Being pregnant and delivering a baby is hard on a woman’s body.
Many women face a condition called diastasis recti, which one study suggested is experienced by 60 percent of women postpartum.
Diastasis recti, the separation of the abdominal muscles, can cause the abdomen to bulge or sag and can even cause abdominal and pelvic pain after delivery.
The muscles of the abdomen naturally separate during pregnancy as the body allows room for the fetus.
This separation generally heals within about 8 weeks post partum as the abdominal muscles come back together as the uterus shrinks back to its usual size.
If you have diastasis recti after having children, you may see a ‘pooching’ or domed appearance of your stomach, especially when coming up from a lying position on your back.
Sometimes you may still appear a few months pregnant.
Many moms accept this condition as normal and if they don’t exercise caution when training, the condition will not get better and could worsen.
“But wait! My youngest child is in FIVE! Is it too late to fix this problem or is it too late?”
Rest easy, Momshell! It’s not too late!
Through a series of exercises that engage your deepest layer of abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis muscle, you can effectively rehabilitate and strengthen your core to improve the gap.
You may not bring the muscles back together completely, but you can definitely make improvements to strength, stability AND the way your tummy looks!
If you have diastasis recti, you will want to avoid decline crunches, traditional sit-ups, decline oblique twists, jack-knifes and leg lifts- all of these movements put pressure on the abdominals.
Exercises that are safe to perform include exercises that will draw the abdominal muscles closer together and decrease the size of the separation like the ones demonstrated in this workout.
Follow the steps listed in the warm-up for the workout in order to correctly contract the transverse abdominis muscle prior to exercising.
If you consistently perform these exercises 2-3 times a week and reduce overall body fat by following a clean diet, you can expect to see an improvement in your abdominal separation and create that hourglass silhouette in 3-6 months!
Warm Up- Transverse Abdominus Activation
How to activate your transverse abdominus (TA):
- Begin by lying on the mat on your back with your knees bent.
- Release your breath and relax your abdominal muscles.
- As you breathe in, draw your belly button IN.
- Keep your abs tight, tuck your pelvis up and keep your spine completely in contact with the mat.
- The final step is to draw your obliques together.
- As you complete the exercises below, continue to press your belly button back to your spine and keep the pelvis tucked in. You will see in this video I frequently place my hand on my abdomen to make sure I am keeping the core tight and my TA engaged. For kneeling and standing exercises, continue to keep belly button drawn back to your spine and your pelvis tucked as you perform the movements.“
No More Mommy Tummy: Momshells Ab Workout to Rehab Diastasis Recti
Perform each movement for 30 seconds each. Rest for 1 minutes then complete 2 more rounds
1) Single leg lift right
2) Single leg lift left
3) Heel slide right
4) Heel slide left
5) Standing thigh toner left
6) Standing thigh toner right
7) Lying table top toe taps
8) Cat Cow
BONUS: perform 20 minutes of fat burning cardio (outdoor walk/hike is a great workout) and try to work in a fat burning zone where your heart rate is between 120-140 bpm or carrying on a conversation would be difficult.