Best & Worst Exercises For Diastasis Recti

To flatten out a rounded postpartum belly, women do not need to hit the gym for a rigorous regime of crunches. The pooch belly may be caused by the abdominal condition called diastasis recti. It can still make a woman look pregnant even months or years after giving birth, and crunches will not improve it, but rather worsen the situation. Before doing any abdominal exercise, one should first perform a simple self-test to ascertain whether they have diastasis recti or not. Diastasis recti is characterised by a gap in between the muscles of the right and left abdominal wall, which can give a protruding pooch-like shape to the belly. Listed below are some of the best & worst exercises for diastasis recti.

Best Exercises for Diastasis Recti Patients

Some of the best exercises for diastasis recti, which a new mom should do to heal the abdominal separation are abdominal compressions, single-leg stretches, toe taps, pelvic tilts, heel slides, and bridges with belly scooping. The belly should always be kept pulled in while exercising, rather than doing any movement which pushes it out. The exercise regime for diastasis recti should be started by working the oblique muscles for bringing the two separated abdominal walls back together. The abs should be thought of as a corset which runs from the hip bones up the ribs, and the action should be like the one done to tighten the corset. Both hands should be pulled towards the center from the sides, like the obliques. Knowing the correct breathing techniques is also essential when performing exercises for diastasis recti. To avoid creating a compression in the abdominal cavity, it is very important to exhale during moments of effort.

Worst Exercises for Diastasis Recti Patients

Any movement or exercise which puts strain on the midline or causes the belly to bulge outward, like planks or sit-ups, should be avoided by diastasis recti patients. Forceful and frequent repetition of this action can actually worsen the degree of separation and lead to more protrusion of the abdomen. Also, heavy lifting, and any exercise which involves twisting the spine or working the abdominal wall against the gravitational force, should be avoided by diastasis recti patients. Some such exercises include most traditional ab works like oblique curls, reverse curls, crunches, and roll-ups and these come under the category of worst exercises for diastasis recti patients. Even backbends and other spinal extension movements should not be performed since they increase stress on the abdominal tissues. Traditional exercises are not likely to provide a person with the benefits of a six-pack.

Other Treatment Methods & Approaches for Diastasis Recti

Many at-home exercise programs, like the Tupler technique, MuTu system and the Dia method, are particularly designed to help new moms with diastasis recti. Some people suggest that wearing an abdominal binder, or split, can help to flatten the stomach, but these are temporary solutions. Simply practicing basic ab exercises with the midline splinted is not an effective solution to diastasis recti. Neither is wearing any type of external support device for prolonged duration useful for diastasis recti. Even though these are common, yet they are not effective methods as they do not teach the transverse abdominis to stabilize properly. Wearing an external support device for long durations can even inhibit the proper functioning of the muscles.

When Can a Woman Start Exercising Post Delivery?

Before beginning with a postpartum exercise regime, one should always consult a doctor before exercising post delivery. New mothers are likely to be advised to wait for about 6 weeks post-delivery. When the patient feels ready and also gets consent from their doctor, only then should they start with their workout. For some patients with mild diastasis recti, regular practice of core abdominal work out can prove effective in decreasing the amount of separation and improving the muscular cohesion. This proves most effective during the first 6 to 12 months after delivery.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 1, 2018

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