Your abs or rectus abdominis is a primary muscle in your abdominal region. It travels from your pubic bones to your ribs and protects your internal organs. The rectus abdominis appears as a pair, and each pair divides into three segments of connective tissues, which many colloquially refer to as the six-pack.
A six-pack requires a lot of hard work; in terms of physical exercise to make them bigger and defined; and diet to reduce your body fat sufficiently. Nevertheless, it is often the case that most people develop asymmetrical or crooked abs.
Crooked abs are when the rectus abdominis pairs are of equal size, but the three connective tissue segments do not symmetrically line up, resulting in a crooked or uneven appearance. Uneven abs can be a source of worry and frustration for many as they consider symmetrical abs more aesthetically pleasing.
Although crooked or asymmetrical abs are not something to worry about as they are perfectly normal. In addition, they are also common among persons with chiseled abs.
Causes of crooked abs
There are several possible causes of crooked abs, and here are some of them:
Genetics accounts for the cause of most crooked abs. Your six-pack’s appearance results from different factors, including the rectus’ origin, shape, and general placement. Your genetic make-up generally determines these factors, making it difficult to alter. In addition, it does not matter if you have low body fat with well-defined abs.
The staggering influence of genetics is also evident in that some people may develop a four-, eight-, or ten-pack. This is because the rectus pairs do not always divide into three segments. Occasionally also, the rectus abdominis pairs may not divide into equal segments, with a strip having two segments and the other strip sporting three segments.
Genetics may be the most common cause of crooked abs, but posture can also contribute. Many people do not possess symmetrical shoulders, which can significantly affect the abdominal muscles.
Additionally, a minor tilt in a shoulder can shift your spine’s general neutrality. This results in your musculature realigning your midsection to accommodate the shoulder tilt. As a result, one side of the abs becomes longer due to more stretching stress.
Other than the shoulders, your back muscles, including the rhomboids and the lats, can also be responsible for your musculature imbalance. You may also experience other symptoms, including back or shoulder pain.
Sports and recreation
Sports could also be the reason for crooked abs. For example, sports that emphasize one-armed motions, such as baseball, golf, volleyball, or tennis, could contribute to developing crooked abs.
Relying on one arm much more than the other can result in inadvertently developing that side of your core more than the other. This is also possible from weightlifting, particularly if you consciously or subconsciously focus on a side of your body while working out.
Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles separate at the body’s midline. It is common in persons who are or have just been pregnant. However, weightlifters can also experience it if they forcefully push out their abdominal muscles while working out.
Diastasis Recti can make the abs crooked, but it also has more serious effects. The condition can cause core muscle weakness if it affects the rectus abdominis, leading to other problems like organ prolapse or back pain. As a result, diastasis recti also requires medical attention, unlike the other causes.
Scoliosis refers to abnormal spine curvature. The spine curvature may be in the form of a c- or s-shape curvature. The curvature commonly develops around puberty and is generally mild, but it can get more severe in time.
A skeletal effect of scoliosis is that one shoulder and hip appear higher than the other. This unevenness can translate to asymmetry in the transversus abdominalis. Scoliosis also causes a difference in shoulder blade prominence. Depending on the curvature’s severity, the person with the condition may also experience breathing problems and back pain.
How to address uneven abs
Depending on the cause of your abs’ asymmetry, it may either be permanent or fixable. For example, if it results from another physical condition, like scoliosis or simply genetics, it may be challenging to treat it. On the other hand, it may be addressable if it results from improper training or sports. Here are some tips regarding addressing it:
Work out your abs evenly
Working out your abs equally can redress your six-pack’s uneven appearance, especially if you notice it early on. You can start by getting rid of uneven abdominal fat, and losing the abdominal fat deposits in your lower abdomen. Emphasize cardiovascular exercises like running, jumping ropes, swimming, or cycling.
You can also avoid doing sit-ups and crunches to reduce working your upper abs. Instead, you can replace crunches with exercises that emphasize one side, including one-armed chest presses or one-armed planks.
You can also try pulling exercises like pallof exercises or one-armed rows. Suitcase carries with dumbbells in only one arm can also strengthen the core on the affected body side. Consider setting up a home gym if your gym does not have any suitable equipment for your necessary workout.
Practice proper posture
Ensuring that you correct any postural defect can also help you remedy your uneven abs. You can practice straightening your back if you notice you slouch when walking or sitting. Developing a routine that involves you assessing your posture every time you walk, stand, or sit can significantly help correct your postural defect.
You can also work on strengthening your shoulder and back muscles to improve your posture. This is because postural defects often result from weak or uneven shoulder or back muscles. As a result, exercises like planking, back extensions, bridges, and side leg raises are useful for improving your posture.
Massaging your shoulders or back to loosen tight and uneven muscles can also help. You can try feeling your shoulders to identify any knots, subsequently massaging them with your fingers or a roller to loosen them. You may also consider the services of a chiropractor to help with your postural defects if you are facing difficulties addressing them yourself.