Updated: Mar 1
Tips for how to spot if you have it AND how to fix it.
Diastasis Recti is the separation of your rectus abdominus muscles (six pack abs). You might have heard of this with pregnancy and postpartum, however this can happen to men also. If left untreated it can lead to a weak core, poor posture, pelvic floor dysfunction (yes men have a pelvic floor too!) and back pain.
Diastasis Recti happens naturally during pregnancy as your body grows with baby and is not a concern.
It can also happen with men if they've gained weight around the middle which can cause the separation of their rectus adominus muscles.
What to look for:
When Diastasis Recti is an issue for men AND women is when the abdominals do not properly close AND there is a doming or bulging when you try to use your abdominals (e.g. curl ups, crunches, full planks). This doming is a sign of a weak core and this kind of abdominal usage can actually make the condition worse.
Tips to draw abdominals back together safely:
Doing tons of crunches to get your six-pack back is actually counterproductive and could make things worse.
Instead, working your abdominals long is a better way to strengthen and encourage them to draw back together safely. For example:
Keep your head and neck down during lying exercises (e.g. leg slides, knee folds, toe taps)
Progress lying exercises not by lifting your head and neck, but by adding same side or opposite arm work (e.g. arm openings with knee folds or backstroke arms with leg slides)
Work in four point kneeling (e.g. cat to extended cat, table top arms and legs)
Focus on posture and breathing. If you can stack your head over ribs, ribs over hips and hips over your mid-foot then practice taking some nice deep inhales and exhales into your ribcage, you'll encourage proper posture as well as breathwork which also helps draw abdominals back together safely
Consider using a towel wrapped around your abdomen if you want to add back in curl-ups or crunches to encourage the abdominals back together. And don't forget to breath out as you come up!
Are you postpartum and diagnosed with Diastasis Recti? My Online On Demand Postnatal Pilates Course is designed to help you draw your abdominals back together safely. The course progresses gradually over 6 weeks and will leave you feeling strong and stable. Find out more here.
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