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Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Workout - Transverse Abdominis

I am excited to share what I have been doing over the past 6 weeks after finding out that my transverse abdominis  (TA) was not firing. Here is a forewarning, it isn't exciting. It is really boring, but I have seen vast improvement!  I am not a doctor, and I can't promise this will work for everyone. I am simply recapping what has worked for me.

The first thing we did was find the TA by placing my hands on my sides, and just to the inside of my pelvis very near to the C-section scar.  It took a lot of mental power to press these muscles outward to feel a slight push on my fingers. Then try to do it while breathing...this was nearly impossible.  

So I practiced, 3 times a day, 10x3-5 seconds hold, and it quickly became easier. Like within the day even. Then we added the following series, all while activating and engaging as described above. 

1.Childs pose -- build up to 60 seconds. At first I could only hold this for 10-15 seconds at a time, and had to take breaks.

2. Cat Camel -- 3x10 holding the TA in the engaged position and slowly moving. At first I could only do 3 sets of 3 or 4 and slowly worked up to 10.  As soon as I could no longer keep the muscle engaged I would take 30 seconds break, and do as many of the next set as I could.

3. Supine Low Back Twist. -- 3x30 seconds. engage the TA and slowly lower the knees, holding each stretch for 30 seconds before slowly moving back to the middle and then to the next size. Again I could only hold for 10-15 seconds starting out, and had to take breaks.

4. Pelvic Tilt -- 3x10 moving very slowly, and maintaining engagement through the movement. 3-4 of each set was hard at first.

5. Bird Dog -- 3x10 again very slow movement keeping the TA engaged the entire time, and making sure the glute was firing to straighten the leg going back.

6. Mckenzie Extension -- 3x10 This was very hard for me, use your arms to push up using VERY LITTLE LOW BACK.  I struggled to do this for 2-3 weeks.  As soon as I would push up, I would let the TA loosen, and have to start over. I focused on doing one right, and slowly was able to do more. 

7. Bird Dog on the Physio Ball --3x10 same as bird dog.  I really struggled to be able to breathe while doing this at first. It took a lot of mental power to handle staying stable, breathing, keeping my TA engaged and using my glute. 

8. Prone Cross Crawl-- 3x10 Keeping the TA tight while slowly moving and firing the glute. 

I am sorry these are not photos of me, but I had such a response asking to see the exercises I wanted to get the blog out! 

To answer the question the Taylor Swift can't stop asking, NO we are not out of the woods yet! I have a lot of work to do, and I will be getting more progressive training exercises in the near future.  I look forward to sharing them with you. Please feel free to post any questions you may have!  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Getting My Transverse Abdominis Up and Running

I am finally back out running!  It took me 6 weeks of elliptigo and many many hours of rehab just to get back on my feet.  I learned after the Olympic Trials what was going on, and why I was in so much pain. My transverse abdominis was not firing!  The transverse abdominis is cut during a C-section, and my brain and this very important muscle were no longer communicating due to the trauma.  It took a lot of mental power just to get the thing firing again, and after about 3 weeks of brain aching, very small movement workouts it finally became more and more easy to get it firing, and working again.  I was still in some pain, so I was on the elliptigo for 6 weeks.  2 weeks ago, I slowly started back to running a little.  I am still not doing any hard workouts, and spending a lot of time working on building the strength back in my core.  I feel lucky to have Dr. Leo figure out what was wrong and prescribe the very boring, yet effective workout to start the process. 


As you can see here the TA is a large part of the core, and explains a lot about how I have felt over the past 2 years in coming back to running. I felt like I would tire more quickly than I used to, and unfortunately attributed this to coming back from having the kids, and something that would just take time to get back to.  In marathons in the past I would begin to really feel fatigue around mile 22.  But at Grandma's I felt it around mile 15, at columbus around mile 18, and at the trials things were too messed up from not using it all this time, that I was beat up by mile 11. I thought I simply had a long road ahead of regaining fitness, and tried to stay patient.  Since finding out what has been going on I feel immense hope of the future!  I should not be able to run fast without using this muscle as the function of the TA's main function is to activate the core muscles and stabilize the pelvis and low back. This explained why my back and butt was a mess. The exciting part is that I can fix it!  It is going to take a lot of boring, brain numbing, and annoying work to get my body working as a whole, but when it is...I will be faster!

I can't wait to be back in this beautiful singlet and chasing down some PR's!  I have a lot of work to do, and I look forward to it!  I encourage mommas out there to find a good Doctor and PT to help you get back at 100%.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  My next post will be sharing my activation series for all of you out there looking for how to get the TA back up and running!