The ‘ab crack’: why you shouldn’t try to get Emily Ratajkowski’s body

By Monica Athnasious

Published Jan 8, 2022 at 09:30 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

The OG thigh gap has yet another competitor racing to overtake its inescapable grip on the internet and our bodies. Say hello—or better yet, goodbyeto the ‘ab crack’ trend. Here we go again… 

What is an ab crack?

Forget about the bikini bridge trend, there’s another impossible body standard being shown off in a tiny swimsuit and it’s called the ‘ab crack’. But, what is it? You’ve most definitely seen it on an endless scroll through Instagram, in any bikini campaign or on every model—you name it, Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber—there is a line going down in between their left and right sets of abs. Well, that is the ever so exclusive ab crack. A distinct line that dances along a person’s torso. It is the latest bodily ‘accessory’ to complete the Instagram ‘body goals’ starter pack.

 

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A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

As always, a trend’s popularity only exacerbates when celebrities are involved and the above names are just a few examples. In an aptly titled 2021 article by Vogue called Is Ab crack the new six-pack?, the publication cited the term’s long-standing life on the internet but suggested users’ latest obsession with it came as a result of model, actor and activist Ratajkowski’s “bikini body pictures she has posted to Instagram highlighting the indented line between her abdominal muscles.”

 

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A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata)

This is not to be confused with diastasis recti, where your abdomen separates in two creating a gap between both sides of your abs that runs down the area. If the gap is wider than an inch, then it may be a sign of the condition—while not isolated to this alone, it typically occurs due to pregnancy.

The ab crack’s disturbing insurgence has little to do with those who may naturally possess the feature taking harmless images of themselves showing their stomach but with the dangerous sentiment attached to it. To put it simply, criticising the trend is not criticising the woman behind its natural body type but those that have peddled the narrative that it’s a mark of just how dedicated you are to working out. That you got it in the gym. Well, we all know by now the infamous phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ but even that’s got a bit wrong. Forget kitchens and gyms, abs are made in your genes.

Can everyone get an ab crack?

No. That’s the simple answer. The ab crack is yet another absurd fitness standard, added to the ever-growing list, that not everyone will be able to achieve—not that you should even have to try to achieve it (even if you can) to prove your ‘healthiness’ to the judgemental eyes of Instagram. Let me clarify something: we all have abs—they are there—whether they are distinctly visible or not (regardless of how hard you workout) is largely up to genetics.

“Not everyone is destined to have a washboard stomach or an ‘ab crack’, no matter how hard they work out, or how little they eat,” said Roshini Rajapaksa, Health’s medical editor and assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “Usually the people who achieve them are fitness professionals or models who are paid to look unnaturally good—who are also probably genetically blessed.”

 

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A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)

One must remember that having an ab crack is not the be-all indication of being healthy. It largely has nothing to do with a person’s actual strength of core but is more about the aesthetic of the defined line. Most of what we see online, particularly on Instagram, is altered and Photoshopped—much of what scrolls up your screen just isn’t real. Lest not forget the accusations of heavy doctoring made to Jenner’s infamous lingerie photos.

 

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A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

The same goes for the ab crack. John Ford, a trainer from Find Your Trainer, told Allure in 2016, “I would say any trend that places emphasis on a look that’s primarily dependent on your genetics is a bad and unhealthy trend. Additionally, overexerting yourself through specifically weighted ab routines can result in tears in the abdominal muscles and hernias. So, if people start overdoing their ab workouts in the hopes of seeing a more pronounced ab crack, they could do some serious damage to their body.”

Owner of London Fields Fitness and fitness specialist Sapan Seghal, told Grazia that no matter how hard you work out or what you may put your body through, there is absolutely no guarantee that you’d get the crack. Nor should you want to, according to the expert. A large part of the desire for the ab crack comes from Instagram’s obsession with “visual health” as opposed to actual health, he argued. There is no point if you aren’t putting yourself first and choosing real health (no matter what it looks like) over aesthetics.

So, what have we learned? Abs are largely due to genetics, so don’t punish yourself in order to ‘get them’. Health is wealth and more than just appearances. Don’t bash those who may naturally look like this, but more importantly, don’t bash yourself. Who cares what models look like and why you need this or that to be ‘healthy’ or ‘attractive’? Just do you. Fuck the ab crack. Who needs it? I’ll take my chips to go, please.

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