Abdominal Muscle Anatomy
Rectus Abdominus: 6 Pack Abs
Here's a more in-depth description of the rectus abdominus (6 pack) for someone who really likes anatomy.
If you are not really familiar with anatomy, read the introduction to abdominal muscle anatomy.
The 4 main muscles of the front of your stomach are the internal obliques, the transverse abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the rectus abdominus.
The Rectus (6 pack abs muscle) originates (starts) on the pubic symphysis and the pubic crest, and it inserts (finishes) on the xiphoid process of the sternum and the 5th-7th costal cartilages.
It gets its nerve supply from the ventral rami of the inferior six thoracic nerves.
Its actions are to compress the abdominal contents to stabilize the spine, and flex the spine (pull it forward like in crunches).
The rectus, like the external oblique is a phasic muscle. All this means is that it's primary role is to move the spine, and its secondary role is to stabilize the spine.
The rectus provides most of the strength for bending motions in the spine, and it is also an important muscle to strengthen for throwing, jumping and running sports.
What is the 6 pack?
The rectus is the muscle that gives you the 6 pack abs look. The rectus has white tendinous intersections that divide the muscle into sections.
Since the rectus is only anchored to bone at its ends, it does not have great leverage without the tendinous intersections. The tendinous intersections serve to add leverage points for the muscle fibers so that it can pull and move more efficiently.
Everyone generally has the same abdominal anatomy, but not everyone can see their rectus (6 pack abs muscle) because of subcutaneous body fat.
If you want to achieve that 6 pack abs look, you need to lower your body fat percentage.
Ab exercises by themselves are not enough to get 6 pack abs. Ab exercises will strengthen your muscles and help you to tone, but if you are overweight you need to focus on cardio, weight training, and proper nutrition to get six pack abs.
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I hope that helps to give you a better understanding of the rectus abdominus and 6 pack abs.
Yours in Health
Charles Inniss, DPT
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