You may be wondering, what the hell is the T-line? The T-Line engagement is the building block to your core strength and managing your back pain. T Line is Pilates speak for the engagement of the Tranverse Abdominis otherwise known as the TA. Without proper lower abdominal engagement, you will not effectively build your core strength.
What will happen is, you will have other more dominant muscles take over, creating muscle imbalances, you also run a very high risk of injury. Engaging the T-Line is crucial to managing back pain, it is like the bottom layer of the pyramid and without it, the rest will just fall over, a bit like how your back will feel if you don't take control of your abdominals.
It All Starts With The Pelvic Floor
Pelvic floor engagement is crucial at this stage, be careful though, if you over engage this in the early stage, this will also reduce the correct engagement. Yes it is all a bit technical, but well worth learning correctly if you are going to take control of your abdominals and the back pain you may be experiencing.
The fact is that T-line engagement and Pilates is the best way to manage back pain and build core strength, it just sometimes needs a little patience while you are building your strength and learning the technique.
To activate the T-Line apply the following method
Imagine a horizontal line from hip bone to hip bone, forming the top of the T just below the belly button, then imagine the line running vertically from the pubis or pubic bone vertically upwards to meet this horizontal line
Stand on the ball points of feet and move into a standing posture.
Activate the pelvic floor muscles by approximately 10%. This is very subtle and no activation of the abdominal wall should be felt.
Attempt to elevate the pelvic floor to feel an activation of the abdominal wall at the pubic bone only. If done too hard, an activation of the abdominal wall at the middle point of the pelvis will be felt. This indicates the obliques have engaged and not the transverse abdominis.
Place two fingers onto the pubic bone where the abdominal wall has engaged. Slowly slide your fingers towards the centre of the horizontal line at the same time draw all those muscles your fingers pass away from your finger toward the spine as if to do a up a zipper on a tight pair of jeans. A feeling of the abdominal wall tightening will be felt.
Place your fingers onto the hips. Slide the fingers gently toward the center of the horizontal line whilst imagining drawing the hip bones in to the center of the horizontal line as if to do up the buttons in a tight pair of jeans.
At this point you should get a sense of tensioning in the lower abs. Now practise practise practise, the Tline activation is the foundation building block for building core strength and managing your back pain. You can take control of your pain, move freely and live a vibrant life, it all starts here and now.
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Reference: The Australia Pilates Academy