TL; DR: You bet, girl! (And we’re totally gonna serve up the secrets on how to do it.)
So, you may have diastasis recti (so sorry) and you’ve Googled your lovely eyes over here (glad to see you!). Now, you need answers.
‘Cause if you have to endure one more day with your abs feeling like they’ve blasted off for outer space, all while not knowing what to do about it, you’ll lose your mind. Or write a “strongly worded letter”… to … oh right, there’s no one to complain to.
‘Cept us. We’ve got you.
And YES, honey, in most cases *you can* heal diastasis recti with just exercise. In fact, exercise is the best and easiest way to address this common problem.
Wait, do you mean crunches?
Diastasis recti is what we call it when the two columns of your abs separate from one another, sort of like elevator doors opening.
It can happen to anyone, technically, but it usually happens to women as a result of the stretching and heaviness of carrying a pregnancy. And the risk goes up depending on your age, how many times you’ve been pregnant before, and if you’re having multiple ankle biters (whoops, we mean delightful children 😉).
Since it manifests postpartum as being unable to really use your abs when you need them, many women with diastasis recti say their abs are just “weak”.
But that’s not actually the case!
Your abs are plenty strong – yep, you always knew you were a strong woman – but the connective, collagen-based tissue holding them together has been stretched and weakened. (This is the tissue that’s affected during an abdominoplasty, or corrective surgery–but trust us, try exercise first).
These muscles can’t just close ranks on their own.
So, trying to build up your six pack muscles isn’t actually the solution here, since crunches will just put more strain on your overtaxed connective tissue and make the problem worse.
We repeat: Please, gorgeous. Lay off the crunches!
Got it. Now what?
You’ve got to activate your transverse abdominis, or TA muscle. It’s part of your deep core, and its fibers run horizontal to the ground (that’s where it gets the “transverse” part), cinching in your organs, ribs, and spine. It supports your entire middle section, pulling your belly button toward your spine and keeping everything stable, just like a corset.
Actually, if you picture a corset, you’re picturing the TA – but made out of whale bone and completely unnecessary. Unless you love fainting.
The TA is a stabilizing muscle, so it’s not associated with any particular movement. You can’t just do a crunch and know you’re activating it.
So what’s a mama to do?
One word, girl:
Pilates and the TA: Epic BFFs
Pilates is an exercise system that’s based on two things:
- Activating your core
- Keeping your midsection stable while completing different movements with your arms and legs
“Wait, wait,” you’re thinking. “Isn’t that what the TA does?”
We knew you’d be a good student, smarty pants!
Pilates, when done with proper technique like we teach in our programs, is one giant party for your TA. You use it to pull in your belly button, stabilize your core, and for every single exercise in the program.
And the stronger your internal corset is, the more effective it will be in cinching your abdominis recti together–and getting you back to feeling like yourself.
What’s that up in the sky? We think it’s your abs coming back from orbit.
Done with your core being MIA? We’ve got a perfect postpartum program made just for you!