Around here the term diastasis recti is used a lot! So it is important to get the scoop on it and why it matters! My passion for education on this core injury comes from my own personal struggle with it and ultimate success in healing through the amazing program MuTu System™ which I am now so proud to be a MuTu Pro™ for! You can read about my struggle here and my triumph here. For any questions on diastasis recti please feel free to email me at email@example.com. Information on personal training sessions with me to help heal diastasis can be found here.
What is it?
Diastasis Recti also called abdominal separation, is a separation of the rectus abdominal muscles (commonly known as the 6 pack muscles). This separation is a caused by one or more of the following: weakened connective tissue, intra-abdominal pressure, improper body alignment. This core injury could result in lower back pain, incontinence, a pouchy tummy, weak core, weak pelvic floor, and a disconnect between mind and core muscles.
Who can get it?
Anyone! It is a misconception that it is only a postpartum issue or a women only issue. It is highly connected to pregnancy and postpartum because of the high level of intra-abdominal pressure that pregnancy creates, which often results in diastasis recti.
How do I know if I have it?
You can self test!
2. Find your belly button and place three fingers horizontally across your mid-line.
3. Relax your tummy and apply gentle pressure at the belly button
4. Lift your head and shoulders (like you are doing a crunch). You are feeling for the right and left side of your rectus muscles around your fingers.
5. If you feel the muscles tightening around your fingers (instead of just firming beneath your fingers) then there is a separation. How many fingers can you fit in that separation? That determines the size of your separation ( is it 2 fingers? 3? 4?) As you do this test also take note of how deep you can press down. Can you press deep down into the separation or can you only press down half an inch? This is important because it shows the state of your connective tissue! The further you can press down, the weaker the connective tissue is.
When is it a problem?
A separation of 3+ fingers is when it is technically considered a diastasis but the more important question to ask is, does my core function properly? Do I have any of these red flags?
-during exercise or core strain a ‘doming’ or ‘loaf shape’ protruding from midsection
-leaking when sneezing, running, jumping
-lower back pain
-pooch that wont go away
-no tension or connection in core
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, your core is in need of rehabilitation and strengthening!
What should I avoid with diastasis recti?
Sit ups, crunches, oblique twists or V-sits of any sort , Planks, push-ups ,Burpees, skipping (any move that demands jumping or impact),Running, Pull-ups
These type of movements cause intra-abdominal pressure that pushes outward and downward, causing already weakened muscles to separate further or result in hernias, or prolapses.
What can I do to heal my diastasis?
Healing diastasis recti needs a full body approach and patience, but improving and healing core strength and function is absolutely possible! With gentle corrective exercises and optimal body alignment you can re-connect, strengthen, and improve the function and appearance of your diastasis and core.