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

By Moira Lawler
Updated: July 07, 2016

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.

A photo posted by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on Jul 1, 2016 at 11:51am PDT

A photo posted by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on Jul 1, 2016 at 11:51am PDT

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 it 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."

A photo posted by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on Jul 3, 2016 at 12:41pm PDT

A photo posted by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on Jul 3, 2016 at 12:41pm PDT

So don't even think about striving for it. It's 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," Sulaver says. "Happiness comes with a balanced relationship with health and fitness." 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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