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How to do a Rectus abdominis stretch ?

Rectus abdominis stretch is designed to improve the flexibility of the impressive muscle Rectus abdominis which is known for the desired six-pack appearance. It is a general belief that having tight abdominal muscles improves your overall appearance however in reality tight abdominal muscles can have very negative effects on your body ranging from low back pain, abnormal pelvic tilting to pressure on the lumbar joints and discs.

The image shows the Rectus abdominis anatomy
Rectus abdominis anatomy

Relevant anatomy
The rectus abdominis muscles arise in tendinous form from the crest of the pubic bone with some fibers of one of the pair interlacing with the other. This interlacing prevents any weakness across the front of the abdomen. They rise upwards as broad bands to cover the abdominal area and insert on the cartilaginous portions of the fifth, sixth and seventh ribs. Each muscle has three tendinous intersections. The first intersection appears at about where the navel is located. The third, the highest one, near the xiphoid process, that tag end of the sternum. The second, or middle intersection, appears halfway between the other two. The upper three sections of muscle are nearly of equal in size whereas the strip from the pubis to the first intersection is longer and narrower. The two bands of muscle are separated by a tendinous strip called the linea alba.

Actions of the rectus abdominis muscle: These muscles assist in curving your back by drawing the sternum closer to the pelvis. They are what get sucked in when you told to hold in your tummy. They also help to keep the internal organs in place. Since the small intestine is particularly vulnerable to being moved in any way, this protection is vitally important.

The image shows how to perform a Rectus Abdominis Stretch
Rectus Abdominis Stretch

Rectus Abdominis Stretch

To begin this abdominal stretch, lie down on your stomach with your hands in the press up position as shown, now gently straighten your elbows and push the upper torso back with arms until stretch is felt. Tilt your head as far back as possible and hold the stretch for 8 to10 seconds and release slowly.