Core Stability And The “TA Hold”
What is a TA hold? TA stands for transverse abdominis, a muscle that wraps around this inside of your core like a belt. The TA muscle helps with core stability through compression of the abdomen (simplified explanation, but you get the picture). But, why do we want to work on keeping this muscle strong by doing TA holds (also called pelvic tilts)? And why is core stability important anyways? I’ll talk about this and more in this blog post.
Core Stability – Why Do We Care?
Many people have what is called “core dysfunction”, which is a disconnect between the core muscles and the brain. When this occurs, people have the inability to properly engage their core muscles when they need to perform a movement. Why is this bad? Because if your core muscles aren’t working properly, it can put you at greater risk for injury (especially spinal injuries) and/or chronic pain, and can reduce your athletic performance. A weakened or dysfunctional core can be caused by a variety of things, such as a sedentary lifestyle, sitting for long hours, surgery, injury or pregnancy (especially if a C-section was performed).
Core stability is essential for all of us, whether you’re an elite athlete, a regular Joe or Jane or somewhere in between. It’s called the “core” for a reason – it’s essential to how your body works and moves. From a movement and posture perspective, your core is like the engine of a car: without proper core function, overall performance suffers.
The “TA Hold” – How Can it Help?
As I mentioned at the top of the article, the TA muscle plays a critical role in core stability. It’s also one of the most common core muscles that people experience dysfunction with. So, how do you do a TA hold?
1. Lay down on your back with your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart and your knees bent.
2. Now, think about your belly button. Imagine pulling your belly button down towards the floor. You should feel the curve of your lower spine flatten out against the floor. The hips will tilt backward. This is how to engage and compress the abdomen.
3. Hold the position for ten seconds. It is important to remember that the quality of the movement is more important than the quantity. In other words, it is better to do seven magnificent tilts with perfect form than twelve with poor form.
4. Don’t forget to breathe! You may feel like you need to hold your breath, but breathing properly is important.
5. Relax and repeat 10 times.
Core Stability and Functional Movement
Proper core stability is important to maintain balance and stability. This is important for all human movement, whether you are a cyclist, runner or just lifting groceries out of your car. Core stability can help to prevent soft tissue pain and injury.
When the core isn’t “turned on” and firing when it should, other muscles will pick up the slack. This is called a movement compensation. Movement compensations are a risk factor for muscle injury and pain due to the overuse of accessory muscles being used improperly.
Functional Movement Screen
At the Anatomy of Wellness, we use the Functional Movement Screen to analyze movement patterns and find compensations that could be limiting your athletic performance or causing unnecessary muscle pain.
The screen uses seven basic movements that will identify improper body mechanics you are using. Our approach uses a combination of corrective exercise along with stretch therapy and highly targeted clinical massage therapy to correct these patterns.
The movement screens we use to identify core instability are the rotary stability test and the core stability push-up test. We rate the quality of movement on a predetermined set of criteria and base your treatment plan on your individual results.
The results will show undeniably during the re-screening process. Muscles and joints will gain strength, mobility, stability and neuromuscular control, helping you live and train pain-free.
Our signature CoreEx treatment package combines the effective, science-based therapies mentioned above to get you long-term, meaningful results. The program is great for all age ranges, activity and fitness levels. It is an ideal way to fill the gap from post-rehab to regular activity levels.
Ready to take your training or physical therapy treatment plan to the next level? Schedule your Movement and Exercise screen with us today.