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Exercises for the Core ~ Tuesday Tips

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My last post was on how to perform a diastasis check and if you found out you have a diastasis, strengthening your deep core is very important.  There are a lot of muscles that are comprised of the deep core but one of the main ones is the Transverse Abdominus.  Strengthening the Transverse or TVA, will help to close a diastasis.  It’s important to omit all crunching type exercises to allow the top layer of the abs (or Rectus Abdominus) to come together.  It’s also helpful to incorporate Kegels into your daily routine as the pelvic floor can aid in strengthening the core.

Here are two of my favourite TVA exercises.  Even if you don’t have a diastasis, these exercises will strengthen your core, draw the navel in, improve your posture and help with everyday activities (like lifting your little – or big – one!)

1. Five Level Draw ins: Sit in a chair or on the floor with a ball at your back against the wall.  Sit up tall and maintain tall seated posture throughout.  Take a deep breath to start and fill up and expand your belly.  When you exhale, draw your navel in towards your low spine five times, squeeze the belly in tight at the end of the exhalation.  Inhale and release the contraction, letting your belly expand slowly five times – this is tricky as we want to just let the abs go.  Inhale, expand and let your belly move out five times, exhale and draw your navel in five times.  Repeat this 15 times.

2. Lying draw ins with marches: Lie on your back with your knees bent and place your hands on your abdomen.  Draw your navel in towards your low spine (without tilting your pelvis or pushing your low back to the floor) and add a Kegel – try to keep your abs cemented in this position throughout.  Slowly lift one leg a few inches off the floor and bring it back down and switch sides without letting your hips shift.  Continue marching and alternating while keeping the torso and pelvis perfectly still.  You should feel the deep core engaging.  Try 12 repetitions on each side.

Happy training!


Sarah is a Certified Kinesiologist, Exercise Physiologist, Group Fitness Instructor and Mother of 2. She is the creator of the Prenatal and Postnatal Strength Workout DVD (available at www.sarahzahab.ca) as well as co-created the Elemental Workout®. Sarah owns Continuum Fitness and Movement Performance with her husband, John (www.continuumfitness.ca), a personal training studio in Westboro, Ottawa offering one on one coaching as well as group classes. Sarah is a former international fitness competitor and has been a nationally ranked race walker.

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  1. I appreciate the post, I’ve been suffering from back pain for a while and my belly is flabby – I know I need to exercise but I do not like situps. Thank you for showing me how.


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