As a personal trainer, I work with many women who want to regain strength and muscle tone after pregnancy. Whether the client gave birth six weeks or six years ago, it is important to restore functional cores strength; this includes the muscles of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, internal obliques, spinal stabilizers and transverse abdominis.
The transverse abdominis (TVA) is the deepest, innermost layer of all abdominal muscles and is located underneath your rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” stomach muscles). To build strength in your TVA you will need to activate it through a series of “draw-in” abdominal maneuvers.
The purpose of the Drawing-In Maneuver, as well as abdominal bracing and similar techniques, is to activate your TVA, the most internal core and spinal stabilizers. Another benefit to core activation techniques prior to taking on actual exercises is that they begin to train your stabilizers to function while you’re active. This core strengthening technique is not only beneficial for women post-pregnancy, but is also an excellent way for anyone to activate the core muscles, in preparation for trunk, pelvic, and spinal movements in all planes.
“Drawing-in your abdominal muscles” is a conscious process and takes a lot of practice, but once you get it, you will see great results.