What are Abdominal Muscles?

An anatomical illustration showing many muscles in the upper body, including most of the abdominal muscles.
Abdominal muscles help support the body's internal organs.
A ruptured muscle in the abdomen can lead to intense stomach pain.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The abdominal muscles are a group muscles in a person's upper body. They run from a person's ribs all the way down to the pelvis. These muscles make it possible for a person to move his upper body in all sorts of directions. They also assist in posture, breathing, and movement of the legs.

One of the abdominal muscles is called the transverse muscle. This muscle runs from a person's ribs down to his hips. It goes around a person's body, wrapping around from the front to the back, moving out from the center part of the trunk. This abdominal muscle is important in providing support for the body's internal organs and helping with exhalation. It also helps to stabilize the trunk.

The internal obliques are also important abdominal muscles. They can be found just a tad closer to the skin's surface than the transverse abdominal muscles and on both sides of a person's torso. The fibers of these muscles can be found in different parts of the upper body, ranging from the frontal hip area to the lower part of the ribs. The internal obliques create an upside-down V shape in the body, playing important roles in supporting the abdominal organs, breathing, spinal rotation and flexing. However, they do not work alone; they often work in conjunction with other abdominal muscles.

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The internal obliques are not the only muscles located on either side of the body. The external obliques are located there too. However, they are closer to the surface of the body than the internal obliques and the transverse abdominal muscles. These muscles don't have much of a role to play in posture, but they do help with rotation and flexing of the spine.

The abdominal muscle that is closest to the surface of the skin is called the rectus abdominus. This muscle can be found from the front of a person's ribs to the pelvis, and it has less of an effect on the posture that the internal obliques and the transverse muscles. The main purpose of this abdominal muscle is to facilitate the spine's forward movement and flexing.

Often, the abdominal muscles are discussed when people want to lose weight and tone their bodies. There are numerous exercises intended to tone different abdominal muscles. However, many people seek to get a six pack, which is a very toned, defined abdomen. When this look is achieved, it is because the rectus abdominus has been well-toned.

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anon41816
Post 1

Over ten years ago my healthy and active mother was diagnosed from Mayo Clinic with atrophy para spinal muscles. She is now 73 and walks with a cane or a walker on long distances. She wants to be seen by the best paraspinal health care facility and work with a trained physical therapist, who specializes in paraspinal muscles. Where is the best place in the USA? How can she learn more about her condition?

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