The abdominal muscles are a group of six muscles that wrap around the center of your body from the rib cage to the pelvis. These muscles are important to your body's health, as they assist with everything from breathing and walking to supporting proper posture and alignment of your spine. Without healthy abdominal muscles supporting your posture, your body cannot function properly. Over time, you may find that even basic tasks become increasingly more difficult.
The transverse abdominis is the deepest abdominal layer most connected to posture, and it wraps around the torso like a back support belt. A study conducted by Paul Hodges and Carolyn Richardson published in the "Journal of Spinal Disorders" notes a direct correlation between the strength of the transverse muscle and its ability to stabilize the spine and protect the back and pelvis from injury. According to Corrective Exercise Kinesiologist David Grisaffi, the lack of strength in this muscle can change the alignment of the pelvis and ultimately change your body's posture. The plank pose can help you strengthen this muscle. Get on your stomach with your elbows and toes on the floor to support your weight. Straighten your back, pull in the abs and lift your body off the floor for 30 to 60 seconds.
Second only to the transverse abdominis, the internal obliques are also closely associated with posture. Located on each side of the torso, the internal obliques are the second deepest abdominal layer and assist with rotation of the torso in addition to lateral flexion of the spine, which occurs when you bend at the waist and lean your upper body to one side. The obliques help support and protect the body from injury during these movements. Keep your internal obliques strong with some basic ab crunches. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, and slowly raise and lower your torso, exhaling as you come up and inhaling as you go down for at least 30 reps
The abdominal muscles are so closely related to posture, poor abdominal strength can contribute to chronic back pain by forcing the lower back to work harder and compensate for an unstable core. Additionally, weak abdominal muscles can cause the stomach to protrude and affect the alignment of the spine. Demonstrate this for yourself by standing up with your back straight and loosen your stomach muscles until everything droops. Notice how your lower back arches uncomfortably. Pull your ab muscles in tight, and feel how your spine realigns correctly.
In addition to back pain resulting from poor posture, you may experience pain throughout your body due to weak abdominal muscles. A misaligned spine can result in subluxations, where individual vertebrae fall out of place along the spinal cord. These subluxations can interfere with the complex nerve system running the length of the spinal cord and may cause pain or discomfort anywhere in the body, notes the World Chiropractic Alliance.