Tag Archives: Personal trainer

Working the Transverse Abdominals

transverse abdominalsWorking the Transverse Abdominals

by STEVEN MILNER IIST VTCT Qualified

Ladies, ever wonder why you never seem to get that flat stomach when you’re relaxed?  No matter how effectively you work your abs typically you will be working them in just one direction, up and down, or, more properly along the length of the rectus abdominus. But what about the abdominals that go from side to side? Can we exercise those?  Well, yes you can, the transverse abdominals (TA) flatten the tummy from side to side, so read on because I’ve got some information to share with you about working your Transverse Abdominals.
The TA complex belong to a group of core muscles that lie below the rectus abdominus and are often neglected in standard ab routines. Typically most abdominal exercises target the vertical rectus abdominus largely ignoring the horizontal transverse abdominals. Even crunches, the staple of most abdominal workouts, do nothing for the transverse abdominals. This group of muscles connect to both the lower back and the rectus abdominus to form a powerful support for the entire abdomen. Any routine aimed at flattening the stomach should include the transverse abdominals as a focus. Using the following exercises, you can target your transverse abdominals and really make progress towards that flat tummy.

Transverse Abdominal Crunch
Lie face up on a mat and plant your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart, maintain contact between the mat and the small of your back. With the fingers of both hands find the tips of your hip bones on either side of your tummy. Move your fingers inwards slightly towards your centre line just off the hip bone, don’t worry your hip bones are easy to find even if you’re carrying a lot of fat. Now this is an easy exercise to master once you know how to “feel” the transverse muscle working, here’s how, press down slightly with your fingers and cough! You will feel the transverse abdominal wall tighten and jump beneath your fingers. To use the exercise, first cough to initiate the contraction and then hold for a count of ten and relax, repeat for sets.

Pelvic Tilts
Lie on your back on a flat surface, such as a mat or a bench. Roll a towel to cushion the small of your back. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis off the floor,  hold momentarily, and lower under control. Repeat for sets. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise, use your abdominal muscles not your body’s momentum to do the work. Be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout to target the transverse complex.

Crunchless Crunch
This exercise is fairly simple but can be difficult to master. In a nutshell we’re going to try to pull our belly button in towards our spine, this involves muscles which you may not be accustomed to working, it can take time to make the mind muscle connection. Start by either lying on your stomach or supporting yourself on hands and knees. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible; use only the lower abdominals to try to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. You should aim to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it anymore, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, release the contraction and relax.

Scissor Kicks
Again start by lying on a mat or bench, place your hands under your backside and try to keep the small of your back pressed down. Start by slowly raising one leg to a height of about ten inches, then slowly lower it back to the floor, as your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this movement for reps and sets. Keep disciplined, focus, don’t let momentum rob you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.

Transverse abdominals aren’t show muscles but if you want a flatter tummy vitalising these muscles will take you a lot closer to your goals. Exercises like these are key to any tummy flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant and postnatal women.

I wrote this post originally for my bodybuilding blog but it applies equally well to both men and women who want to feel better in their clothes and themselves.

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10 Reasons To Use A Personal Trainer

10 Reasons To Use A Personal Trainer

By Steven Milner IIST VTCT


We all need a little help with exercise sometimes, whether we’re just starting out or we’ve been at it for a long time. Still, there are people who shy away from personal training, unsure of what they’ll get out of the experience or whether it’s worth the money. There are a number of reasons people work with per trainers.  Some want an individualized program so they can lose weight or get in shape while others simply need to be held accountable for their workouts.   Wherever you are in your exercise journey, a personal trainer may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

1. You’re Not Seeing Results
If you’ve been exercising consistently for several weeks or months and aren’t losing weight or reaching your goals, hiring a trainer may be a good choice. A trainer can look at your current program and eating habits and help you see where you could make changes to create more effective workouts. A trainer can also help you determine if the goals you’ve set are realistic for you, hold you accountable for your workouts and help you stay motivated to exercise.  You may even find that you are getting results, just not in the way you expected, something a trainer may see more clearly from the outside.

2. You Don’t Know Where to Start
Knowing how to set up a complete exercise schedule that includes all the activities you need to do – cardio, weight training and flexibility – can be overwhelming.  Add the time and knowledge it takes to choose exercises, weights, reps and sets and you may quit before you even start.This is where a personal trainer can be the biggest help.  He can help you maximize your time while keeping you within your own limits so you don’t overdo it. He can also help you set goals and map out a specific schedule so you know when, how and where you’ll fit in your workouts.

3. You’re Bored with the Same Old Workouts
If you’re an experienced exerciser, maybe you haven’t considered working with a personal trainer. However, it can be a great choice if you need some variety in your workouts. A trainer can bring a fresh perspecitve and new ideas to challenge both your body and your mind. Even if you just do a few sessions or meet every few weeks, you’ll find it refreshing to have new workouts and new exercise toys to play with. A trainer can also introduce new ways to exercise – Circuit training, different methods of strength training and different types of equipment you’ve never tried before.

4. You Need to Be Challenged
If you’re like me, you tend to slack off on your workouts sometimes, especially when things get tough. A trainer can motivate you to push past those self-imposed limits, encouraging you to lift heavier, go longer and challenge yourself more than you would on your own. You’ll find it’s very hard to slack off with a trainer standing over you, telling you to do just…one…more…rep!  You may even find hidden strengths you never knew you had, which can motivate you even more.

5. You Want to Learn How to Exercise on your Own
Even if your goal is to create your own workouts and exercise by yourself, hiring a trainer for a few sessions can be a great benefit for learning the right way to exercise. This is especially true if you want to learn more about the muscles in your body, the exercises that target those muscles and how to do those exercises with great form. Just a few sessions can teach you a lot about your body, how it works and how to train it in the most effective way.

6. You Need Accountability and Motivation
Trainers come with built-in motivation. Not only are you investing money into your exercise program…you’re investing time as well. There’s nothing like a standing appointment to get your butt in gear for a workout. Not only that, a trainer provides some accountability so, even when you don’t have a session, you know your trainer will be asking if you did your planned workouts. Just knowing that may make it harder to skip your workouts.

7. You Have a Specific Illness, Injury or Condition
If you have any specific issues like arthritis, heart disease, old injuries, etc., working with an experienced trainer (who works with your doctor, of course) can help you find a program to help heal injuries and avoid any further problems. It’s also a great idea to work with a trainer if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and want a safe, effective workout to keep you healthy and fit. Keep in mind that you want to find a trainer who has experience with your issues and make sure that trainer works closely with your doctor and/or physical therapist for the best experience.

8. You’re Training for a Sport or Event
If you’re training for a marathon, a golf tournament or some other type of sport or event, an experienced trainer can help you figure out what you need to do to stay strong without taking away from your other training. She can also help create a training program and map out a plan for the coming event. Just make sure she’s experienced in the sport you’re training for since not all trainers do sport-specific training.

9. You Want Supervision and Support During Workouts
Some people know how to exercise and they even know how to do the exercises correctly, but they like having a trainer around for support and supervision. If you’re lifting very heavy weights or need someone to help with partner-type exercises, working with a trainer might be a good choice for you. He can spot you during workouts and help you come up with a good training plan for your goals.

10. You Want to Workout at Home
If you’d like to exercise at home but either don’t have a lot of equipment or aren’t sure how to use what you have, in-home personal training is an excellent choice. A trainer can show you exactly how to use what you have to get the best workout for you or she can bring equipment with her to give you a great workout. She can also make recommendations for equipment that will help you reach your goals.