When I first heard about diastasis recti, I was pretty pumped to have an explanation about my ever-present “mommy pooch.”
Learning about diastasis recti was at once comforting (finally an explanation) and frustrating, because many of the traditional exercises we think of to flatten our stomachs, like crunches, can actually make the condition worse.
Diastasis recti is a condition that happens when the outer muscles of the abdomen separate, leading the middle to “pooch” out. Unfortunately, doing exercises like crunches can further push the muscles apart and actually make the diastasis recti worse. There are a lot of different theories on how to heal diastasis recti out there, so I spent an afternoon digging through them all. Overall, I found that the key is learning how to properly engage your core all.the.time. Basically, you can do this by remembering to focus on always drawing your belly button into the spine. Any exercise that makes your stomach stick out instead of in, or draws those muscles apart, is a no-no.
There are also quite a few programs specifically dedicated to healing diastasis recti.
1. MuTu System
The MuTu System is a comprehensive program that doesn’t use a splint, but focuses on healing the core with a series of exercises. It can also teach you when you are ready to move on to exercising on your own, something I can’t wait to do. A girl just wants to run sometimes, you know?
2. The Tupler Technique
The Tupler Technique is one of the most common theories and practices to heal diastasis recti and was created by a nurse. It’s a comprehensive program that slowly builds up the abdominal muscles and combines a technique for splinting the muscles to help them heal. The website has a great explanation of the science behind diastasis recti and exactly how to heal it.
3. Physical therapist’s advice
I found this article helpful because it came from a physical therapist and it gives a helpful, easy, at-home exercise to do to start repairing the damage. She also recommends that women with a diastasis recti of more than three fingers make a consultation with an actual physical therapist.
4. Lindsay Brin
Lindsay Brin‘s resources on diastasis recti are simple to understand and to do at home. Her videos are professional and easy to follow and she seems to really “get” what it’s like to be a mom, with three kids of her own. I liked her explanation video, because it helps explain how to engage your abs the right way to heal diastasis recti from the inside out.