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The Linea Alba.

(lin-ee-a  al-ba)

front view of human body, muscular system and the strip of connective tissue known as the linea alba. The linea alba lies midline at the front of the abdomen from pelvis to chest, extending from the pubic symphysis of the pelvis to the xiphoid process of the sternum. The navel lies on the linea alba.  When the body is balanced the linea alba can form a straight line and the 3 midline markers can be felt to be in alignment.

Linea alba means "white line" in Latin.

The linea alba is a strip of tough connective tissue on the body's midline from pelvis to chest at the front of the abdomen.

Attaching to the pubic symphysis of the pelvis and xiphoid process of the sternum (breastbone).

The navel (belly button) lies on the linea alba.

The pubic symphysis, navel and xiphoid process are 3 of our midline markers.

midline markers

The linea alba and body alignment.

Part of our midline anatomy, the linea alba is our primary anatomical guide for body alignment and balance.

body alignment and balance

The linea alba is closely associated with our Base-Line muscles. Working from Base-Line allows the position of the linea alba to be felt so we can judge our own state of body alignment and balance.

Base-Line muscles

outline of human body seen from the front showing our Base-Line muscles: the pelvic floor muscles within the pelvis and the rectus abdominis muscles up the front of the abdomen from pubic symphysis to the lower ribcage.

The linea alba should be fully extendable and free to flex and rotate in all directions.

seen from side angle. The linea alba between the rectus abdominis muscles, midline from the pubic symphysis of the pelvis to the xiphoid process of the sternum. The navel is situated on the linea alba. The aponeuroses of the lateral abdominal muscles merge to form the rectus sheath enclosing the rectus abdominis muscles before meeting in the middle to form the linea alba.

How is the linea alba formed?

As the lateral abdominal muscles wrap around the towards the anterior (front) of the abdomen they turn into sheets of tough connective tissue known as aponeuroses. The linea alba is created by these aponeuroses as they merge midline at the front of the abdomen.

human figure from front showing the lateral abdominal muscles turning into sheets of connective tissue (called aponeuroses) as they come around the front of the abdomen and join the linea alba on midline. Some of the aponeuroses are cut away to show the layers and the way the rectus abdominis muscles sit within a sheath created by the layers of connective tissue.

Before these aponeuroses meet midline they form a sheath (a tunnel between the layers) on either side. Within these sheaths lie the rectus abdominis muscles (like ribbons in a tunnel).

The rectus abdominis muscles are the closest muscles to the linea alba, running either side of the linea alba from pelvis to chest. Focusing on activating the rectus abdominis muscles gives us the ability to sense the relative positioning of the linea alba.

rectus abdominis

skeleton showing the midline linea alba and rectus abdominis muscles either side. The rectus abdominis and linea alba start at the pubic symphysis between the legs and go up the front of the abdomen to the ribcage. The rectus abdominis muscles consist of panels of muscle tissue, like two stacks of blocks either side of the linea alba. If the rectus abdominis muscles are activated and elongated they will align the linea alba and associated midline markers - the pubic symphysis, navel and xiphoid process of the sternum.

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