Transverse ab muscle: anatomy and exercises for training

Even though in sports the transverse abdominal muscle is rarely singled out as an object for pumping, it has an incredible impact not only on physical fitness, but also on human health. The stabilization of the spine and the correct location and functioning of the internal organs depend on it. Moreover, exercises for the transverse abdominal muscle are not always present in the training program, which leads to insufficient load and weakening. Understanding the anatomical features, structure and exercises necessary for pumping will strengthen the tone, as well as eliminate many problems and health risks.

Anatomy and function of the transverse ab muscle

Anatomically, the transverse abdominal muscle belongs to the deep muscles (3rd layer). Located directly under the inner braid (2nd layer). Presented in the form of a thin plate with transversely directed beams.

The transverse abdominal muscles are covered with their fascia. They originate from:

  • The inner surface of the 7-12 ribs (due to the introduction of teeth into the muscular part of the diaphragm).
  • The inner lip of the iliac crest.
  • Inguinal ligament (lateral third).
  • Lumbothoracic fascia.

Attached to the linea alba.

Transverse abdominis muscle location

Main function transverse abdominis muscle – pulls the ribs towards the midline, thereby maintaining the natural position of the internal organs.

Why train the transverse abdominis muscle?

From a health perspective, not a sporting one, it is one of the most important structural elements of the abdominal muscles. However, everyone needs to train the transverse abdominal muscle, regardless of their occupation. In addition to holding the organs, the ability to maintain a straight body position directly depends on its tone. Also, training the transverse abdominal muscle is one of the best types of hernia prevention, especially for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle or have a sedentary job.

If we highlight the main reasons for which we should pump up the transverse abdominal muscle, we should note:

  • Visual reduction of the abdomen and improvement of tone.
  • Prevention of hernias.
  • Maintaining organs in their natural position.
  • Improving abdominal function.
  • The ability to maintain a straight body position for a long time without fatigue and “bending” forward.

For women, exercises for the transverse abdominal muscle are one of the fastest and most effective ways to make your waist thinner.

Workout Features

Main problem is that standard abdominal exercises that are popular in fitness do not engage the transverse muscle. This is precisely the reason that even with trained external muscles, the overall aesthetics of the torso is far from ideal (the stomach protrudes, the waist visually becomes larger).

The second problem is the correct preparation of a training program. There are two main ways to work out the target zone:

  • After basic abdominal exercises.
  • On a separate day.

It is much more effective to allocate a separate day for pumping. This will ensure that it is loaded so that the external parts of the ab do not take on most of the load. If you have no time at all, you can train it after the main abdominal block. In this case, the outer muscles will already be tired, which will provide the necessary tension for the inner layer.

To work effectively, it is enough to allocate no more than 2 short sessions per week, but only between meals (so that the stomach is empty).

The best exercises for the transverse muscle

An important condition for effectively pumping the transverse abdominal muscle is muscle concentration. Without it, even the most effective movements will not bring any benefit, since the load will be taken by the muscles of the outer layer. Therefore, during the period of mastering the technique, it is recommended to simultaneously improve muscle control.

Exercise “Vacuum”

It is generally accepted that a “vacuum” gives “wonderful abs” and it was this that became the key to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ideal waist. Modern sports research proves that vacuum is almost useless for the outer layer. However, it is best suited for deep abdominal areas. It is considered the most effective exercise for the transverse abdominal muscle for men.


  1. Stand up straight. Hands down, feet shoulder-width apart. The back is straight.
  2. Take a powerful breath and push your abdominals forward (using your muscles).
  3. After 1-2 seconds of tension, exhale powerfully, pulling your stomach towards your ribs as much as possible.
  4. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds, then inhale and repeat the movement.
Vacuum sitting cross-legged

It is optimal to perform 7-10 breaths per workout. It is not the number of repetitions that is important, but the force of exhalation and the muscle tension that you can hold. Also It is strictly not recommended to increase the time you hold your breath. This can have a detrimental effect on blood vessels and even lead to loss of consciousness. The main method of progression is muscle tension and the number of inhalations/exhalations in a series (no more than 15 per workout).

Plank exercise

Even though the plank is often criticized for its low effectiveness for the abs (oblique and straight), for the inner layers this is one of the most useful exercises.


  1. Take a lying position, as for push-ups. ab your toes and entire forearm into the floor (located parallel to each other). There is a right angle at the elbow, the body forms a single straight line from the neck to the heels.
  2. Maintain your current position for as long as possible.
Plank photo

Beginners are advised to hold the position for up to 30-40 seconds. Advanced athletes – from 60 to 90 seconds. A plank for more than one and a half minutes is considered ineffective, since to stabilize the position, the load will “go” to other groups.

Pelvic bridge

A great move, but only if done with the right style. The classic power bridge version is not suitable for this task. The movement should be performed without weight, with a delay at the peak point of up to 4-5 seconds.


  1. Lie on the floor, and place your arms along your body. Bend your legs at the knees.
  2. Lift your pelvis off the floor and lift it so that your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  3. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds, while concentrating tension (while exhaling).
Hip bridge

It is important to make the bridge so that the shoulder blades lie on the floor. The option of resting on a bench is not suitable in this case.


The main problem with the transverse mouse is that the movements to work it are rarely included in standard fitness programs. To strengthen it and eliminate any possible health risks, it is enough to perform 2-3 exercises, immediately after the abdominal block or on a separate training day.

Leave a Comment