RECOMMENDED EXERCISES PLUS MORE TO HEAL DIASTASIS RECTI POST PREGNANCY
| Julie Tupler
Have you been wondering how to get rid of your postpartum belly? Don’t even think of doing crunches to get your belly back before reading this article. Here’s why. Crunches separate your abdominal muscles! This is called DIASTASIS RECTI. In my almost 30-years’ experience, this condition affects almost 95% of postpartum women. And this condition is largely responsible for your bulging belly. Continue reading to know about the recommended exercises to heal diastasis recti post-pregnancy.
Surprisingly, there is a lack of research material on the condition. And if this isn’t already enough, women are not regularly checked for DR at their standard postpartum visit that occurs usually six weeks after giving birth. And when you get a diagnosis, the typical response is that core workout i.e. crunches — will tone their abdominal muscles and therefore, close the gap.
Closing your diastasis recti is all about healing your weakened connective tissue. This is not an overnight process, but, if you follow what I’m going to share with you here you will see the healing process beginning in as soon as three weeks!
As a Registered Nurse, Certified Childbirth Educator and Certified Personal Trainer, I developed the Maternal Fitness® Program in 1990. For almost 30 years I've been teaching and developing the Tupler Technique® Program for the treatment of diastasis recti for women, men and children and I can say with no hesitation that exercise can only help if it is “diastasis safe” and combined with healing the connective tissue.
The term diastasis itself means separation while recti refer to the rectus muscles, these are the muscles that are the outermost muscles in the abdominal area. So it’s the separation of the abdominal muscles or abdominal separation.
The connective tissue I spoke about healing is the connective tissue that joins these outermost muscles that have been stretched and weakened when the muscles separate.
The function of the outermost abdominal muscles is to support your back and organs. When the muscles separate, they no longer are doing their job of supporting your back and organs. It is now the weak connective tissue supporting your back and organs. Unsupported organs can give you that belly bulge.
This condition, unbeknownst to most people, is quite common among women after giving birth and it worsens with each pregnancy.
How to check yourself
A diastasis 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
How does my program – Tupler Technique®-work?
My program closes your diastasis by healing the connective tissue. Healing the connective tissue means making it strong enough to hold the muscles in a close together position. Healing connective tissue with the Tupler Technique® is the following three things:
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®
Protecting the connective tissue from getting stretched either in a forward or sideways direction.
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 of 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. How Long Does It Take to Close a Diastasis?
During the first six weeks of the program, I recommend only diastasis safe cardio exercise such as:
upright stationary bike
Please avoid these exercises during the first six weeks of the program:
It is important to be belly breathing while doing your cardio exercises. During this time, it is important to allow the connective tissue to heal while strengthening your transverse abdominal muscle and learning how to use it with activities of daily living. You use your abdominals with every move you make and every breath you take. That is why you must develop both abdominal strength and awareness so you can protect your weak connective tissue from getting stretched.
In week six of the program once you have developed abdominal strength and awareness, when starting to exercise again it is important that it is modified so it is diastasis safe exercise so you can maintain the gains you have made during the first six weeks.
Watch my video to learn more:
Improper Exercise Can Create or Make a Diastasis Larger-Julie Tupler, RN
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