Get that washboard stomach

If you’ve ever wondered why some people have a flat stomach although not having highly visible, defined abs. Or why others have big stomachs and a six-pack to be proud of then here is your answer.

There is a powerful group of muscles deep inside your stomach underneath the visible beach body muscles. The muscle responsible for giving you that coveted flat stomach is called your TVA – Transverse Abdominis, which works very much the same way as a weight lifting belt, supporting your body, and holding your organs in place.

The TVA is often neglected with the other core muscles being the focus of hard work because they are prominently more visible. The core muscles include your Obliques (sides/v shape), Erector Spinae (lower back) and Rectus Abdominis (six-pack). These muscles all have their functions; Obliques help with upper body rotational movement. The Erector Spinae supports the spine, and is responsible for upper body extention; some exercises that strengthen these muscles include dorsal raises and deadlifts. The Rectus Abdominis is a postoral muscle that is responsible for flexing the spine, e.g. sitting up or doing an exercise “crunch”.

All the work that these muscles do could not be possible without the supporting foundation of your TVA, this is what solidifies your core, enabling you to balance and move. Whenever you make any movement it is this deep seeded muscle that engages to allow the other core muscles to function efficiently. If the TVA is underworked then it will leave your stomach bulging as the pressure from the vital organs inside your body will push against the walls of your abdomen, so it only right that in order to achieve your washboard abs that you work your TVA tightening up your entire trunk, from the inside.

Top high intensity sporting athletes will have very flat and defined abdominals as the Olympics has shown us, because the disciplines that they are involved in challenge their TVA on a daily basis at a extremely high level.

Here are some exercises and techniques that will give you that well-earned beach body:

1• When you are doing a cable or dumbbell exercise, try doing it with one hand so as to unbalance your body, forcing your core to engage to restore equilibrium. Example: Single arm cable cross over and single arm dumbbell flye.

2• Where possible exchange seated exercises for standing. Example: Standing shoulder press, and standing dumbbell curls.

3• Create an unstable surface with familiar exercises by using a Bosu ball, the instability will challenge supporting muscles in the legs as well as within your core. Example: Bosu squat, Bosu standing shoulder press and Bosu lunge

Try this ABS tightening circuit:

Complete all exercises once to count as one finished set. Do 4 sets in total

1-minute Mountain climbers

60 seconds plank

15 Standing shoulder presses

20 squat thrusts

20 Reverse plank/Butt ups

20 Bosu squats

20 Bosu lunges

20 Swiss ball crunches

1 minute on rower