From the medical point of view diastasis recti is a disorder accompanied by separation of rectus abdominis muscle into left and right halves. As a rule the condition happens in pregnant women and infants, but it is also common in those, who are really overweight.
For so you know, the health problem like this always leads to numerous problems. To treat it you should take care of the dynamic stabilization that also helps to avoid weakness, back pain, dysfunction of pelvic floor, compromising posture, vaginal delivery, cosmetic defects, etc. We know how to help you out. The question is whether you are ready to start?
Table of Contents
- What Diastasis Recti Exercises Should Be Avoided?
- Exercises for Women with Diastasis Recti Problems
- Exercises for Men with Diastasis Recti Problems
- Preventing Diastis Recti As You Age
- Regaining Strength After an Illness or Surgical Procedure
What Diastasis Recti Exercises Should Be Avoided?
The vertical strip of the connective tissue is called linea alba. This is the point where the abdominal muscles get attached. In case of the problem this very line gets wider. Your movement and posture habits cause the overload of the tissue that leads to forward displacement of abdomen. If you start exercising, you can stop the development of the issue. However, only correct training can provide the needed results.
That is why before speaking about the best exercises we’ve decided to pay your attention to those routines that should better be avoided.
Try to avoid those activities that cause any sort of stress on the midline, or those that expand and stretch the abdominal wall through breathing techniques, exercises and everyday activities.
So, here are the movement types you should avoid:
- Exercises which cause the abdominal wall bulge out upon exertion.
- Exercises which require lying backwards over an exercise ball.
- Carrying and lifting very heavy objects.
- Exercises where the upper body twists and the arm extends away from it.
- Quadruped exercises without any abdominal support.
- Abdominal exercises which flex the upper spine against the force of gravity or off the floor.
- Yoga postures which stretch your abs.
- Pilates reformer or mat exercises which utilize upper body flexion and double leg extension.
Do not do sit-ups and crunches, as well as twists with crunches. Refuse from everything like can jack-knife your body.
In addition, avoid lifting anything straight up from horizontal lying positions.
Better roll it to your side and then push it up from here.
Pay special attention to various types of pelvic floor exercises, as they are able to strengthen your deep abdominal muscles. It happens because all core muscles contact as a cohesive group. You can perform this kind of routine either throughout pregnancy or during the early postpartum period.
Exercises for Women with Diastasis Recti Problems
It is a well-known fact that pregnancy changes the woman’s body. As the curves of upper and lower back increase, some groups of muscles become weakened, while others – too tight. If you have problems with rebuilding the body that looks and feels great, you should think of special exercises to correct the problem.
Before you start exercising, the problem will look like a ridge, running down the middle of the belly area. It stretches from the bottom and right to the belly, increasing with muscle straining.
So, what could you do?
- Towel-Assisted Crunches. They are easy. Wrap one long towel around your torso. Its ends should face the front, while you’re performing crunches. During exercises pull the ends towards each other, urging the muscles back together.
- Wall Sit With Ball Squeeze. Stand against the wall with your hips and back facing it. Take a Pilates ball between the knees. Then slowly sit down into a sitting position with your knees forming a 90° angle. Your abs should be drawn in the entire time. Squeeze the ball, keeping the abs drawn-in. Make 20 pulses and then return to a standing position.
- Single Leg Floor Touch. This is an exercise to fix diastasis recti. Lie on your back. Your knees bent, feet on the floor and back on the pillow. Lift your left leg up to meet the right leg. Your belly button should be pulled down into the spine, contracting abdominal muscles. Then slowly lower the leg until your foot touches the floor. Put the leg into the starting position and repeat the same procedure with the right one. Do 10 repetitions with each leg.
Bridge. Lie down on your back and bend your knees. Your head, shoulders and feet should be flat on the floor. Lift the hips upward, creating a straight line from knees to shoulders. Squeeze the glutes and draw the abdominals. If the position is correct, the ankles are aligned below the knees. For this many people imagine they are holding a grapefruit-sized object between the knees. The task is not to drop it or squeeze it during 60 seconds. Perform the repetition 10 times. Rest between every repetition.Actual Info!
Diastasis recti can disappear over time. When it doesn’t, you will need surgery.
It is turned to when the woman is pregnant and the baby is trapped in space between muscles.
- Pulls-Ins. Keep the arch of the lower back and draw the navel toward your spine. This can be done lying down, sitting or standing. This should be done at least 20 times 2-3 times per day to begin with. Later on proceed to 50-100 repetitions twice a day.
- Leg Slides and One Leg Lifted. Lie down and lift your foot off the floor, the knee bent. Extend your leg out, keeping the toes several inches above the floor. Repeat the same 20 times in a neutral spine position with flat abdomen.
We suggest you not to expect fast results. First improvements will become visible in 6-8 weeks if you do everything right and regularly.
Do Exercises Work During or After Pregnancy?
In pregnancy abdominals become stretched in every woman, but far not each ends up with the diastasis recti problem. The normal question here is WHY? Aren’t women all the same?
As a rule, if a woman is small-framed and she is having a large baby, she usually faces great changes.
So, to the main factors that provoke the need for exercises to help belong:
- Lack of exercise,
- Having tow and more pregnancies too close together,
- Expecting multiples,
- Aged over 34.
In any case there are great chances to reduce all possible risks during pregnancy. What can be done?
- YOU CAN avoid gaining excessive weight while being pregnant. If you have a normal BMI, you will probably gain not more than 25 pounds.
- YOU CAN avoid those exercises that exacerbate the issue after the 1st trimester and after postpartum. To the list of such training belong crunch movements, sit-ups, plank-position exercises and oblique twists.
- YOU CAN check the alignment. This is the component in the pressure related body ailment. Checking is of top importance in case you regularly lift some heavy things and objects. This is when a tilted pelvis can push the uterus against the abdominal wall and create additional pressure.
- YOU CAN perform TVA (transverse abdominal) exercises in order to reduce all possible risks. This routine training is performed during pregnancy. According to the latest studied, there is a great difference in the condition between those, who are active in TVA engagement and those who are sedentary. This is an exercise to close a gap.
Avoid strong rotational training as well as side flexion.
To them belong side planks, side bends and V-sits.
If we speak about the after-pregnancy-period, then exercises should exclude curl-ups and crunches. Thought they promise fast recovery, they are the least effective. Forget about stretching exercises for this area. Why? Because your primer goal is to tighten and shorten the abdominals, and not to stretch them.
The same refers to those routines that cause the abs to protrude upwards. Avoid doming as it stops the gap from closing. And finally, exercising on all fours places extra strain on the area because of then downward pull on the tummy. However, a greater number of these exercises can also be well-adapted to a standing, seated, as well as back-lying position.
As you see, there are multiple options for those, who are pregnant and those, who are in the postpartum period. So any woman can choose the variant that works best in her individual case.
Exercises for Men with Diastasis Recti Problems
Men have a rather unique pattern of rectus diastasis – a midline bulge that is located between the umbilicus and the sternum.
Oftentimes man experiences some pain in the area.
A mesh repair can be performed to soothe it, but it leaves scars. This is usually when males pay attention to exercises for abdominal recti repair.
- Start your training with learning of bracing the transverses abdominis. Put your hands on knees. Hands directly under the shoulders, knees directly under the hips. Your back should be straight and the abdominal muscles relaxed forward. Draw the abdominal muscles inwards towards the spine. Do it gently and slowly. Breathe deeply and normally. Remain in this position for 5 seconds. Repeat it 5 more times.
- Lie down with feet flat on the floor and legs bent. Breathe in and exhale slowly, straightening one leg and sliding it on the floor. Your lower abdominal muscles can help you to stabilize the straightened leg. Then extend the leg without serious pain. Do it as far as possible. Inhale and then return to the starting position. Repeat the same procedure with both legs.
- Focus on weight training. It will also assist in the body loss program and increase your metabolism rate. Start with a simple weights program that can be performed at home. These can be lunges, push ups as well as wall squats.
The problem can be corrected and treated without surgical intervention. This refers both to men and women. Choose several options and combine them, while training. However, the process is a lasting one. It requires time and patience. Don’t expect fast results if you are not regular in your training routine.
Preventing Diastis Recti As You Age
As you age, your body changes in many ways, including how it builds and repairs muscle tissue. Men and women who carry extra weight around the midsection can lose core strength causing diastasis recti to occur. We automatically go back to the common exercises we know to help regain our strength. When diastasis recti is present, this is the worse thing we can do. Instead, you need to know how to get ripped abs using exercises that are “tummy safe”. The wrong type of exercise can actually make the condition much worse and harder to correct.
Exercising Smarter Not Harder
Exercising smarter not harder is important. Educate yourself on the right type of diastasis recti exercises.
Make sure you know what will help correct the separation between the muscles instead of making it worse:
- Start slow and gradually increase your workouts so your strength builds naturally.
- Increasing reps not weight will help to tone and strengthen your abdominal core.
- Don’t push too hard for too long – it will cause more harm than good.
- Include water exercises to strengthen your core using your own body weight as resistance.
While these tips are simply common sense, many people forget them. Trying to fix the problem too quickly can actually make it much worse. When trying to correct diastasis recti or any other type of injury that affects the core muscles, less is usually better than more.
Aging Should Be Graceful, Not Painful
Aging should not be painful or uncomfortable. Aging gracefully involves doing the things you enjoy and exercise should be one of those things. Water exercises and yoga are two ways you can get back into shape without stressing already damaged muscles. Exercises like yoga and Pilates are very useful when it comes to restoring the core because they don’t add excessive amounts of stress. They can be performed at any time and almost anywhere. Muscle recovery supplements will also help.
Regaining Strength After an Illness or Surgical Procedure
As you age, it takes your body longer to recover from an illness or surgical procedure. Tissues heal slower and it takes your muscles longer to regain their strength and resiliency. If diastasis recti is present, it can take longer for your body to correct the problem, especially if you are still working to lose excess weight. Rebuilding your strength slowly and maintaining it with regular exercise will help to correct the separation between the muscle groups. Click here to know more about treadmill workouts to lose weight.
As you age, you must be doubly cautious not to overly strain your body after an extended illness or injury.
Taking precautions will help your body get stronger and become more resilient without the risk of reinjuring the area or causing more damage:
- Stay hydrated,
- Don’t Overdo it,
- Follow your doctor’s orders,
- Report any pain to your doctor.
If at any time, you begin to feel discomfort or pain, stop what you’re doing and notify your doctor immediately.
Know Your Limitations
Know and respect your limitations. The older you are, the less likely you will be to bounce back as quickly as you did in the past. Once you know there is a problem, take the steps you need to safely and gradually regain your strength and your health. Maintaining steady pace will ensure that you don’t risk your health.
Diastasis recti can affect you at any age so you need to be taking precautions to prevent it from getting worse. With proper care and light exercise, you can gradually correct the issue and help to restore stability to your core.
You can find further details of Exercises here.