How it started
In the last 10 years of understanding more and more about Diastasis Recti, quite a shift has happened. It started with a focus on fixing the gap. Surgery can close the gap in the abdominal wall; however, focusing solely on the gap is a narrow mindset that doesn’t provide people with options. The linea alba is not the only tissue that gets stretched and thinned during pregnancy. The entire abdominal wall expands to make room for baby. The expansion is normal and Diastasis Recti is also completely necessary during pregnancy.
From a limited view of focusing on a gap between the rectus abdominus muscles, we (health and fitness professionals) began creating a list of exercises to avoid. The thought process behind it was that certain exercises may worsen the diastasis gap and should be avoided. There are a couple problems with this mindset:
1) certain exercises have never been proven to worsen Diastasis Recti, and
2) avoidance creates a lot of fear in people around engaging in general and specific core exercises.
Fear avoidance is a term that refers to the avoidance of movements/exercises/activities based on the fear of increased pain or re-injury. For example, the belief that “I can’t use my core or it will get worse” had led people to avoid most core exercises thus potentially making their core weaker.
Research and thought leaders have slowly been gearing us away from the avoidance of exercises, but the majority of the industry is floundering in the “messy middle”. The internet is frought with harmful language, promises of fixing and healing, and protocols which has led people to confusion.
I receive emails regularly from women concerned that their posture and or exercises are going to damage their abdomen further. It is why I created the Confident exercise guide for Diastasis Recti to provide women with a plan to confidently move their body again.
If you are a health and fitness pro wanting to empower your Diastasis clients with the latest evidence based approach, keep reading and click below.
“I am not as weak as I thought, my Diastasis Recti isn’t as bad as I thought and probably most fun and surprising, I don’t have to go through crazy contortions to make my stomach muscles work.”- Maria L
How it’s going
People want to know what exercises they can do without making the Diastasis Recti worse as well as what exercises they can do to strengthen their core, improve the Diastasis, and improve the appearance of the abdomen. A one size fits all protocol doesn’t exist. The latest evidence points to empowering the individual within a personal team approach.
The approach starts with your beliefs about Diastasis, and your beliefs about your own potential. Your mindset regarding your body can lead you to fear or freedom. If you are a health and fitness professional, your own beliefs about Diastasis will highly influence your exercise selection for that person. So challenge your beliefs and choose to empower your client by taking care of the person not just the diagnosis.
Strengthening the core in all ways possible is where we are at now in our understanding of Diastasis. Exposure to all exercise may seem overwhelming, so first start with the type of exercise you as the client really want to return to.
What do you love most? What will it take to get there? This is where you begin to formulate a plan with your coach or therapist. This is the beginning of freedom.
A final thought on surgery. If you desire surgery for the aesthetic appeal, it is your own choice and should not be shamed or coerced. Ideally it is the last choice to make when you have exhausted all other choices of building up your body and mind regarding Diastasis.
If you need 1:1 help with your Diastasis, I work with individuals in person or online.
Do you want a Diastasis guide for confident exercise? download here.