injuries!

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