Workout Tips

Summer Shred: Transverse Abdominus

What is the transverse abdominis?

The deepest level of abdominal muscles is located under the obliques, wrapping around your spine. The transverse works to stabilize the entire midsection or trunk of the body, protecting the internal organs.

On Days 1, 2, 5 and 6 of our Summer Shred Flat Abs Workout Plan, you'll choose two of the five moves below designed to target your transverse abdominis. Pair these ab moves with your own workout plan or download the complete M&F Summer Shred plan to get a beach-worthy body in just four weeks!


Begin in a full pushup position, feet hip-width apart with a 5-pound dumbbell in your right hand. Rotate torso to the right, reaching dumbbell above right shoulder with right arm extended, pivoting off both feet. Return to center and reach right arm below body, arm extended, drawing in abs and lifting hips slightly. Extend right arm back above right shoulder and repeat. Keep the movement slow and under control, pausing briefly at the top of the movement and the bottom of the twist to maximize your range of motion.

Do two sets of 10 slow reps per side.

Ball Lock Hold

Lie faceup with left leg extended and right knee bent above hip and calf parallel to floor. Place a medicine ball between the right knee and elbow. Lift left leg 6 inches off the floor, foot flexed.

Keeping right upper arm perpendicular to the floor, isometrically press ball between elbow and knee; hold for one minute. Repeat on opposite side.

The Matrix

Kneel on the floor with knees hip-distance apart, holding a medicine ball or weight in front of your chest, elbows down. Keep head, shoulders, and hips aligned. Slowly lean back as far as you can, keeping hips forward without sitting on heels. Hold for three seconds, then slowly come back to starting position.

Do two sets of 20 reps.

Stability Ball Wrist Roll

Get in a plank position on a stability ball, palms together, and elbows below shoulders. Slowly roll wrists in a circular motion, pushing hands forward at center of movement. Do 10 rolls clockwise and then counterclockwise.

Do two sets of 20 reps (10 each way).

Standing Band Pulse

Attach a resistance band to a sturdy piece of equipment. (Or use cables set to chin height.) Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width and holding the handle just below chin height, knees slightly bent. Keeping arms extended, pulse 12 inches past right shoulder, returning 12 inches past left shoulder. (Think 10 and 2 on a clock face). Work against the resistance of the band; try not to let it pull you toward the anchor point.

Do two sets of 20 reps per side.

What about planks?

Planking is great for working the transverse abdominals, posture, and isometric strength and core stability. Planking after cardio, or as active rest between sets, can be very beneficial. But to fully develop the core, you need to overload it, says Caccavale. That means adding weight or resistance and taking the muscles through their full range of motion.

Return to the 2016 Summer Shred>>