Whether your goal is to reduce low back pain or slim your waist, adding exercises to your workout that engage your core can make a significant difference.

The most important, yet often overlooked muscle that must be strengthened, is the transverse abdominis (TA)
which is the deep, inner abdominal muscle that begins at the spine and wraps around your waist. This incredible muscle acts as a corset or internal brace stabilizing the spine and pelvis. It can reduce low back pain, prevent future back injuries, and best of all, flatten your stomach.

To find and activate your TA, lie on your back maintaining the natural curve of your spine with knees bent. Place two fingers at the bony areas of your pelvis then slide the fingers in about an inch and down about an inch. A little cough will engage the TA and you should feel it tighten under your fingers. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly as you gently tighten the muscle under the belly button without moving the shoulders or hips, or rounding your back. Imagine pulling your zipper up to your belly button as you tighten the muscle. Practice while sitting, standing, or lifting.

Learning how to draw in your TA takes some practice, but once you master it, you will see the results, a stronger core, improved posture, and a much tighter tummy.