A vertical line down the middle of the stomach is the latest fitness fad—but here's why you shouldn't care you do or don't have one.

By Moira Lawler
Updated July 03, 2019
Stocked House Studio/Shutterstock

First, there was the thigh gap. Then, there was the bikini bridge, the controversial trend of taking selfies from the chest down to show off the gap between bathing suit bottoms and the hip bones.

Now, there's another arbitrary (and unrealistic, but we'll get to that later) body craze. It's been dubbed the "ab crack," and it looks like a shallow, well-defined ditch running down the center of the stomach. (Related: This Fitness Model Turned Body-Image Advocate Is Happier Now That She's Less Fit)

Technically, the ab crack is called the linea alba, and it's a tendinous inscription between your ab muscles, says Rob Sulaver, C.S.C.S. with BandanaTraining.com. Models like Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski and social media star Jen Selter have been sporting ab cracks all over Instagram, making you think it's the new bikini bod norm.

But here's why you shouldn't beat yourself up if you don't have one: "All of that is pretty much determined by your genetics," Sulaver says. "You can train your abs and make them more pronounced by working them hard, but for the most part, you're not going to change the structure."

So don't even think about striving for it. An ab crack is just not realistic, and it's definitely not worth swearing off summer's beach-side happy hours for.

"Finding happiness is a little bit more complicated than having an irrigation ditch on your stomach," says Sulaver. "Happiness comes with a balanced relationship with health and fitness." (Related: Why Losing Weight Doesn't Always Lead to Body Confidence)

Feeling good about your body should be the ultimate goal. No ab crack, thigh gap, bikini bridge, or whatever craze comes next required.

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