Imagine taking a tin from the top shelf in the supermarket. It’s easy to assume that the muscles you’d be using to do this would be the ones in your hand, arm, or shoulder. But actually the ones you’d need to use first are the deep postural (core) muscles because these are the ones that would prevent you from falling over as you reach up.
You need a strong core to keep your body stable and balanced during any movement whether you are running, picking up a toddler or even everyday activities such as sitting at your desk. Sitting slumped at your desk all day weakens these muscles by overstretching them.
The transverse abdominal muscles are located deep inside the abdomen. The easiest way to exercise these muscles is to simply suck your tummy in as though you are trying to create an inch or two of extra space within your waistband. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly release. Make sure you keep breathing as you brace.
Once you get used to retracting your abdominal muscles in this way you can start to incorporate this into other exercises so that you suck in before you even start a curl-up, for example.