Keeping along with the fun of the previous mythbuster series, we’re here to address ab muscle. 

Do we have a lower, middle, and upper set of abdominal muscles?  Like lower abs, middle abs, and upper abs??


As we’ve stated in previous newsletters / articles, if only things we’re so simple, it would sure make life a whole lot easier! 

Quickly, lets go over the actual ab muscles, so feel free to skim past since it will be a quick piece on their names.  So, from the outermost portion (superficial) to the innermost portion (deep), we have our external oblique, rectus abdominis, internal oblique, and our transverse abdominis.  Those four muscles are what comprise our actual ab musculature (yes there are more if you include intercostals and muscles around the trunk – just thinking of abdominal muscles here). 

Each of our abdominals, in simplistic terms, originate from our pelvis (various portions of it), up to our ribs/sternum area. 

Think of each of these muscles similar to a blanket that lays across your stomach, so rather than there being segments of a lower, middle, and upper portion of them, each of them, independently, is just laying across in their own respective layer. 

With that said, what can we do that works them the most?!  Using weird tools like an EMG (electromyography), something that measures the electrical activity in the muscle, we can see what works the ab’s better than others. With that, contrary to popular belief, doing sit ups and ab-specific exercises has actually been shown to have a lower level of activation than we may have originally thought (1)! 

Instead, as much as we may hate it, higher intensity squats, and similar movements like high-intensity deadlifts, have been shown to have higher levels of abdominal muscle activation than movements like planks (1)! 

At the end of the day, keeping with the foundational compound exercises that work multiple joints at one time will get us in the direction we’re looking to go!  As always, reach out to find out what may be best for you!