Diastasis recti

When I fin­ish explain­ing to women about abdom­i­nal sep­a­ra­tions, or Dias­ta­sis Rec­ti, there’s usu­al­ly a look of shock and hor­ror on their faces. “Will it ever go back togeth­er?” they ask worriedly.

Let’s set it straight. Yes, it is pos­si­ble to heal a dias­ta­sis rec­ti — with con­sis­tent and focused effort. Hav­ing an abdom­i­nal sep­a­ra­tion come ful­ly back togeth­er is not the goal though.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Dias­ta­sis Rec­ti (DR) isn’t some­thing many peo­ple are talk­ing about in the fit­ness indus­try, but it screams for our atten­tion because as a train­er you could be mak­ing it much worse.

DR is the result­ing sep­a­ra­tion of the rec­tus abdo­min­is mus­cles bel­lies, as the line alba becomes stretched and lax. The most com­mon cause of dias­ta­sis rec­ti is preg­nan­cy, although it can be seen in men and chil­dren too.

The rec­tus abdo­min­is and line alba becomes stretched ante­ri­or­ly and lat­er­al­ly by the grow­ing fetus dur­ing preg­nan­cy, and the lin­ea alba can stretch and widen.

While the mus­cle bel­lies are usu­al­ly held very close togeth­er, in a DR they’re now sep­a­rat­ed. It’s com­mon­ly thought that at DR has an inter-rec­ti dis­tance (IRD) of at least two fin­ger widths, although it’s com­mon to be as wide as 5–6 fin­ger-widths, or even wider.

Like­wise, where the con­nec­tive tis­sue is nor­mal­ly strong and shal­low, it can become weak and deep, as in “push your fin­gers into your bel­ly and feel puls­ing” deep.

Who cares if a client has a DR?

Train­er should. Large­ly sep­a­rat­ed mus­cles and a lax lin­ea alba are weak­ened sup­port sys­tem. Lim­it­ed sup­port can lead to imbal­anced mus­cle tone, pos­tur­al defi­cien­cies, and injuries that are wait­ing to happen.

If untreat­ed client will even­tu­al­ly train their body to rely on oth­er mus­cles (e.g. hip flex­ors) to sta­bi­lize their pelvis because the ante­ri­or core is now use­less to them.

As a result, their low back pain will be ram­pant and they’ll con­tin­ue to look 5 months preg­nant well into the post­par­tum stage. Where have we tak­en them? A poten­tial­ly big­ger sep­a­ra­tion, a mum­my tum­my that won’t quit, and zero progress in training.

By Jessie Mundell at www.theptdc.com


Pilates and Diastasis Recti

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