T Nation

My Small Ab Hernia

My doctor said I probably have a small asymptomatic abdominal hernia and I don’t know what to do. I have a bit of a complicated situation and history; I’ll spill it all out below. I have only 6% body fat and have been very lean nearly all of my life. I have good muscle definition everywhere, except that my abs bulge out (about 2 or 3 inches further than my chest). I HATE my abs. They’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. (I’m 27 now.) I decided to see a doctor when I got my body fat measured a month ago. After the 6% reading, I realized that it wasn’t fat that was causing my abs to stick out and I wanted to know what was in there! The doctor I saw yesterday was my gastroenterologist; I had Crohns disease about 15 years ago but have been in remission since. I still see him annually. He noticed that I had a bit of a separation in the lower left and right muscles of the abs and said I probably have a small abdominal hernia. (He emphasized “probably.”) I’m completely asymptomatic (both with regard to Crohns and the potential hernia) and he said it would not be worth the risk to have surgery. I’m trying to bulk up because I’m thin (only 5’5" 130) but I’m worried my waist will just get bigger and extend even more inches beyond my chest even if the rest of my body gets stronger and better looking. I was once a bit heavier and had a huge waist (but I also wasn’t working out or eating right).

Has anyone else had an asymptomatic ab hernia that made your abs look bad? Or has anyone else here had a low % body fat but bad abs? What would you do if you were me? Just live with it? Still try to bulk up and make the most out of my situation? Maybe I can develop a nice chest, arms, shoulders, etc. even if my abs will always look bad. Or would you keep searching until you found a surgeon willing to operate on the hernia? (I am a little worried about potential complications of the surgery.) Are there certain exercises I should avoid because if I have a hernia, they might worsen it? Conversely, are there any exercises that would be particularly good at pushing some of the nonfat tissue inward in my abs and making them look flatter?

Thanks for all your help!

A bunch of the linebackers on my old college team had ripped abs that stuck out like what your talking about…they all had low bf% as well.

It might just be genetics or it could be that part of your ab chain is weak…there muscles underneath the abs that are visible that act as a corsett (dunno how to spell it) and thier purpose is to keep everything close to your spine.

Alot of people are extremely weak because it takes unconventional ab workouts to hit those specifically. Thats my best guess if its not medical related.

[quote]Phoenix1911 wrote:
A bunch of the linebackers on my old college team had ripped abs that stuck out like what your talking about…they all had low bf% as well.

It might just be genetics or it could be that part of your ab chain is weak…there muscles underneath the abs that are visible that act as a corsett (dunno how to spell it) and thier purpose is to keep everything close to your spine.

Alot of people are extremely weak because it takes unconventional ab workouts to hit those specifically. Thats my best guess if its not medical related.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply; that’s interesting info. I’ll try to see a specialist to make sure there’s no medical problem but I guess it’s just something I’ll have to accept if it’s no medical problem that can be changed.

What unconventional ab workouts do you have in mind? I usually do ab crunches, twist crunches, planks, and an ab machine. I use correct form as far as I’m aware. (I’ve read a lot about form and had personal training sessions.)

Check your pelvis to see if it’s tilted anteriorly at all, check your psoas.

If that’s not the problem then I dunno what is.

Ill see if I can find an example of the stuff you have to do…something was actually posted here on T-Nation awhile back and as soon as I remember what the technical name of that set of abs is I can look for it.

Have a read through this:

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=169ab2

Good routine to strengthen your Transverse Abdominus. Should help keep the abs in.

[quote]algian wrote:
Have a read through this:

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=169ab2

Good routine to strengthen your Transverse Abdominus. Should help keep the abs in.[/quote]

Yeah this is the article…you should also be able to find some other good excercises around the net.

[quote]algian wrote:
Have a read through this:

http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=169ab2

Good routine to strengthen your Transverse Abdominus. Should help keep the abs in.[/quote]
Thanks for the info. I just read the article and will definitely give that routine a try.