Diastasis Recti Test Step by Step Guide: Tupler Technique® Diastasis Safe & Not Diastasis Safe Exercises
Are you wondering why your belly is bulging and looking weird? Still looking pregnant months postpartum or years postpartum, a beer belly or mommy pooch that doesn’t go away even if you do tons of crunches and go to the gym regularly. You may have a condition that is called diastasis recti. In this article you will learn what a diastasis recti is, learn how to check yourself for a diastasis correctly, know about safe exercises with diastasis recti and exercises that makes diastasis recti worse.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti or abdominal separation, is a condition often ignored by the medical community, is a medical problem that screams for more attention, and that is why Everybelly® should be checked for diastasis recti and treated with the research and evidenced based Tupler Technique® Program.
The word diastasis in the phrase diastasis recti means separation. The recti muscles are the outermost abdominal muscles. So, it is a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles. The function of these muscles (called rectus abdominis) is to support your back and your organs. So why should you care if your muscles are separated? Because in order to have a strong core your abdominal muscles need to be close together. A strong core is needed to support your upper and lower body as well as your back and organs. Separated muscles cannot provide support. The more separated your muscles, the less support they provide for your body and the more side effects your body will experience. When the muscles separate the connective tissue (linea alba) joining these muscle stretches sideways. This sideways stretching of the this tissue causes it to become thinner and weaker. So, what happens is this weak saran wrap-like linea alba is now the support system instead of the muscles if they were together. Weak connective tissue cannot effectively provide support.
Who can get a diastasis recti?
Pretty much anyone! Any woman (baby or no baby), man or child are at risk for having a diastasis recti. Many people have diastasis recti and just don’t know it because checking for a diastasis is not part of any medical or fitness evaluation.
What causes a diastasis recti?
Everyone is born with their muscles separated. Usually the muscles come together around three years old after the nervous system has developed. Because of the weakness in thelinea alba at the belly button, continuous force on this weak spot can separate the muscles again. Force on the abdominal muscles that stretch the connective tissue either in a forward or sideways direction will separate the muscles also resulting in a weak core.
Activities That May Cause Diastasis Recti
A diastasis recti may be due to the following:
- Rapid changes in weight in the abdominal area
- Improper exercise (especially crunches and gymnastics)
- Abdominal surgeries that inject air into the belly
- Force from car accidents
- Pushing in labor
Test for Diastasis Recti Step-by-Step Guide
The general public and even professionals usually check a diastasis incorrectly. Here you will learn the proper way of testing yourself and do a Diastasis recti test with my proven Step-by-Step Guide. When checked incorrectly they usually think it is a lot smaller than it really is, which makes them think they can ignore it. An ignored diastasis will continue to get larger by using the ab muscles incorrectly with activities of daily living as well improper exercise. It is important to check the diastasis at is largest not its smallest! The higher you lift your head and shoulders off the floor, the closer the muscles come together. That means you only want to lift your head and only just a little with your abdominal muscles relaxed.
To check a diastasis recti correctly you need to check for two things:
- The distance between the two separated muscles
- The condition of the connective tissue
You check the diastasis in three places:
- At the belly button
- Above the belly button (halfway between the belly button and the bottom of the sternum
- Below the belly button (halfway between the belly button and the pubic bone)
Before you test for a diastasis:
- You have client lift the head and shoulders and see if there is any doming of the abdominal muscles (looks like a half football)
- You check to see if clients belly button is in or out.
- If client has either of the above symptoms you know the clients has a very large diastasis and you need to use two hands to check the diastasis or the
- It is important to remember that you want to check the diastasis at its largest. The higher the head and shoulders come off the floor the closer the muscles come together. You want to check the distance when the muscles first start to move together.
Steps for checking for diastasis recti by individual or healthcare provider:
- Client is lying flat on back with knees bent
- Person checking puts either one or two hands in the first location that is being checked.
- Client needs to relax the muscles
- Then client engages their muscles and person checking to feel the muscles coming together.
- Then they relax the muscles and you follow the separating muscles sideways to see how many fingers wide it is. If you must spread your fingers you should use the Diastometer and measure each side in centimeters.
- Do this a few times so you can feel the movement of the muscles.
- If you have a difficult time, then the head can be lifted just a little. You can even feel the movement with just the intention of lifting the head. Remember, you want to check the distance when the muscles first move so you can check the separation at its largest.
- Then you check for the condition of the connective tissue. You can use your finger or the Diastometer finger cot that measures the condition in centimeters.
- You measure in the same three places.
- Again, the muscles are relaxed. Then, a finger (or finger cot) is put on the skin or the belly button and you see how deep the finger goes. The deeper the finger goes, the weaker the connective tissue.
- The numbers are written down in their Tupler Technique® Guidebook. This guidebook is the “cliff notes” of the Tupler Technique®
- Besides measuring the distance and the condition of the connective tissue, it is important to measure the circumference of the body in three places (under breast, waist and over belly) and take before belly photos of the belly from the front and the side. Seeing the images of the belly changing as well as seeing the decreasing numbers will provide motivation to continue the program.
Please watch my video to learn how to do a Diastasis Recti Test Step-by-Step Guide.
Splinting & healing diastasis recti
Closing Your Diastasis with The Tupler Technique® & Getting a flat belly
My program closes your diastasis by healing the connective tissue. To close the gap or Healing this means making it strong enough to hold the muscles in a close together position (to strengthen your core) . Healing with the Tupler Technique® is three things. 1) repositioning the stretched out connective tissue and the separated muscles. This means putting the connective tissue in a narrow position and bringing the muscles closer with the Diastasis Rehab Splint® 2) protecting the connective tissue from getting stretched either in a forwards or sideways direction 3) strengthening the transverse muscle and connective tissue with the Tupler Technique® exercises. The research and evidenced based Tupler Technique® Program is 4 steps and progresses over 18 weeks. How long it takes to close your diastasis depends on the severity or your diastasis and your commitment to all 4 steps of the program. However, you will start to see the changes within the first couple of weeks.
Is Wearing an Abdominal Splint Enough to Close a Diastasis Recti?
Wearing a Diastasis Rehab Splint® is NOT enough to close your diastasis because the sole purpose of wearing the splint is to reposition the muscles and linea alba. Wearing a splint does not strengthen the muscles and connective tissue. You must do the exercises to do that. Wearing the splint does not protect the connective tissue from getting stretched. You need to develop transverse muscle awareness with activities of daily living and while working out.
Wrong Exercises or Diastasis Recti Exercises to Avoid
Exercises that stretch your connective tissue either in a forward or sideways direction can create a diastasis or make it worse. If you cannot engage your transverse muscle, your abdominal muscles are moving in a forward direction stretching your connective tissue.
- Crunches or sit ups- It is impossible to totally engage your transverse in a back lying position when your shoulders are off the floor. That is why you should NEVER do crunches or roll ups and roll backs
- Pilates 100
- Activities where you arch your back and flare your ribs (gymnastics, yoga, swimming)- When your ribs are flared you stretch your connective tissue sideways and it is impossible to totally engage your transverse muscle. Your ribs will flare if you do exercises where you arch your back. There is a lot of back arching in yoga with backbends, and the cobra.
- Crossover activities like tennis and golf- A forward crossover movement with your upper body is a shearing movement that stretches your connective tissue sideways.
Tupler Technique® Diastasis Recti Workout Safe Exercise
In week six of the program, whether the diastasis is closed or not closed, the Tupler Technique® Program teaches how to do a safe diastasis recti workout in order to maintain the gains that have been made in the first six weeks of the program. Because of the weakness in the connective tissue at the belly button, if you start putting forward abdominal force on this weak spot the muscles will separate again. A safe diastasis recti workout is started after developing transverse muscle strengthen and awareness in the first six weeks of the program. Having a strong transverse muscle is important so it can be engaged with every repetition of every exercise. If you cannot hold your transverse in it means either your transverse is not strong enough meaning a weak core OR you are exercising in a position where it is impossible to engage the transverse muscle. An example is crunches, roll ups and roll backs.
You also must avoid exercises that stretch your connective tissue in a sideways direction. These are ANY exercises where you are arching your back. When you arch your back, you are flaring your ribs. When you flare your ribs, it is impossible not only to engage your transverse muscle, but it also stretches your connective tissue in a sideways direction. The other movement that stretches this tissue in a sideways direction is a forward crossover movement. This is a shearing movement.
In week six if you start exercising and you have not closed your diastasis, you will not want to do downward facing down abdominal exercises. In this position all the weight of the organs stretches the connective tissue. So, exercises like pushups or planks can be done standing against the wall.
Healing diastasis recti will not only give you a better- looking belly, but it will give you core strength and a strong core supports your whole body. Yes, closing your diastasis will change the way you look and feel.
WHAT CAN THE TUPLER TECHNIQUE® DO FOR YOUR DIASTASIS?
The Tupler Technique® program will close your diastasis recti (fix diastasis recti ) no matter how you got your diastasis or how long you have had it! It is both research and evidenced based. Our statistics show that if you follow all 4 steps of the program your diastasis will close 55% in six weeks!
You can see what that looks like by checking out our before and after photos. You can also check out our testimonial page and read what doctors and our clients have to say about the Tupler Technique®.
Julie Tupler, creator of the Tupler Technique®, is a registered nurse, certified personal trainer and childbirth educator, and has been treating diastasis recti since 1990 when she started with her Maternal Fitness® Program to prepare women for the marathon of labor and motherhood.
Julie has written three best- selling books on diastasis recti (Maternal Fitness, Lose Your Mummy Tummy and Together Tummy). She has produced five videos (Lose Your Mummy Tummy, Say Goodbye to Your Gut Guys, Perfect Pushing, Ab Rehab and Belly Button Boogie) Her program has been translated into 6 languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Danish and Czech). She has developed the Diastasis Rehab Splint®, Diastometer for measuring diastasis, TogetherTape, Corrective Connective Tissue Cream and TogetherWear. She speaks at medical and fitness conferences all over the world and trains medical and fitness professionals all over the world her Tupler Technique® Program.
Dr Oz says she is an expert on diastasis recti as well as many other physicians.