New Coming Year, New Better Belly! - The Elevator Exercise
There are four main elements of 18-week The Tupler Technique® program:
- Holding the transverse muscle in
- Using the splint
- Getting up and down correctly
Here, we are only going to talk about diastasis safe exercises
BABY STEPS...WALK FIRST
The Tupler Technique® exercises progress over 18 weeks. The first six weeks is the foundation of the program and we recommend no other exercise program other than walking. Then is week six we teach you how to incorporate the Tupler Technique® into an exercise routine. Once you’ve completed the 18 weeks, it’s essential to continue the regimen of Week 18 until your diastasis is closed, if it hasn’t closed already.
Exercise 1: The Elevator
This exercise must be done in a seated position, with your back supported. Sit straight up. Posture is really important here—your back should be in a neutral position with no arch in your spine and not a rounded spine. Using a chair ( or couch) with a pillow, or pillows on your couch, as support is your best bet. Keep your back immobile by making sure that it’s resting against either the pillow or the straight back of the chair. Maintaining a neutral spine places the least amount of stress on the connected tissues, which as you know by now, is definitely something we need to be aware of. The neutral spine also allows for optimized breathing and oxygen circulation, while using the least amount of energy to hold a desired muscular position. In other words, it’s easier on your body to work your transverse effectively with a neutral spine.
So what actually is a “neutral” spine. Try this. Sit on a chair. Let’s feel what the two extremes of lumbar motion feel like. So stick out your belly. This will arch your back. Put your hand on your spine and feel the disks going inward. Remember when you arch your back your ribs flare and this movement stretches your connective tissue. Not only does it stretch your connective tissue, this position makes it impossible to work the recti and transverse muscle on top. More about this in the next paragraph. The arching is one extreme. Now slouch and your back will round. Feel your disks going outwards. This is the position most people sit in. Not good for your spine and not good for your abdominal muscles. It is extremely difficult to engage the transverse in this position. Neutral spine is right in the middle between rounding and arching!
Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, so your thighs are parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your shins. So you should be able to draw a straight line between your hip and your knee and your knee and your ankle bone. Chances are (unless you have an adjustable chair) you’re going to either need to put something like a phone book under your feet, or a cushion under your butt to get your legs into this proper position, depending on how tall you are. Sitting up straight, your shoulders should be aligned with your hips, and your hips should be lined up with your knees.
If you’re wondering why they’re called elevators, it’s because I visualize the transverse muscle as a front-to-back elevator, able to make stops at various points along the way. When I refer to first floor, I’m talking about the position of your belly fully and naturally extended or in a relaxed position.. Fifth floor is the position where your transverse is IN as far back as you can possibly bring it. I tell my clients to imagine their belly button (the engine that moves the transverse muscle) touching the inner spine. And sixth floor—one of my favorites!—is when you give your transverse muscle an isometric squeeze and visualize your belly button going past your spine or your outer spine. Sometimes I refer to this as “out the back.”
Almost there. In order for you to do the exercises correctly I need to review the anatomy of the transverse muscle. It encircles the abdomen and back like a corset. The transverse attaches to the bottom six ribs, pelvis in the back, and to the linea alba in the front. The top of the muscle goes behind the recti and the bottom of the muscle goes in front of the recti. Since the top of the of the transverse goes behind the recti and is attached to the recti when you engage the transverse it is pulling the recti back so it makes sense that it’s more difficult to engage that part and feel the transverse working in your upper abdomen, since it has less of a distance to go when moving backwards. The lower part of your transverse, in front of the recti. So now it is pushing the recti back and we all know that pushing is easier to do than pulling! Because the transverse inserts behind and in front of the recti, you can work the top and bottom separately. Another concept to remember. When we are strengthening a muscle we are shortening it. So to shorten the recti is must go backwards. Because of the insertion of the transverse behind the recti muscle on top, it is much harder for it to move backwards. So if I see a client’s diastasis either getting bigger on top or not getting smaller, they may be working it in the wrong direction….forward. A forward movement makes the muscles longer and also puts force on the weak connective tissue. So, your starting position is crucial to do the seated exercises corrected. You need to do three things:
- Have two hands resting on your belly. One on top and one on the bottom so you know that both the top and bottom of the recti muscle are moving in a backwards direction.
- Bring your ribs in. Close your eyes and visualize your ribs coming together. You should feel this with your hands. Remember if the ribs are flared it is a double whammy! It stretches the connective tissue and you cannot engage your transverse muscle
- Correct posture. Shoulders lined up with hips and knee lined up with ankle. So now finally…..on the instructions.
WATCH OUT FOR THE 2nd PART "What Are Diastasis Safe Exercises For Men? [PART 2] Exercise 2: Contracting "
The Tupler Technique® is a prescription for core-strength to treat abdominal separation for women, men, & children wanting a flatter belly, strong back & smaller waist.
To learn more about Diastasis Recti & the Tupler Technique® read this article: DIASTASIS RECTI RESEARCH AND EVIDENCED BASED EXERCISE PROGRAM
To view my programs click this link: Program Packages for Men
Watch the short video below to know what a diastasis is.