Dr Mel Siff Talks TVA Drawing in Abdominals while Squatting

April 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Powerlifting

Article by mel.sitnx.eqxkbgat

I am a novice powerlifter and I train and compete raw (no wraps, no suits,no belt) and I was wondering what I should be doing with my abs during thesquat. Should I be sucking them in, or pushing them out, or something elsealtogether? Does the same apply to the deadlift and bench? Note that, I holdmy breath throughout most of the lift(s). I begin to exhale after the
sticking point. Will this have any bearing on how I should use my abs? >>

*** What you appear to have been doing intuitively is most appropriate.Breath holding is a reflex action meant to stabilise the body or to enable itto produce maximal force or power under heavily loaded or suddenly imposedstress.

There have been numerous claims that sucking in the abs or deliberatelytrying to activate the transversus abdominis (TA) muscle is the best way ofstabilising the trunk during all activities. While one can voluntarilycontrol muscles during the initial phases of an exercise or during very slowmanoeuvres, it is not possible to do so under dynamic conditions, such asencountered in the later stages of lifting or in any complex sportingactions. In fact, any attempts to do so may profoundly disrupt your movementpatterns, as has been pointed out for many years in the form of this aphorism:
‘paralysis by analysis’.

Another anatomical principle should be remembered in this regard, namely “Thebody knows of movements not muscles”, so that any attempt to deliberatelyalter patterns of muscle activation during dynamic movement in a person whois not exhibiting any neuromuscular pathology may instill faulty patterns,timings and rates of muscle synergism.

Note that all or most advice on ab ‘sucking in’ and TA recruitment has beenextrapolated from the world of ‘average’ folk and not elite athletes, leastof all any type of competitive lifter, few or none of whom would everconsider sucking in abs or trying to activate TA during the dynamic or
explosive phases of the lifts, because these unproven actions could causespinal injury.

Dr Mel C Siff

Dr Mel SiffAuthor of Supertraining + Facts and Fallacies of Fitnesshttp://www.drmelsiff.com

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