Are you working on repairing diastasis recti? If so, you’re likely looking for exercises that can help. This post will outline five exercises specifically beneficial for improving diastasis recti. However, before getting started, it’s essential to understand what diastasis recti are and how these exercises can help.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis rectus is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate. This can happen during pregnancy but can also occur due to other factors such as age, weight gain, or even genetics. The condition is more common in women, but men can also experience it. Symptoms of diastasis recti include a bulge in the abdomen, back pain, and difficulty with bowel movements. The condition can be treated with physical therapy, surgery, or a combination.
What Causes Diastasis Recti?
Several factors can contribute to the development of diastasis recti. One of the most common is pregnancy. As the baby grows, the abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate the growing belly. This can cause the powers to separate at the midline of the stomach. Other factors contributing to diastasis recti include age, weight gain, and genetics.
How Is Diastasis Recti Diagnosed?
Diastasis recti is typically diagnosed through a physical examination. Your doctor will likely check for a bulge in your abdomen and may also check for weakness in your abdominal muscles. They may also order an MRI or CT scan to examine muscle separation better.
How Is Diastasis Recti Treated?
Treatment for diastasis recti will vary depending on the severity of your condition. In some cases, physical therapy may be all that is needed to help strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve symptoms. However, surgery may also be an option for more severe cases. Surgery involves stitching the abdominal muscles back together and removing excess skin and fat from the area.
What Are The Symptoms?
The most common symptom of diastasis recti is a bulge in your stomach. This bulge can happen when you cough or strain. You may also see a ridge running down the center of your stomach. The ridge is where the abdominal muscles have separated. You may also feel pain in your lower back or pelvis. If you have diastasis recti, you may also notice that your posture has changed. This is because the separation in your abdominal muscles can cause your spine to curve to one side.
If you think you might have diastasis recti, it’s essential to see a doctor so they can confirm the diagnosis and create a treatment plan. There are several ways to treat diastasis recti, depending on the severity of the condition. Treatment options include physical therapy, exercises, and surgery.
Diastasis Recti Exercises
Several exercises can help with diastasis recti. However, these exercises should be done slowly and with control. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements. If you feel pain, stop the exercise and consult your doctor.
1. Heel Slides: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hand on your stomach just below your navel. Slowly slide one heel toward your buttock, keeping your thigh still. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Do ten repetitions of this exercise.
2. Kegels: Kegels are exercises that help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder and help control urination. To do a Kegel, tighten the muscles you would use to stop urinating midstream. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times.
3. Pelvic Tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hand on your stomach just below your navel. As you breathe in, allow your stomach to expand fully. As you breathe out, tilt your pelvis so your lower back flattens against the floor and your stomach muscles tighten. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax and repeat 10 times.
4. Seated Russian Twist: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly, keeping your back straight. Place your hands on either side of you, palms down. twist your torso to one side, then to the other side. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
5. Pilates Scissor: Lie on your back with both legs in the air and your head and shoulders off the ground. Hold onto one ankle as you lower the opposite leg towards the floor. Keep your abs pulled in tight and switch legs after each repetition. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
6. Reverse Crunch: Lie on the floor and place your hands on either side of you, palms down. Bring your knees in towards your chest with your feet together. Use your abs to curl your hips off the ground and towards your chest, then slowly lower them back to the starting position. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
7. Knee Drops: Knee drops are a great way to stretch the rectus abdominis muscles. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Next, place your hands on your stomach and slowly lower one knee towards the bottom while keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in. Repeat with the other leg. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
8. Leg Lifts: Leg lifts are an excellent way to strengthen the hip flexor muscles. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs and feet. Then, slowly lift one leg off the floor until it aligns with your hip. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. Do 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
9. Curl-Ups: Curl-ups is a more advanced exercise but very effective at strengthening the abdominal muscles. To do a curl-up, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and curl up towards your knees, contracting your abs as you go. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
10. Side Planks: Side planks are an excellent way to strengthen both the abdominal muscles and the muscles in the sides of the trunk (the obliques). To do a side plank, lie on your side with your legs straight and prop yourself up on one elbow so that only your elbow and feet are touching the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
What to Avoid?
Avoid lifting heavy objects
Lifting heavy objects can also strain your abdominal muscles and make your diastasis recti worse.
Be careful when exercising.
Stop immediately if you experience pain while exercising, and consult a doctor or physiotherapist. Exercising with diastasis recti can be difficult and may require modifications to your routine.
Wear supportive clothing.
Wearing a supportive belt or binder can help reduce the bulge associated with diastasis recti and support your back and abdomen.
Sleep on your side or back.
Sleeping on your stomach can strain your abdominal muscles and worsen diastasis recti.
When dealing with diastasis recti, it’s important to be careful with how you exercise. Some specific exercises can help repair diastasis recti, and others can worsen it. This post has outlined ten of the best exercises for diastasis recti and what to avoid. Diastasis recti can be repaired with the proper exercise routine, and the abdominal muscles can be strengthened.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can diastasis recti be corrected with exercise?
Exercise is the first course of action for dealing with diastasis recti. Experts recommend focusing on movements that pull your abdominals in, like pelvic tilts, toe taps, and heel slides, while ensuring some single-leg stretches.
Will diastasis recti ever go away?
When you’re pregnant, your stomach muscles may weaken and separate. This is known as abdominal separation or ‘diastasis recti.’ It happens to women worldwide – it gets better in 8 weeks.
Can you fix diastasis recti after years later?
The short answer to, ‘Can I heal years later?’ It is a resounding “Yes!” You can always improve your core function and the tension of your abdominal muscles.
How long does it take to fix diastasis recti with exercise?
Darmanin said that if you do the exercises 3 to 4 times per week, your ab muscles should start feeling better by 6-8 weeks of consistent training. If this is not working after four weeks or more, consult a licensed physical therapist specializing in healing diastasis recti injuries because they can help with any related pain issues.