What is the TVA Muscle?

What is the TVA Muscle?

The transverse abdominal muscle (TVA), also known as the transverse abdominis and transversus abdominis muscle, is a muscle layer of the anterior and lateral (front and side) abdominal wall which is deep and is layered below the internal oblique muscle and is wrapped around the spine for protection and stability.

The transverse abdominis supports your baby during pregnancy. The fibres act just like a corset, pulling the core in from all angles. The TVA is one of the most important of the muscle groups of the abdomen. The pelvic floor and transversus abdominis keep your belly from dropping. Together with the uterus, they work to push your baby out during delivery. Having those muscles be as strong and flexible as possible during labour greatly eases your baby’s entry into the world.

TVA Breathing

If you don’t breathe with the correct form it can have a negative impact on your ab midline and pelvic floor. Let’s stop holding our bellies in all day and let’s start to utilise our entire lung capacity to engage our diaphragm effectively. Remember, your posture and breathing pattern are key to reconnecting your diaphragm, core, and pelvic floor.

TVA breathing connects the four core muscles together to create strength behind every exercise. The four core muscles being the transverse abdominis, multifidus, diaphragm and the pelvic floor. When these muscles are out of sync, along with other factors, they can create what’s known as ‘core dysfunction’ such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, back pain, pelvic girdle pain, diastasis recti.

To re-build strong foundations you need strategy and care. Abdominal breathing and hypo-pressive exercises are the best and safest way to work toward your recovery. The goal is to focus on your pelvic floor and the deepest layer of your ab muscles: the transverse muscles. Acting as a natural “corset” or “girdle”, they hold the internal organs in place. You can now imagine why strengthening them is so crucial to flattening your low tummy! If they are weak: your organs fall forward against the ab-midline, giving you this pooch and pregnant look!


TVA Breathing Explanation

  1. Lie on the floor and place your hand on your belly button.
  2. Take a deep breath in letting your belly expand, without moving your pelvis.
  3. Exhale slowly and as you exhale, draw your belly button towards your spine and focus on the corset muscles tightening.
  4. Note- If you felt your legs or your buttocks tense you were not using the transversus abdominis, but the muscles in your lower body instead.
  5. As you continue to slowly exhale, pull your pelvic floor up as your belly draws in.
  6. Slowly release your muscles as you inhale again.