crossfit gloves, anatomy lesson 6

Purpose of Ab Muscles

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If only we could just draw on some 6 Pack Abs!  This is one of the coolest series of pics I’ve ever seen and it really is a great visual to illustrate how each of our muscle groups is supported by and connected to the other.

You’ve undoubtedly heard your personal trainer, a friend, or someone at the gym say “we all have 6 pack abs, it’s just a matter of if you can see them or not.”  This is indeed true, we do all have abs muscles and they server a far greater purpose than getting you 15 minutes of reality show fame.

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So what is the purpose of ab muscles?


Below your rib cage and above your pelvic bone there is no skeletal structure.  The ab muscles are responsible for protecting internal organs as well as to provide postural support.  Aside from this the abdominal muscles assist in breathing and are responsible for “moving” your spine and upper body in a forward motion while also preventing hyper-extension of the back muscles.

We all have em and whether or not you care about the purpose of ab muscles, chances are at one point or another you’ve had the desire to get 6 pack abs.    Abs as you know them from looking at pics of shirtless guys or girls appear to be 6 “sections.”  In fact the abs are defined by 4 vertical sections on each side, totaling 8.   The bottom two sections are just above the pubic bone and a rarely not visible, hence why most refer to them as a 6 pack.

If you’re a guy you might have read our article on v shaped abs.  If you’re one of the lucky few to be able to get your body fat lean enough and develop those lower ab muscle, you’re proudly sporting the “v to the p” or “money maker.”  If you’re like the rest of us, you probably have a lot of work to do to even begin to see a 6 pack.

Most importantly of course is assuring that your body composition is lean enough for 6 pack abs to appear.  While the purpose of ab muscles might be purely function, the cosmetic benefit of visible ab muscles has long been a sign of virility, athleticism and fitness.

Just like any body part or muscle group some people are more genetically inclined to develop visible 6 pack abs while others may struggle.  Most important when training the ab muscles is that you don’t just consider them aesthetically, but functionally as well.   Consult with a good personal trainer to help you develop a core training program that can help you reach your goals.