Kettlebells are the newest obsession in the fitness world, and for good reason. A single weight that targets every muscle in your body, a kettlebell workout does more than tone and strengthen your muscles. Kettlebells also cause the heart rate to sky rocket because of all the large muscles being used. The transverse abdominis, or TVA, is one of the main muscles targeted during a kettlebell workout. The TVA muscle is used to support and stabilize the spine, and is used throughout kettlebell exercises.
The kettlebell swing is a total body movement that revs up your heart rate and metabolism. The TVA muscle works during this movement to keep your body stabilized throughout the swing motion. To perform, stand with feet hip-width apart while holding a kettlebell in your hands. Squat down and slowly swing the kettlebell back through your legs. As the kettlebell swings forward, explode up through your legs. Let the bell fly freely up to eye height, then reverse the movement to the start. The movement should be felt in your lower body and not your shoulders. Perform three sets of 20 swings.
The kettlebell windmill is mainly an abdominal exercise. The move targets the shoulders as well, but the bulk of the exercise can be felt in the transverse abdominis. To perform, stand with your feet far apart with a kettlebell in your left hand. Raise the bell overhead. With your left hand in the air holding the bell, slowly reach toward your left toes with your right hand. Touch your left foot if you can, then return to the start. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift
The TVA muscle is used in the sumo deadlift for control and to keep the spine straight and stabilized. To perform, stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with a kettlebell between your feet. Squat down and grab the bell. Pull the kettlebell off the floor as you stand up straight. Lower the bell back to the ground, keeping your back straight and stable. Repeat the move for three sets of 10 repetitions.
The snatch is an advanced move that should only be performed once you are completely comfortable with kettlebells. This movement involves every large muscle in the body and uses the TVA muscle to keep the body stabilized throughout the movement. To perform a snatch, begin with feet hip-width apart and a kettlebell in one hand. Squat down with the bell in between your feet. Swing the bell upward like you would in a kettlebell swing, but let the bell swing all the way up to your head. As it rises, lower into a small squat. Punch through the bell with your arm and power through your legs to stand up as the bell gets overhead. You should end with your arm straight in the air with the bell. Aim for three sets of 10 snatches.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.