I’ve been preaching it for months now, but it is always worth a refresher. Get you some resistance bands.
When we have babies, our lines alba (the connective tissue between the “six pack” muscles) gets stretched and worn…much like an overstretched rubber band. The remedy? Strengthen your transverse abdominis, those inner-most abdominal muscles that act like the body’s natural corset.
The exercises in this video specifically focus on the upper region of your transverse abdominis, helping to repair a diastasis recti above the belly button. Remember when you check yourself for diastasis recti, you need to measure below, at, and above your belly button.
Often, a gap in the upper region of your abdomen, is a result of posture issues. Being aware of your daily movements is as important, if not more so, in correcting a diastsasis recti than your rehab exercises. A frustrating diastasis recti is likely a result of flaring your ribs and arching your lower back. I was SUPER guilty of this! Focus on stacking your ribs over your pelvis. (It is so annoying, but keep reminding yourself to do it, and it becomes habit eventually).
I highly recommend reading Katy Bowman’s work on posture. This book is a must: Diastasis Recti: The Whole Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation
Also, check out this blog post by Diastasis Rectified. Clever name and a lot of good information. This awesome drawing she made shows just why a diastasis recti is hard to heal with poor posture.
I remember, long before having babies, that my lower back would ache after being on my feet for long stretches. You know, dancing all night or partying at a day-long concert, my low back was the first to tire. It only makes sense that pregnancy would exacerbate this already poor posture issue of mine. So take a look at your posture in addition to rehab exercises.
Also, poor oblique engagement can also be a reason for an upper diastasis recti that is slow to heal. Focus on strengthening your obliques through side planks, farmers carries, and resistance band exercises like the ones in this video. As simple as this is, it is an easy thing to do as you brush your teeth a couple times a day: stand in front of the mirror and practice your inhale to fill your belly with air, and exhale with a drawing in of the belly button to spine. You should visibly see your ribs shift down as you engage your core.
Final tip for an upper diastasis is that you really want to be sure your ribs are staked when you are lifting anything overhead. With weight overhead, it is very natural for your ribs to flare out. Be mindful. If you are doing a press, put one foot out slightly further than the other.