Earlier this year, I was able to take a course that provided certification for pers postpartum corrective exercise specialist and proved to be a full-circle moment for me. I learned that when it comes to diastasis recti, it is about more than just the core and the connective tissue. It has to do with the entire body—the alignment, your breathing, your hips, even your feet, neck, and shoulders. In a nutshell, it is influenced by your entire body, and your whole body is affected by it.
After my first pregnancy, I didn’t realize that I even had diastasis recti. So, the participating in the course has resulted in me being mindful of how intentionally I work my core, and exactly what the process entails. However, it felt that there was a lot of leftover damage that resulted from my first pregnancy. As a result, while in my second pregnancy, I carried my baby much in the same manner as my first, low, and pointy. So, it has resulted in me taking quite a bit longer to get my core built back up. I am not going to lie.
With the weakening of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, it is necessary to strengthen them with exercise. I have found that doing a total body workout, which has been modified to take into account my diastasis recti, has been amazing and worked very well for me. I even had the side advantage of having lost 35 pounds. I feel I would not have gotten the results I have if I had just concentrated on the rehabbing of my diastasis recti through the concentration on my core.
My desire it to help in giving you the tools you need to determine if the exercises you are using are the correct ones so that you will get the most benefit from them. And that benefit is the healing of your diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is reversible, and you do not have to resort to surgery. With the proper exercise techniques, you can begin to see significant improvement through the appearance of your tummy.
How Do You Know If Your Diastasis Recti Is Improving? So, the question now is, how will you know that your diastasis recti is improving? You may find that you are beginning to become obsessed with closing the gap, but at the same time, you are wondering why it is taking so long to achieve. It is important to remember that strength is more important than the gap.
There are no precise numbers for the gap between your abdominal muscles that will fully determine if you are healed or not. You may have started your program for a few weeks, and are now finding that you are uncertain about whether any improvement has been made. To help in determining your progress, there are four ways to check your improvement. The primary goal is in all of this is to shift your focus to your core functions, instead of fixating on the gap. Four ways of achieving this are:
Linea alba tension
When pressing on the linea alba, does it feel firm, like your cheek when you smile? Or does it feel more squishy? If you answered squishy, then your goal is to firm it up. This is achieved by way of creating tension in recruiting your transverse abdominal muscle—the deepest of the abdominal muscles. Without contraction, you may feel soft, sunken, or may even see doming. These can all present, even with a narrow gap. When performing the contraction correctly, the linea alba will begin to become taunt and, as a result, increase the overall efficiency of the entire abdominal muscle area.
Linea alba depth
When determining the depth of your linea alba, the process is much easier. You can measure your process by use of your knuckles. When you started the program, how far into your linea alba were you able to sink your finger? What about compared to now? Your goal for success is to have either none or at the most half of a fingernail depth.
As soon as your doctor has medically cleared you and you feel that you are ready, it is time to start your workout. For many with mild diastasis recti, the use of a regular core abdominal work out exercise on a routine, regular basis can significantly improve the muscle integrity and work towards healing. For me personally, when I do a plank, it feels like all of my guts are falling out. I know this sounds dramatic, but the statement is an accurate representation of how it feels for many of us. It would be best if you started when and where it is appropriate for you. You will then work your way up with both strength and form. You are only comparing your today self to your yesterday self, and not anyone else.
Morning vs. evening progression
Do you have a specific time of any given day that you love your tummy more than another? Do you love it in the morning, but by evening hate it? This is a very healthy feeling to experience. You will experience more gas from the food you eat throughout the day, and as a result, by the evening hours, your muscles will be tired. However, when the healing process is beginning, you will notice that your tummy will keep a consistent shape throughout the entire day.
In your best interest, you should keep track of both your exercising and your progress. It will go a long way in giving you a sense of what is working and how much healing you are experiencing as a result of your efforts. It is also important to remember that any progress, no matter how small, is still progress. Don’t let yourself get sideline by how someone else is progressing. We each heal at our own rate and progress at our own speed.
This post originally appeared on beckychoi.com and it has been published here with permission.