It’s a Cinch! – Engaging the Transverse Abdominals

The transverse abdominal muscles are hard to describe to someone who doesn’t already know about them, but we use them all the time without realizing it.  They are so integral, not only to our Pilates practice, but also to our every day lives.  The TA are responsible for organizing our spine so that the muscles in our extremities are able to efficiently work.  Let’s say that a different way – in order for our extremities to properly engage during an exercise, our transverse abdominal muscles must be appropriately contracted.  They are vital to our clients’ success in Pilates (and in life, but let’s not get carried away).

Because the work of the transverse abdominals is “behind the scenes,” it is often difficult to ask a client to call on them specifically. Our best bet is to have them mimic one of those every day tasks that subconsciously employs the muscle group.

Try this: have your client imagine cinching their waist in an effort to button a tight, high-waisted pair of jeans that has just been through the wash.  My TA kicks in at the thought!


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