Exercises for Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti is a separation of the Rectus Abdominis (6 pack) muscles and while is most common in pregnant ladies it can affect both men and women.  If you’re not sure what it is or whether you have Diastasis Recti click here to find out more.  If you have been told or checked for yourself and found a gap is apparent between your Rectus Abdominis bands don’t panic there are simple things you can do to help.

Start with an exercise routine to strengthen the Transverse Abdominals and Pelvic Floor in a posterior tilt (lower back connected to mat) with the hands closing the rectus bands as set out below.

  • Lie in a semi supine position (on back, knees bent, feet on the floor);
  • Place your hands crossed over the abdomen so that the palm of the left hand is crossed over the right rectus muscle belly and the palm of the right hand is crossed over the left rectus belly *this won’t be as wide as your body*
  • Do a small pelvic tilt, pushing your lower your back into the floor;
  • Draw the two rectus muscle bellies towards the midline by pulling both hands towards each other.
  • Maintain this position for 10 seconds breathing normally and then release.

Repeat 5 times.

Stay at Phase One for at least a week, depending on the size of the gap you may be at this phase for a while.  Check your Diastasis every couple of weeks and see if the gap is closing.  If the gap has reduced then you can consider moving on to phase two.

Phase Two – Repeat the same exercise as above, adding a head lift after the pelvic tilt, repeat 5 times to start, gradually increase the reps to 10.  NOTE – Your abdominals should not dome when you carry out this exercise, if they do move back to phase one.  The head and the shoulders should never be lifted before the pelvic tilt as to prevent further diastasis.

While you are focussing on closing the gap and strengthening your abdominals avoid any loaded flexion exercises (e.g. sit ups), heavy lifting or twisting through your upper body.

Remember, all our bodies are different so heal at a different rate.  Keep checking to see if your gap is reducing or has closed.

Always ensure that you are working with an experienced and qualified Pilates teacher and seek advice from your health professional before embarking upon any exercise.


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