Rectus Abdominus

Diagram of posterior muscles.

The rectus abdominus is a superficial muscle located at the front (anterior) of the body. When toned it can look like a group of muscles, as explained below. It is also known as the abdominals or sometimes merely abs (as in gym-slang).

The rectus abdominus muscle, or 'abs', is especially associated with athletic conditioning. When easily identifiable on toned physiques it is often casually referred to as a 'six-pack'. The muscle definition associated with this muscle, when toned, is due to tendinous bands dividing the rectus abdominous muscle into three or four vertical sections, i.e. giving the appearance of 'rows' of 'stomach muscles', and the linea alba (a region of fibrous connective tissue that lies down the midline of the abdomen) dividing those sections so that they appear to form two columns of 'rippling' muscles.

Origin, Insertion and Actions of the Rectus Abdominus muscles:

Point of Origin:
  • Crest of the pubic bone
Points of Insertion:
  • Cartilage of the 5th to the 7th ribs
  • Xiphoid process, which is also known as the 'xiphoid cartilage', at the lowest part of the sternum ('breastbone').
Action(s):
  • Flexes (bends) the trunk or 'torso' of the body, specifically flexion of the lumbar spine.
  • Depresses the ribcage
  • Helps to stabilize the pelvis during some types of motion (physical activities) e.g. walking.

The rectus abdominus muscle is labelled on the diagram of human anterior muscles.

More about Muscles:

The following are some popular pages in the section about the human muscular system:

There are also more pages about the words used to describe muscles (terminology), the anatomy and physiology of muscles, muscular disorders and associated topics. See also books about sports medicine.

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