An abdominal workout is most effective when you use good technique. The supine abdominal contraction is a part of the proper form for your core workouts. It places your back in a safe position and helps stabilize your core movements. The contraction is easy to learn, plus you can feel by touch if you are performing it correctly.
The supine contraction is similar to the feeling of flattening your stomach to fit into a tight pair of pants. You lie face up, supine, on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your fingertips on your abdomen, just below your navel. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you pull your navel toward your spine. You are able to feel this tightening with your fingers and should feel a hollowing in your abdomen. Your lower back remains in contact with the floor as you perform the contraction and try to not move your pelvis. Breathe normally as you do this.
On its own, the supine contraction strengthens the transverse abdominis muscle in your core. The TA muscle is the deepest layer of muscle tissue and is placed around your core like a corset. Learning the supine contraction helps you gain control over the abdominal muscles and also places your pelvis in proper alignment for core exercises such as the abdominal crunch. Your lower back remains flat against the floor to stabilize your abdominal movements.
Tightening your stomach aids your core workout routine. In a supine position, you want your lower back pressed flat into the floor. The contraction helps maintain this position. It also brings your rib cage and hip bones closer together, which begins the abdominal shortening and contractions. When you start your crunch from this position, the effectiveness of the exercise increases and deepens the core contraction.
If you are performing the supine abdominal contraction on its own, aim to complete one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Tighten your stomach and then relax the muscles for one repetition. As your strength improves, maintain the contraction for longer durations, such as five to 15 seconds.
If you are performing the supine contraction during other abdominal training, use proper form. Place your hand below your navel and feel the flattening of your abdominals prior to performing other movements, such as the crunch. Keep your supine contraction until you complete your last repetition.
- University of New Mexico: Super Abs Resource Manual
- Back Stability: Integrating Science and Therapy; Christopher M. Noris
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images