This is a question that I am asked frequently. It is a good question because some abdominal binders do weaken your muscles. There are also some other programs being offered out there claiming to close a diastasis and are against the wearing of a splint. So I decided to revisit this topic again and add a few more points to what I have already mentioned in this article I wrote back in 2012 to shed more light on the issue.
If you are interested to know how I came to invent the Diastasis Rehab Splint® click here.
The Diastasis Rehab Splint® will not weaken your muscles. The purpose of this splint is to approximate or reposition both your separated muscles and stretched out connective tissue between your separated muscles. When you bring the muscles closer together they move in the right direction. Front to back. When they are separated by four fingers apart or more they will move in a sideways direction. A sideways direction stretches your already stretched connective tissue. When you reposition the connective tissue you are taking the stretch off it and putting it in a narrow position which is the best position for it to heal.
Allowing the connective tissue to heal means:
Putting your connective tissue in the right position to heal by continuously wearing the Diastasis Rehab Splint®. Your connective tissue is stretched out and weak with a diastasis. The splint brings your muscles together AND takes the stretch off your connective tissue thus putting it in a better “position” to heal.
Strengthening your transverse muscle with the Tupler Technique® exercises. The exercises not only strengthen your transverse muscle, but it strengthens your weakened connective tissue. It takes six weeks to strengthen your transverse muscle so it can then be strong enough so you can use it during your whole exercise routine. That way your exercise routine will be diastasis safe and you will maintain the gains you have made with making your diastasis smaller during your first six weeks.
Protecting your weak connective tissue from getting stretched in a forwards or sideways direction. Any exercises where you arch your back causes your ribs to flare and stretches your connective tissue in a sideways direction. A forward stretching comes by not engaging your transverse muscles with activities of daily living and by being in a position where your abdominals are facing downward.
That’s why it important to refrain the first six weeks of the program from all exercise programs and sporting activities, other than aerobic exercises like walking on a treadmill, upright stationary bike and Elliptical machine and the Tupler Technique® exercises, in order to develop transverse muscle strength and awareness while allowing your connective tissue to heal.
Why it is necessary to wear the splint
When a diastasis of approximately 4 fingers or more is observed through an ultrasound you will see that when the transverse muscle is engaged the recti muscles move in the wrong direction. It moves “sideways” instead of moving backwards towards the spine.
This sideways movement does not strengthen these muscles and also stretches the connective tissue. In order to strengthen your recti muscle, it must move backwards. It is a very important principle in my program to not stretch the already stretched out connective tissue. So in order for the muscles to return to move in a backwards direction they need to be approximated by wearing the splint. Likewise, in order for the connective tissue to heal it also has to be continuously approximated.
However, wearing the splint is just one of the 4 steps of the program. You need to do all 4 steps of the program to close your diastasis. The process of healing connective tissue is positioning the muscles and connective tissue as I have just described, protecting the connective tissue from getting stretched from the intra-abdominal force, pressure, and movements that stretch it and strengthening the transverse muscle. You can learn more about the 4-Step Tupler Technique® by clicking this link here.
You can also download the Tupler Tips eGuidebook here.
In week six of the program once you have strengthened your transverse muscle and know how to use it, you will learn how to incorporate the Tupler Technique® into an exercise routine to maintain all that you have accomplished with the program.
Watch this video of me talking about: Treating Diastasis with the Tupler Technique®
So wearing this splint will actually make your abdominals stronger! Bringing them closer together helps you feel the muscles working while you are doing the exercises. It also puts your connective tissue in a better position to heal. And closing a diastasis is all about healing your connective tissue. Belly binders, whose function is compression (to bring the belly back to the splint) will weaken your muscles as they are doing the work that the muscles need to be doing. When you do the Tupler Technique® Program you will strengthen your abdominal muscles so that they can then do the job of the belly binder.
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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: Save on Packages
Watch the short video below to know what a diastasis is.