How do I fix my Diastasis Recti?
For a Diastasis Recti to heal, you need to:
• Strengthen the core muscles with specific exercises.
• Protect the weak connective tissue.
• Learn to use the core correctly during exercises and in your everyday life.
Diastasis Recti is the result of increased pressure from the inside (during the pregnancy this pressure comes from the growing baby in the womb) in combination with improper use of the core muscle.
Therefore there is a high risk of maintaining or worsening the Diastasis if:
• You move around with a poor posture.
• You do inappropriate exercises that increase abdominal pressure without knowing how to activate the core muscles so you don't put extra load on the connective tissue which is what you do eg. by traditional abdominal crunches) or without being able to perform the correct core activation technique properly.
• You lift with poor lifting technique.
• You carry (eg. your children) with poor posture.
• You press hard against the connective tissue of the abdominal muscles (eg. when coughing, sneezing, going to the bathroom, etc.).
Your best weapons against Diastasis Recti
Your two best weapons in fighting a Diastasis Recti are:
- A good posture.
- A correct core activation.
Here's why ...
In a well-functioning core the muscles (and eventually the stronger connective tissue) will to be able "withstand" an increased abdominal pressure.
However, if the body is not in alignment, the core muscles do not have the ability to function most effectively - or to relearn how to work like they should!
Alignment can best be translated into a good posture.
Our core muscles consists of 4 muscles groups:
- The deep abdominal muscle – The Transverse Abdominis
- The breathing muscle – The Diaphragm
- The pelvic floor muscles
- The deep back muscles – Musculus Multifidi
These 4 muscles groups are very closely connected and simply work best together when the body is in alignment. That is when we are standing, sitting, walking, exercising with a good posture.
That's why it is crucial that we learn to use the core correctly and give the core muscles the best working conditions.
Therefore, the exercises we do to correct a Diastasis Recti are only one part of the solution.
Any exercise programme to heal abdominal seperation must be combined with an increased focus on good posture in everyday movements - especially positions held for long periods of time and movements done with load.
How long does it take to close a Diastasis Recti?
How long it takes to heal Diastasis Recti differs from woman to woman. Among other things it is depending on the starting point and how effective the effort is.
But generally connective tissue regenerates very slowly. So it is not uncommon for a Diastasis Recti to take between 4 and 24 months to heal completely.
Many, however, experience relatively fast progress (some already within a few weeks) when they start a focused effort.
It can e.g. be a narrower diastasis, better contact with the core muscles, a measurably smaller waistline and visibly flatter stomach.
For others, it takes a little longer before the progress can be seen and felt. Both in relation to the actual width and depth of the Diastasis Recti. But also in the waistline, muscular firmness and pelvic floor function.
It is important to emphasize the newly formed connective tissue will remain fragile for a period of time. This also goes if the progress has been rapid.
Therefore it is paramount to continue with the correct core exercises and the increased focus on correct use of the core and good posture for a period of time after the Diastasis Recti has healed.
Also you need to gradually reintroduce more strenuous exercise routines with an increased awareness of the core activation to make sure the Diastasis Recti will not reopen.
Which exercises close the gap?
First and foremost, you need to think about activating and strengthening your core muscles.
The core muscles are essentially what will take the load off the weak connective tissue (where the actual gap is) so this connective tissue has the opportunity to form new structures and become strong and firm again.
You need to restore the strength and integrity of your inner muscle corset/the core, with for example the basic pelvic tilt and exercises especially for the deep, transverse abdominal muscle, pelvic floor and your back muscles.
No matter which exercises or movements you chose to do to heal abdominal seperation your primary focus should be on the correct core activation before and during each repetition.
With the correct activation of the core you'll get the most out of your efforts and make sure the exercises do not do more harm than good.
You learn all about the correct core activation in Superfit Core 1.
Should I avoid certain exercises?
You should not do traditional abdominal exercises such ad crunches or sit ups. Neither straight or oblique. If your tummy shows sighs of doming (the so-called Toblerone belly), these types of ab exercises will undoubtedly make the condition worse!
Generally it is important not to put additional pressure on your weak abdominal muscles and the weak connective tissue which is what you do in when you e.g. come straight up from the lying position (you should always roll on the side first and push yourself up with your hands), if you do traditional abdominal exercises or too heavy lifting. It can make the Diastasis Recti - and thus also the "mummy tummy" - worse.
How do I get a flat stomach?
It is so important to do exercises for your core muscles after birth.
A strong, well functioning core stabilises your spine and pelvis optimally, and steers you clear of injuries, aches and pains.
Exercises that strengthen your core muscles also help to "tighten the muscular corset" so you become smaller around your midline and the tummy becomes flatter. You will find this special type of exercise in Superfit Mom's online abdominal exercise programme, Superfit Core.
Superfit Core is especially designed to heal abdominal seperation (Diastasis Recti) and make the abdominal muscles strong, flat and compact. More about Superfit Core here.
When can I start to heal my Diastasis Recti?
You can start day 1 after delivery with the gently exercises of Superfit Core 1 – Post-baby & Beginner but stay on Level 0 until you have had your postpartum check up with your doctor about 8 weeks after giving birth.
It is never too late to heal a Diastasis Recti and get the tummy you have always dreamt of!
Even if you became a mom years ago, you can totally reconquer that flat tummy and strong, well-functioning core!