Part 3 of 3: Exercising with Diastasis Recti
What to do when you have diastasis recti
I don’t particularly like telling someone that they can’t do something, but if you have noticed that your abdominal system has areas of weakness, I would recommend to take precautions so that the weakness isn’t exasperated or overstressed. A coning of your linea alba, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to immediately experience a herniation, however, it is an indication that your system isn’t working optimally, so I would recommend reevaluating the exercise or movement that you were doing.
If you are pregnant, newly postpartum, or know that you have diastasis recti or an abdominal herniation, I would recommend becoming aware of your everyday movements that require the front abdominals to take on most of the load. An example would be moving from a seated position to laying down, or moving from laying down to a seated position. In these situations, rolling to one side (thus limiting the activation of front abdominals) and using your arm strength to either push yourself up or to gently lay yourself down, reduces the amount of pressure presented to the linea alba.
If you are taking an exercise class or are working out at the gym, these are some of the exercises that can overstress your front abdominal system:
chatturunga dandasana (yoga)
boat pose (yoga)
leg lifts (usually double, but sometimes single can interfere with healing as well)
Using our breathing system to heal our diastasis recti
In addition to not overstressing your diastasis, becoming aware of your breathing is an important step to rehabbing your system. Going back to the analogy I used of a pair of pants experiencing too much pressure, in order to reduce the risk of possible injury to our linea alba we want to become aware of how much pressure we present our abdominal system with. If we exhale before and also during an exercise, we immediately release pressure. There will still be a certain amount of internal pressure, but the exhale reduces the chance of the internal pressure to be so great that it will try to release through a weak spot. In addition to releasing pressure, an exhale allows the rectus abdominals to draw together and create a brace before they are required to work. They are going into the exercise strong.
Final thoughts on exercising with diastasis recti
Choose your exercises according to your ability. If you are having a hard time maintaining a strong abdominal brace (meaning you see coning or bulging) the exercise may be too challenging. Like any exercise, if your form begins to be compromised, stop before you risk injuring yourself and reevaluate. Maybe you limit the repetitions you preform, maybe you reduce the weight you are using, or maybe you select an easier variation or select an entirely different exercise until you are ready to progress. Working within your ability helps you move forward and not backwards.
If you are looking for a program to help heal your diastasis recti go to my affiliate work page to learn more about Diastasis Fix, an online program offered by CoreExerciseSolutions.