Bodsycape Home


Written by Pam Johnson

“Zip Up Your Belly”…”Pull Your Abs In and Up”…”Use Your Core.”  You may have heard these cues in a Pilates class or training session.  But what do they really mean?

Transverse Abdmonius anatomy Abs Anatomy – What makes Pilates so effective is that it activates the deepest abdominal muscle called the transversus abdominus or “TA” -- a spinal stabilizer that forms a supportive girdle for the trunk, making it an essential muscle of core stabilization. Pulling in the TA results in a reduction of diameter of the abdomen…and creates a slimmer look! What’s more, when the TA activates, it also causes engagement of the multifidus, a deep layer back muscle and the pelvic floor that supports your internal organs.  Building strength in this inner unit can prevent back pain and create better posture. This area is often underdeveloped in comparison to the top layer of your abs called the rectus abdominus or “the six pack.”

How to Activate Your TA: Pam Johnson - Isometric Core Activation

  • Lie down with your knees bent, feet on the floor and your pelvis in a neutral position – your tailbone should relax down toward the floor with a small space under your lower back.
  • Place one hand horizontally on your lower abdomen just below your navel and between the front hipbones of your pelvis
  • Inhale: Relax the lower abdomen and allow it to rise into your hand.
  • Exhale: Pull the abdomen away from your hand to widen and flatten the abdominal region.  Do not move or tuck your pelvis when you do this. You will feel the TA engage under your hand as you exhale.  Keep neck and shoulders relaxed.
  • Repeat 8 to 10 times

This exercise is a training tool to make your muscles more toned, coordinated and ready for action in your daily activities as well as in sports.  This doesn’t mean however that you should try to pull your abs in all day – keep it in the context of an exercise training routine.

Once you’ve mastered activating your TA in lying down, try challenging your core connection with the following exercises:


CORE ACTIVATION EXERCISES - Click on the exercises for detailed descriptions

Knees Open and Close Pam Johnson - Knees Open and Close

Single Leg Levitation

Dead Bug

Pam Johnson - Leg Levitation
The 100’s Pam Johnson - 100's
Single Leg Stretch Pam performing Single Leg Stretch


How to Get Started

Contact Us