Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis is a deep abdominal muscle that wraps around the torso like a corset. It helps stabilize the spine and pelvis and supports the organs.

It is often referred to as the body’s natural weight belt.

Model for Transversus Abdominis
Model for Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Anatomy

[Origin]

  • Internal surfaces of 7th-12th costal cartilages
  • Thoracolumbar fascia, iliac crest
  • Connective tissue deep to lateral 1/3 of Inguinal ligament

[Insertion]

  • Linea alba with aponeurosis of internal oblique
  • Pubic crest
  • Pecten pubis via conjoint tendon

[Action]

  • Compresses and supports abdominal viscera

Clinical Relevance

Transversus Abdominis Weakness

The transverse abdominis is a crucial core muscle located deep in the abdomen. Insufficient activation or inhibition of this muscle can lead to lower back pain and instability in the lumbar region.

Weakness in the transverse abdominis can be identified by toned abs above the navel, but a bulging appearance below it.

Individuals with weak transverse abdominis may struggle to hold in their stomach after eating or when experiencing gas, and may experience fatigue in the lower back after prolonged standing or walking.

~ Evidence-Based Exercises ~

According to an EMG study, the exercises that demonstrated significant muscle contractions of Transversus Abdominis are;

  • Traditional Core Strengthening: Bird-Dog
  • Suspension Stabilization Exercises: TRX

Bird-Dog

Bird Dog Exercise

TRX

Suspension Exercise

< Reference >

  • Keith L. Moore, Anne M. R. Agur, Arthur F. Dalley. Moore Clinically Oriented Anatomy 7th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013
  • Oliva-Lozano JM, Muyor JM. Core Muscle Activity During Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(12):E4306. doi:3390/ijerph17124306
  • Lynders C. The Critical Role of Development of the Transversus Abdominis in the Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain.HSS Journal®. 2019 Oct 1;15(3):214-20.
  • Selkow NM, Eck MR, Rivas S. Transversus abdominis activation and timing improves following core stability training: a randomized trial.International journal of sports physical therapy. 2017 Dec;12(7):1048.
  • Pirouzi S., Emami F., Taghizadeh S., Ghanbari A. Is abdominal muscle activity different from lumbar muscle activity during four-point kneeling?  J. Med. Sci. 2013;38:327–333.
  • Li X., Liu H., Lin K.Y., Miao P., Zhang B.F., Lu S.W., Li L., Wang C.H. Effects of different sling settings on electromyographic activities of selected trunk muscles: A preliminary research.  Res. Int. 2020;2020:1–10.