Are you aware that your core supports your spine?
Did you know that by strengthening your core, you can add distance and protect yourself from injury?
In this lesson, I’ll help you fortify your core and add distance to your drives.
Anatomy 101 (The Technical Stuff)
The Muscles itself: The TVA (Transverse Abdominus) inserts into the linea alba, which is a fascia like line that holds together the rectus abdominis (your 6 pack). It inserts just behind the 6pack. It runs all the way around your side as you can see in the picture and attaches to what is called the “Thoraco Lumbar Fascia”. It is also connected to the surfaces of ribs 7-12 and the iliac crest (hip bone).
How Does it Stabilize? Now also involved in the stabilization of the spine in regards to the core are the internal and external obliques. They all work together to create what is called a ‘natural weight belt’ that helps to support your spine.
How does it work?
When you breathe correctly, you breathe deep into your abdomen and diaphragm first, and then into your chest.
If your TVA is actually working, and you are able to draw in your belly button, what happens is that you fill your diaphragm up causing the cavity to swell outwards, then when you draw in your belly button you are activating your TVA, which tightens around from the front where it connects to the 6pack all the way around the sides where it connects with the ribs and to the Thoraco lumbar fascia.
How do you use it?
The video below shows me doing an exercise called ‘4 point tummy vacuum’ where we use the force of gravity as our resistance, to train the TVA. This is also called ‘belly breathing’.
- Down on all fours. Hands under your shoulders, kneeds under your hips
- If your spine is not straight like in the picture, you will need to bend your elbows ‘backwards’ to lower your trunk so you are level
- Breath deep into the diaphragm, pushing your belly down to the ground.
- Hold the breath, draw your belly to your spine, (think of trying to fit between 2 tables and you have to suck in your gut
- While you continue to draw your belly out, breath out slowly, count of 10. The act of you breathing out, and pulling your belly up creates a resistance you can feel. Perform at least 10 reps to get stronger.
THIS VIDEO TALKS YOU THROUGH THE MOVEMENT
How will this add distance?
When you don’t contract your TVA to secure your spine, you lift or rotate with force with what is called a ‘naked spine’. Essentially you are trying to get all of the other muscles that are not specifically built for heavy lifting and deceleration of high speed rotation force, ligaments and tendons to secure the spine. This is very dangerous.
When you approach the ball to drive or even hit an iron shot, you need to ensure that your body is going to respond correctly. So as you prepare your shot, when you are ready to swing, take that deep breath in, draw the belly back and hold it tight, you are giving your spine the best chance to use all of its muscles for acceleration of the club and deceleration of the club during the swing and follow through phases.
By ensuring that your spine and its surrounding muscles are working and moving correctly, you are inherently ensuring that your swing will be the best it can be, resulting in what we all want: a better, longer drive down the fairway.