What is Diastasis?
Diastasis Recti is a separation between the rectus abdominus muscles. The tissue is not torn!! It is thinning and widening of the line alba (connective tissue in the midline of the abdomen) . This separation is completely normal and necessary when the belly expands by the third trimester of pregnancy. In more than half the women studied by Diane Lee, PT, BSR and Paul W. Hodges, PT, PhD the distance of the linea alba “remains abnormally wide 8 weeks after delivery, and, although some recover by 6 months (60.7%), many have not at 1 year.”
Diastasis is an adaptation. The body adapts to a growing belly. It is not an injury!
Exercise Avoidance + Diastasis
One of the most common questions I receive is, what are safe exercises for Diastasis?
Many women with DRA avoid exercise for fear of making things worse. However, there is evidence from multiple studies that show the incredible benefit of exercise.
Fortunately evidence is shifting away from safe vs unsafe when it comes to Diastasis Recti.
For a breakdown of Diastasis research and treatment in the last decade, read here.
Diastasis Self Check
There are a high percentage of clients who make an appointment with me for Diastasis but do not have it.
The following video can help you confidently check your diastasis and empower you with how to talk to your PT or MD to determine if you may need further help.
Help for diastasis should always be geared toward your beliefs and goals. There is no cookie cutter approach for “fixing” diastasis despite what you’ve read don the internet.
Safe Home Exercises
Safety needs to be personalized not generalized. When someone reads about unsafe Diastasis exercises they assume it’s forever
A recent client had told me “I thought my core was ripped in two and irreparable. Now after working with you I signed up for boot camp class to continue getting stronger.” She had avoided core exercises for 6 years because of the fear of making her Diastasis worse.
Safety in exercise is more determined by how you feel and your current capacity for exercise than by a gap in your linea alba.
Think beyond the gap. This is about your dreams and desires. If you didn’t have diastasis, what would you be doing?
- How confident are you in engaging in an exercise plan?
- Do you have support in this plan?
- Do you need a coach or physical therapist to guide you?
In my Diastasis guide for confident exercise we dive more in depth into safety and exercise guidelines. Plus if you are healthpro or fit pro reading this then check out my Free download to empower people with Diastasis Rectus Abdominus
Ultimately your exercise guide should be geared to what you want to return to. What do you fully enjoy and where do you need help? Whether you want to return to Pilates, Yoga, HIIT, bootcamp, running, or Cross fit you can get there with the right help.
- Load the core in all positions
Which positions are most required for preferred workout method? Consider where you may need to progressively load the core to feel confident in participating in these workouts again.
The main variations of human movement are: hinge, squat, rotate, push, pull, carry. All of these positions are great ways to load the core. The main idea is to start where you are and gradually build up your tolerance and capacity to exercise.
- These exercise examples are difficult and may not be where you start but it doesn’t mean you can’t get there!