When looking at the musculature of human anatomy, the abdominal muscles get a lot of attention. These key muscles are critical for human movement as they allow for extension, lateral bending, and torso rotation. They also allow for the movement of the pelvis and several other important areas. The muscles of the abdomen are located between the protective rib bones, just underneath the chest region and above the pelvic girdle.
Exercise Guides For Your Abs!
The abs are made up of four different regions that work together to provide stability, posture and organ protection. These muscle groups include the rectus abdominis, the external and internal obliques, as well as the transversus.
The rectus abdominis is the largest muscle of the mid-section that enables the lower spine to have the curvature that it does and it allows the pelvis to tilt. It is a pair of long flat muscles that extend vertically down the entire length of the abdomen. It is part of the anterior abdominal muscle group which includes the pyramidalis muscle. Each muscle pair is made up of three to four horizontal tendinous intersections that are connected with narrow tendon bands which give it a multi-bellied appearance.
The external obliques are a pair of thin and broad muscles that run laterally to the rectus abdominis. These run along ribs five through twelve and insert themselves into the linea alba, the pubis and the iliac crest of the hips. They are rectangular in shape and have muscle fibers that run medially across the lateral sides of the abdomen. These allow you to rotate your torso and bend sideways.
For clarification, the linea alba is the portion of the anterior aponeurosis which is a connective tissue that runs down the middle of the abdomen. It is made up of a single fibrous band that serves as a connection or attachment point for the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles. The pubis is the forward portion of the hip bones which are fused with the ilium (hip bone). The iliac crest is the upper curved edge of the hip bone.
The internal obliques are located beneath the external obliques. This muscle group originates at the lumbar fascia, runs along the inguinal ligament (outer edge of the pelvis and groin) and ends at the bottom of the rib cage at the back of the iliac crest. This muscle group supports the abdominal wall, helps in respiration and raises the pressure in the abdominal area. It is a wide muscle that stretches from the front to the back of the torso and helps in the rotation of the spine.
The transverse abdominals (transversus) lie below the internal obliques and wraps around the entire abdominal area. It is deep seated and runs along the inner surface of the 7th to 12th costal cartilages (flexible cartilages where the ribs connect to the breast bone), the thoracolumbar fascia (a sheath that covers the large back muscles), the inguinal ligament (groin) and the iliac crest (upper hip bone). It inserts into the linea alba and the pubic crest and works as a natural weight belt. It is essential for trunk stabilization and keeps your waist tight through an abdominal press which increases intra-abdominal pressure. This type of pressure allows processes such as urination and exhalation.
The upper, middle and lower abs are responsible for flexing the vertebral column or helping you curl your trunk as you would when doing crunches or sitting up in bed. All movement, from walking to playing sports and lifting weights, will involve the use of the abdominal muscles in some manner as they are what stabilize the entire core and keep the body balanced. It is important to have strong abdominals for doing normal day-to-day activities to performing extreme high intensity exercise. In addition, most low-back pain is attributed to weak abdominals so it’s very important to train your abs and strengthen them using the right exercises.