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The Linea Alba.

(lin-ee-a  al-ba)

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

Named for its appearance, linea alba means "white line" in Latin.

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.

The linea alba attaches to the pubic symphysis of the pelvis and to the xiphoid process of the sternum (breastbone).

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

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 abdomen (in the space between the ribs and pelvis), they turn into aponeuroses (strong sheets of connective tissue) towards the anterior (front) of the abdomen. The linea alba is created by the fusion of these aponeuroses, as they merge midline at the front.

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 the aponeuroses meet, they form a sheath (a tunnel between the layers) on either side of midline. Within these sheaths lie the rectus abdominis muscles (like ribbons of muscle within a tunnel), and are thus known as the rectus sheaths.

The Linea Alba And Body Alignment.

The linea alba is a linear structure situated on the body's midline, and is our primary anatomical guide for body alignment and balance.

human figure seen from the front, highlighting the linea alba on the midline of the front of the abdomen, running vertically from pelvis to chest.  The left and right rectus abdominis muscles are shown either side of the linea alba.

body alignment and balance

The linea alba should be fully extendable, and be able form a straight line i.e. to be positioned in a state of full alignment.

Three of the body's five midline markers lie on the linea alba: The pubic symphysis, navel and xiphoid process. Find these points on your body, use them to help you feel your state of alignment.

5 midline markers

The Linea Alba And The Body's Base-Line.

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 rectus abdominis muscles are the closest muscles to the linea alba, running either side from pelvis to chest. Focusing on activating and extending the rectus abdominis muscles has the effects of:

  • Increasing awareness of the relative positioning of the linea alba.
  • Aligning the linea alba.

rectus abdominis in detail

skeleton showing the midline linea alba and rectus abdominis muscles on 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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