The technical name for abdominal separation is: diastasis recti.
Today, I’m going to be sharing with you 4 exercises that WON’T fix abdominal separation (all of which are demonstrated in this photo here).
First up is supine pelvic tilts:
This is where you’re on your back, and you flatten the lower back down against the floor and then return the pelvis back to neutral.
This exercise WON’T heal your mummy-tummy.
There’s another one similar. You know that exercise you do, lying on your back again with your knees bent and you slide one leg along the floor, sometimes called leg slides?
Yeah, that doesn’t really fix abdominal separation.
Have you been guilty of doing lots of hands and knees-based exercises where you lift a leg or arm away from your centre, to work your core and to help heal your tummy separation?
Well, that exercise probably won’t ‘fix’ abdominal separation either.
What about that move where you set yourself up in any position (standing, seated, prone, supine or all fours) and you breathe in to prepare, pull your tummy in, and hold it for 5-10 seconds, then relax your belly?
Well, that’s not really going to help your core unit in the long run either (in fact it might be the reason your tummy’s still a little pooched, if I’m completely honest with you).
I don’t ‘cue’ my clients to ‘draw their tummy in’ anymore in a pre or postnatal setting, and haven’t done so for several years since delving deeper into biomechanics.
In your quest to fix your tummy distension, and to get your core ‘functioning’ better, my message here is very simple:
Exercise alone will NOT fix abdominal separation
The answer lies really in going deeper to rehabilitate your system, to build a reflexive core.
“What’s a reflexive core?”, I hear you ask:
Well, it’s a unit of muscles that switches on at the right moment, when needed.
So, say for example, when the wheel on your buggy (or shopping trolley at the supermarket) goes wonky and you stop dead, potentially injuring your back.
Well, you want the abdominal muscles to switch on here instinctively to protect your back.
You certainly don’t want your lower back muscles to kick it – that hurts, and that’s not a functioning core muscle unit.
The problem is, you will NOT always know when this scenario presents itself.
Let’s face it trip hazards and wonky wheels are everywhere, so it’s better to build a core that is able to deal with any situation that’s thrown at it…
…rather than interrupting that very signal that should occur naturally to protect spine by walking around with your abs pulled in slightly ALL. OF. THE. TIME!
What’s sitting above your abdominal cavity, and what’s hanging underneath it all have a distinct role to play here.
We’re looking at getting the skeleton better aligned, to enable the muscles that attach to your bones from head to toe, working in sync/harmony/synergy.
I’d want you decreasing the pressure in your abdomen too if you have diastasis recti, so learning how to breathe correctly is a must.
Are you pregnant and still chest breathing? Yes? Well, that’s why I focus so much on this aspect in my prenatal classes.
So much of what you learn in my antenatal sessions can actually be applied and help you lessen your chances of getting abdominal separation, post-birth.
The clients I see in my Mummies and Buggies don’t just get a new ‘core’ or a ‘flatter stomach’- they get a whole new change of mindset, because I educate them beyond ‘the abdominals are the problem here’, ok?
If you’ve been following a program of exercises at home in an effort to flatten your stomach, and you’re seeing very few results, or indeed a plateau effect is happening…a new approach is needed, don’t you think?
I cover ‘reflexive core’ and breathing.
I check your tummy for abdominal separation (many Doctor’s don’t bother with this assessment any more).
I get you holding and carrying your baby better so as not to make the load on your weak core unit worse (this is key!).
I get you experimenting with feeding positions for the sake of your shoulders, neck, back and pelvis (which are inadvertently all attached to your abdominals, remember).
Can you see how a full-body approach is taking into consideration a number of factors from your feet to your forehead, that can affect the load that’s placed on your abdominals?
I cover these and many more aspects, in the same fun, factual way in my Mummies and Buggies.
Wednesdays at 11am at the All Hallows Church Hall in Lady Bay with flexible attendance provided, because life with a newborn is never straightforward, is it?
If you’re looking a class that educates as well as exercises you – this is for you!
If you’d prefer a more individualised program of exercises set especially for you, with a full assessment, click here.