Do You Have Broken Abdominals (Diastasis Recti)?

And more importantly, how to fix it if you do!

It is not uncommon during pregnancy for your abdominal muscles to separate due to the stretching of the abdominal wall to accommodate for the growth of the baby. This separation is often not noticeable until post-pregnancy when it seems as though "mommy tummy" just won't go away.

What happens during pregnancy (and/or weight gain in the belly area).

What happens during pregnancy (and/or weight gain in the belly area).

So let's say you have it... what does that mean?

The great news is, even if you have Diastasis Recti, it doesn't mean that you can't strengthen the abdominals to potentially decrease the gap, or more importantly to have the strength to control the abdominals from protruding outwards.

Besides a "poochy mommy tummy" (seriously who comes up with these terms), diastasis recti can lead to low back pain and pelvic instability, hernias and terrible posture. It is also not uncommon for the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis (deepest abdominal layer) to become weaker and lead to bigger issues such as incontinence. 

Surgery is rarely the answer for those diagnosed with Diastasis Recti and it doesn't mean you can't strengthen the abdominals and resume normal activity. Strengthening the abdominal wall will also diminish the look of mommy tummy and therefore increase your self confidence!

But wait... Diastasis Recti doesn't just happen to those who have been pregnant! It can happen to anyone who has an increased weight gain in their abdominal area - Men Included!!

A look at a male client with Diastasis Recti.

When we start to "fix" the Diastasis the first thing to understand is that it's not about the gap. Time should not be spent trying to narrow the gap and in most situations binders and splints are not necessary and simply hide the problem versus actually correcting it.

Learning how to engage and relax the deep muscles of the core (pelvic floor and transverse abdominis) are imperative to correcting diastasis. And while doing countless crunches may seem sexier, training that way is likely making the problem worse. {Here's How to Correctly Engage Your Abdominal Muscles}

The size of the gap may lessen but it may not. However the strength of the abdominals to control the "popping" and therefore increasing the strength of the core will dramatically improve, improving posture, decreasing back pain and improving pelvic floor health!

Here's Where to Start:

  1. Download today's Freebie - How to Check for Diastasis Recti
  2. Review How to Correctly Engage Your Abdominals
  3. Once you are confident with how to engage your abdominals; download My Top 4 Abdominal Exercises
  4. Be consistent with practicing proper abdominal engagement (literally practice everywhere, ensuring you also practice complete relaxation)
  5. Avoid:
  • activities that place stress on the midline of the abs that overly expand the abdominal walls - this can include breathing techniques, everyday movements and exercise.
  • any exercise that causes your stomach to bulge out (see video above)
  • quadruped and/or plank exercises without being able to properly engage abs
  • intense coughing without abdominal support
  • excessive flexion and extension such as:
    • lying over an exercise ball
    • up-dog, cobra, cow type positions found in yoga
    • ab crunches/curls/bicycles

And perhaps, the most important thing of all... don't get stressed out about the size of the gap. Focus on the strength of the abdominals instead! Don't forget to download your freebie - your one page checklist of how to check yourself or someone else for Diastasis Recti.

Have a question for me regarding diastasis recti, abdominal engagement or anything else fitness/Pilates related? I'd love to hear it - Please comment below and don't forget to like or share if you found this valuable!