T Nation

Ab strain?

During a recent session of 8x8 squats (dont ask) I did 2 very poor reps that came out more like good mornings with a few twists. No real pain but later I noticed the second horizontal line in my abs looks irregular on the left hand side (crooked maybe with possibly a wider section) which later gave off a dull sensation. 5 days later I dont have pain but the second ab down on that side seems to stick out a little and I have a general sensation on my right midsection around to my back. I saw the doctor yest. and he said its nothing but he isnt exactly a sport doc. This is a relatively common “ab strain” or something that will go away in a few days with a little stretching isnt it …?

Dre, brutha man, wassup. Remember that the abdominals are a big wall of muscle and the six-pack appearance or the horizontal lines that separate the abs are actually…well, I can’t think if they veins or what, off hand…but you may have aggravated and/or adjusted one of them there lines (if ya know what I mean) and that’s what’s causing the appearance and pain.

The lines Timbo’s talking about are called “tendonous inscriptions”. They divide the abdoninal wall into its block like structure try to think of each block as a seperate muscle linked by a tendonous seam. Sound like you’ve partially ruptured it! There is nothing you can really do for that injury other than hope for the deformity to subside. I doubt it will though (sorry!). Only thing I can say is learn from the mistake… It happens to the best of us. There is a good possibility if you squat to heavy and make a similar break in form that area is much more likley to rupture further since it has been weakened structurally. Just curious: Were you wearing a belt? Are you an athlete (power lifter etc…)? You may want to consider wearing a belt with the very heavy weights now to distribute abdominal stress more evenly. I don’t wear one but I rarely drop below 8 reps now anyway.

Many thanks for the responses guys. Last night was the first time in 6 days it occured to me the damage might be in the line rather than muscle and my doctor really couldnt tell me anything about various ab injuries so much respect to you guys for identifing the posibility. There really wasnt any pain and my strength and functionality wasnt affected - its just a dull sensation and today it is subsiding a little. I noticed that alot of bodybuilders have similar non symetrical and unstraight lines on one side of their abs so needless to say Im pretty curious about the permanence of the change at the moment. Light stretching helps alot and Im back at the gym tonight. Mark Im not an athlete and further thanks for the belt tip. At this stage Ill do core strength work where I used to dl and squat and continue my search for an experienced coach that can teach me proper squatting (hopefully Ian King stomach in style because Ive been pushing out for better lifts which I think contributed). Any further info would be appreciated.

Dre, sounds to me like (1) you need to see a qualified sports injury therapist. It’s always better to have an expert opinion, especially if you’re still feeling the effects 6 days later. (2) It’s a really bad idea to break form on squats. In addition to running the risk of injury, you don’t get the benefit of the exercise. So what’s the point? I always squat either with a good spotter or in a cage now, and if I can’t get the lift in good form, then I just don’t get the lift (at least unassisted). (3) Get Ian King’s Killer Leg Exercises video. I’m personally not a real big fan of his (more of a Poliquin disciple), but the video is very good and will make you think about squats in a whole new way. Good luck!

Dre, bro, as far as aesthetics go, I wouldn’t sweat it too much–unless it’s really goofy looking:-)–you’re right that a lot of pros don’t have a perfectly aligned pack going, and I seem to see some unevenness in my own midsection. Thanks, Mark c, for clearing up the tendons…don’t know why I couldn’t remember that:-)

Thanks Chris - its a minor sensation that is subsiding so I may take it easy and see if it goes before seeing a doc. In return for all the good info here I feel obliged to never break form again. The video idea never occured to me. Timbo - nothing too asthetic about me anyway (added 9 eye stitches this year and in one hit had about 20 in my nose). Im resigned to being a bruiser not a cruiser so I aint worried a bit - just makes me look like a nastier machine ;).

Dre: I would certainly adapt King’s suck,tuck, and squeeze style if you are not power lifting for competition. But if you were not using a belt how were you pushing the abs out during your lift? If you were in fact doing that without a belt then that was a major mistake! You in effect actually DECREASED intra abdominal pressure and are very lucky you didn’t get a hernia! Another reference which gives great info on this subject is Paul Check’s “squatology”. Best of luck…