Safe exercises for diastasis recti (VIDEOS)
Pre-blog NOTE: If you want a well-rounded, comprehensive fitness program that can help heal your DR whether you’re 4 weeks or 4 years (or 40 years!) postpartum, click here to see the results that can come from MUTU System. I’m an affiliate because it ROCKS. If you’re interested in trying MUTU, use code FEMTRIBE at checkout for 10% off!
And now, onto the blog!
Do you have "mommy tummy?"
If yes, then STOP doing crunches and sit-ups, and take a minute to read this.
One of my most clicked-on posts is called, "is it too late to close my diastasis?" The inspiration came after receiving the following email:
"Hello Brianne, 15 months ago I had my first child and after the birth my abdomen didn't close properly (diastasis recti) and I would like to know if your workouts would help to close it? I would like to strengthen my core as well as close the gap which is about 1.5 centimetres in width at the moment." -Jackie
Unfortunately, I had to tell Jackie that although most of the exercises I teach in my online videos are completely safe for women with DR, I do include the occasional "crunch" and quite a few planks. Women with DR need to be careful with these moves.
First: Wondering if you have DR? Do this self-check:
If you have Diastasis Recti, then you have special needs when it comes to core fitness.
This is true whether you're 4 months, 4 years, or even 40 years (!!!) postpartum.
As stated in my previous DR post, you need to focus on strengthening your deep core muscles including your pelvic floor and transverse abdominis. You also need to:
"Zip up" (engage your core muscles from your pelvic floor up through your low abs) and exhale when lifting/pushing/pulling.
Get out of bed without jackknifing (in other words, don’t sit bolt upright! Roll to your side first, and then push yourself up).
Sit less and move more. Too much sitting leads to tight hip flexors, which can pull your posture out of alignment, exaggerating the lumbar curve and making your tummy protrude. Try my QUICK pelvic floor energizer to fit more movement into your day!
Practice good posture (this also helps with back pain and bladder health).
Eat plenty of gelatin and bone broth to provide your body the collagen it needs to help heal the DR.
- Drink lots of pure + clean water, since collagen is 70% water by weight.
Eat unprocessed, "clean," anti-inflammatory foods to support your body's healing processes in general.
The most important thing to remember: you can make the separation worse by doing the wrong exercises.
Many new moms are anxious to return to their pre-baby body and embark on an intense abdominal program including crunches, sit-ups, and other exercises that focus on trunk flexion. Crunches and sit-ups have their place in the world of core strengthening, but they are not appropriate for women who are just beginning to heal their DR. Crunches can make your diastasis larger. If you have DR, you will need to discontinue crunches or any supine (back lying) exercises that require your shoulders to be off the floor… At least initially.
You can gradually work back up to more challenging exercises like crunches and planks, but avoid them at first.
In addition, you're going to want to be cautious with planks and exercises that are done on your hands and knees. These exercises are not completely off-limits, but doing too many of them — and doing them without properly engaging the deep abdominal muscles — can be an issue due to the weight of the viscera (abdominal organs) against the weak abdominal wall.
So... what are safe exercises for diastasis recti?
Let me show you!
The following are core fitness videos that ANY woman can enjoy doing, whether or not she has a DR. I'm not claiming to "fix" your DR with these exercises... But you can feel safe doing them if you have a diagnosed DR.
Click below to watch (and do) these safe exercises for diastasis recti. Note: don't dismiss the breathing exercises — they are a huge, super-important part of the fitness program! And as for the speed? Take it slow. Slow and controlled is always better than fast and sloppy.
Safe exercises for diastasis recti (VIDEOS):
Here's another workout you might like! This 20-minute video is mostly done on the floor:
Please remember: The above videos are NOT exclusively designed to heal DR; rather, they are fun + feel-good routines with safe core strengthening options (other than planks, crunches, and "sit ups") for women with DR who are looking for ab exercises. If you want a guided postpartum fitness program, then check out MUTU System. Get 10% off using code FEMTRIBE at checkout! I'm an affiliate, because I think it's absolutely AMAZING.
Enjoy my "no sit-ups" workout videos, and I'll meet you at the beach... In our bikinis!
Until then, if you have DR, remember to skip crunches (for now) and be careful with planks.
If you have diastasis recti AND PROLAPSE, then my Lift program is perfect for you! CLICK HERE to get the first week of Lift for free.
Finally, don’t forget to contact a women’s health physical therapist in your area for diagnosis and treatment specific to your needs.
*NOTE: This website in general, and this article specifically, is for general information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, but rather to understand what options are available. Please seek the advice of a physician to properly diagnose your symptoms.
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