What Is CoreCoach TVA Trainer?
The CoreCoach TVA Trainer is an at-home device that promises to target and strengthen the transverse abdominis (TVA) muscle, which could help provide relief from back pain and allow you to enjoy the activities you love.
Made from TPU nylon coated fabric (the same material used for camping mats), the adjustable belt features a pressure sensitive lumbar pillow fitted in the perfect place. While laying on the floor, you simply press down with your lower back, which changes the pressure in the pillow and is reflected in the Muscle Activation Gauge.
Using this instant feedback via the gauge’s needle, you’ll be able to maintain the right amount of pressure, leading to “the perfect TVA strengthening zone.” You can also incorporate different leg movements for advanced exercises.
When repeated four times per week, four minutes each session, the CoreCoach website tells us that the TVA Trainer can help anyone find relief from back pain—and everyone achieve a stronger core.
Back pain is extraordinarily common, but it’s also a complex issue. With this in mind, will strengthening your core muscles help you find some relief? And if so, is the CoreCoach TVA Trainer the best way to accomplish it?
Let’s kick things off by quickly discussing why back pain is such a complicated diagnosis.
The Many Causes of Chronic Back Pain
Just like illness can be caused by a variety of microbes and viruses, chronic pain, whether in the back or anywhere else on the body, can be rooted in perhaps thousands of different sources. Like what?
Cancer and other disease, stomach ulcers, arthritis, broken bones and other trauma—you name it. Even if we’re specifically referencing chronic back pain, this can be caused by disease, in addition to slipped or torn discs, degeneration related to normal aging, sciatica, strained muscles and ligaments, and so forth.
In short, all of this means that if you’re experiencing frequent back pain, the first person you speak with should be your doctor. Just like if you were experiencing a fever, they’ll be able to run tests to properly diagnosis the cause of your back pain, and then formulate a treatment plan accordingly.
In the meantime, what about the transverse abdominis muscle mentioned on the TVA Trainer website? Is there clinical evidence that it’s closely related to back pain?
What’s the Relationship Between the Transverse Abdominis Muscle, Back Pain, and the CoreCoach TVA Trainer?
Among the four types of abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis is the deepest. In fact, it’s so deep that it wraps around your spine and plays a major role in stabilizing the body before movement.
As a result, it makes sense that having a strong, stable TrA muscle could provide a variety of benefits, from everyday functions like sitting and standing, to helping maintain appropriate posture and minimizing pain. This is actually the main premise behind the TVA Trainer, according to CoreCoach’s main website:
"It turns out that many people, athletes and non-athletes alike, do not fully activate their TVA--they just don't have good control of the muscle. The result is often a weak TVA and compensation by other muscles. This can lead to back spasms, misalignment, and other more serious issues. Activating and strengthening the TVA may help correct these issues and will relieve the pressure on your spine. Less pressure on your spine can help relieve disc degeneration (spondylosis) and related issues."
But this raises two central questions related to the CoreCoach TVA Trainer:
- First, is poor TrA strength and stability a common cause of back pain?
- Second, if so, have the exercises you’ll perform with the device been clinical shown to a) activate the TrA muscle and b) consequently deliver relief from back pain?
Does the TrA Play a Role In Back Pain and Can Its Activation Provide Relief?
According to a 2004 article about core strengthening in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, there is some clinical evidence that TrA muscle activation can be delayed in individuals with back pain. But is this delay necessarily responsible for these individuals’ pain?
At the time of our research, searching the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed site for “transverse abdominis low back pain” returned about 45 results. Of these, we found the majority seemed to measure TrA activation, but little-to-none reported a conclusive link between delayed activation and back pain, or that manually activating the TrA (through a device like the TVA Trainer, or other methods) could provide back pain relief.
Even the article cited on the CoreCoach website only referenced TrA activation, but didn’t draw a correlation between it and back pain relief.
Furthermore, writing for MikeReinold.com, Harrison Vaughan, a physical therapist in South Hill, VA summarizes his thoughts based on the available evidence:
“Activating transverse abdominis stating it will give stability when everyday aches and pains arise just doesn’t seem feasible … I think having the transversus abdominus as an active component in the treatment is somewhat useful, but not conclusive.”
Will the CoreCoach TVA Trainer Cause Any Side Effects?
While most of the clinical evidence and professional feedback we encountered during our research didn’t correlate TrA muscle activation and back pain relief, other than perhaps strain from overuse, we also didn’t read about any specific side effects.
With this said, the CoreCoach website notes that “you are advised to consult with your healthcare provider before using any MyCore Health, Inc. products or programs.”
Also, that “This product is an exercise device and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
How Much Does the CoreCoach TVA Trainer Cost?
One TVA Trainer is priced at two payments of $39.95, including free shipping.
Along with your order, you’ll receive three free bonuses:
- CoreCoach Mobile App
- CoreCoach Training Guide
- NeckCoach Trainer to help you relieve neck pain
All TV Trainers come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H, as well as a 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. In order to request either, you’ll need to contact customer support at 415-390-6071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are customers experiencing meaningful relief based on the price they paid?
What Can We Learn From TVA Trainer Reviews?
On Amazon, the TVA Trainer (formerly known as the Kenzoco Core Stabilizer) had nearly 20 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.7 stars at the time of our research. Common compliments referenced ease of use (including the videos), high quality (again, both the device and the videos), and effective stabilization.
However, very few specifically referenced reduced pain (some did mention preventing it, but not necessarily decreased existing pain) as a result of this stabilization.
From a company perspective, the TVA trainer is manufactured by MyCore Health, Inc. based out of San Raphael, CA. According to the device’s website, the company’s CEO and Founder, Phil Alwitt, claims the TVA Trainer eliminated his spasms “after 20 years, 3 herniated discs, 2 inches less height due to disc degeneration, and 25% of my life laid up.”
Previously, Phil worked in project management for companies like SolarCity and PMP.
Despite being in business since 2016, the company wasn’t listed with the Better Business Bureau as of 5/26/17.
Was There Any Customer Feedback for the TVA Trainer App?
According to their iTunes and Google Play descriptions, CoreCoach’s TVA Trainer app for Android and iOS devices “provides progressive training videos and instructions for use with the device. The results provide great core stability. If you suffer from back pain, use of this device offers excellent back pain relief.”
Unfortunately, the device and its app were too new at the time of our research to have garnered any online customer feedback. With this said, the app appeared to be more of a companion feature than a must-have, since these same videos are also available online through any Internet-connected device.
CoreCoach’s companion iOS and Android app for the TVA Trainer provides access to 12 workout videos, how-to videos, and a calendar-based workout history. Image credit: Apple Corporation
App access or not, does the TVA Trainer have any competition?
Are There Other Similar Products to the TVA Trainer?
While we didn’t encounter any products exactly like CoreCoach’s TVA Trainer during our research, perhaps the closest option was the Chattanooga Stabilizer, priced at about $60.
While this featured a similar air pillow design attached to a pressure gauge as TVA Trainer, the biggest differences seemed to be its gauge, which measures exact pressure (versus TVA’s zones), along with its more basic functionality (versus TVA’s belt-based design) and no app access.
Without available clinical evidence showing that one design was more effective than another, only you can decide if TVA’s additional $20 is merited.
Pro tip: Based on its basic design, it seems that the CoreCoach TVA Trainer and the Chattanooga Stabilizer worked very similar to a standard blood pressure cuff, which could be found for as little as $15 at the time of our research. Granted, you won’t get the same app connectivity or instructional videos.
Outside of this, we found dozens of sites promoting transverse abdominis exercises that might provide the same level of stabilization as CoreCoach’s TVA Trainer, without the need for purchasing a separate device.
Taking everything together, where does this leave us when it comes to the TVA Trainer?
Our Bottom Line About the CoreCoach TVA Trainer
When it comes down to it, CoreCoach’s TVA Trainer seemed to come with near unanimous (although limited) customer feedback, and to be supported by a company who’s passionate about helping customers find meaningful relief from their back pain (chronic or otherwise).
And based on what we learned from the available clinical evidence as listed on authoritative websites like NIH’s PubMed, it seemed like the exercises you’ll perform with TVA Trainer could potentially help activate your TrA muscle.
However, this same clinical evidence didn’t seem to:
- Agree upon a “perfect TVA strengthening zone,” as mentioned on the device’s website,
- Indicate that the TrA muscle plays a significant role in common back pain, or
- Draw a clear correlation between TrA muscle activation and reduced back pain.
Regardless, you won’t lose any initial S&H charges if you decide to take advantage of the manufacturer’s 60-day refund policy, so you might not have much more to lose than return shipping if it doesn’t provide relief.
In order to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, though, we might recommend speaking with your doctor about appropriate options based on your specific diagnosis before placing an order.
Did the CoreCoach TVA Trainer relieve your back pain? Give us, and millions of monthly readers, the inside scoop by writing your review below.
1 out 1 people found this review helpful
CoreCoach TVA Trainer
I'm a personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach, and I've been using pressure biofeedback devices for years to assist my clients in building core strength. If your back pain is the result of a weak TVA and or lower abdominals, which in my experience happens all too frequently, then it's essential to strengthen your core muscles appropriately. The CoreCoach allows clients to do this in the comfort of their own homes.
All my clients have benefited from learning how to properly activate their core muscles. It allows them to move pain-free and with less risk of injury. I highly recommend a CoreCoach to anyone with low back pain as in the progressive training videos you actually learn to test your TVA and low abs. If you can successfully lower your straight legs down to the floor while engaging your TVA, then you probably don't need it. I'll bet you can't.
Every dynamic movement begins in our core, and without a strong core, you shouldn't be lifting or exercising. I train all my clients on how to strengthen their bodies beginning with their core muscles. Strong core, strong body.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend