The word corset may seem like a blast from the past—a woman’s undergarment that featured great rigidity and discomfort. Most people have watched the famous character Scarlett O’Hara holding the bedpost for dear life while her corset was being tightened. However, men and women alike have one that they wear each day, and it’s found in the body!
Did you know that you have four abdominal muscles? You may just be picturing your abs as the rectus abdominis, a muscle that many have nick-named the “6 pack”. In addition to the rectus abdominis, you also have two sets of obliques, the internal obliques and the external obliques. These run down the sides of your stomach. The last abdominal muscle is beneath all of those muscles, and it is sometimes called the “corset” muscle, or more formally, your transverse abdominis.
This muscle runs horizontally along your entire core and works to keep you stable while you are moving about. When the transverse abdominis contracts, it increases pressure in the abdominal cavity and provides support and stability to the spine and pelvis. This allows your other muscles to move more effectively and efficiently as they are moving off of a stable base.
Learning how to isolate this muscle and improve its performance is a crucial part of physical therapy across the board, but particularly for helping to decrease lower back pain. If you believe your core stability may be lacking, stop by Castle Pines Physical Therapy, or call us today at 303-805-5156 and learn how to properly train your transverse abdominis!