Anatomy – Muscular System – Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles have different important functions. They provide movement and support to the trunk and assist in the breathing process that are essentials in practicing yoga. The abdominal section is a key element to support the spine and contribute to a good posture. Listed below are the main 5 abdominal muscles, origins and actions.

Rectus Abdominis –  (Action) Flexes the vertebral column and compresses the abdomen. (Origins) Crest of pubis.

Transverse Abdominis –  (Action) Compresses the abdomen. (Origins) Lateral part of inguinal ligament, iliac crest, thoracolumbar fascia and cartilage of the lower six ribs.

Internal Oblique – (Action) Compresses abdominal contents, laterally flexes and rotates vertebral column. (Origin) Lateral half of inguinal ligament, iliac crest and thoracolumbar fascia.

External Oblique –  (Action) Compresses abdominal contents, laterally flexes and rotates vertebral column. (Origins) Lower eight ribs

Linea Alba – It consists of mostly connective tissue and doesn’t contain any primary nerves or blood vessels.  (Action) It seperates the left and right rectus abdominins muscles. (Origins) Acts as a sheath covering for the rectus abdominins.

Most people think of the core muscles as a nice six pack or strong, tone abs, but the truth is that the abdominal muscles are a very small part of the core. The abs have very limited and specific action and what experts refer to as the “core” actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements in Yoga, Pilates and many other forms of exercises.