What is abdominal separation / diastasis recti?

Abdominal separation is a common condition that occurs in pregnancy and postpartum, where the left and right halves of the rectus abdominis (six pack muscles) separate.  Diastasis means separation, and recti refers to the rectus abdominis muscles.

abdominal separation mutusystem

Abdominal separation is caused by overstretching of abdominal muscles, to allow to growth of the uterus and baby during pregnancy.  A small amount of widening of the gap happens in all pregnancies and is normal. Abdominal separation occurs in about 30% of all pregnancies.  The gap returns to less than 2 finger-widths spontaneously in most pregnancies, but for many, the tissue remains too wide, causing problems.  The abdominal muscles become weak, and therefore reduce the protection and stability of the whole body, not just the abdomen section.

How to test for abdominal separation / diastasis recti?

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor
  2. Place one hand on your abdomen, with your fingertips just above the belly button
  3. Lift your upper body a couple of inches off the floor, and gently press your fingertips on the abdomen
  4. Move your fingertips along the midline, above and below the belly button to check for separation
  5. A gap of two or more finger-widths is generally considered as abdominal separation

What exercises / movements should be avoided when abdominal separation is present?

Once abdominal separation is confirmed, you will need to focus on pulling the abdominal muscles closer together, and avoid any movements that pull the muscles apart on a daily basis.

Here’s a quick checklist of exercises / movements to avoid:

  • Flexion of the spine. Examples: crunches, sit-ups. Not only crunches and sit-ups make the separation worse, they are also bad for the back. So no more crunches or sit-ups ladies!
  • Crunching up to get out of bed or get up from the floor. Always roll over to your side, then use your arms to push yourself up to a sitting position.
  • Any movement that involves strong / resisted rotation or side flexion. Examples: side crunches, russian twists, ab ‘bicycles’, side-bends with dumbbells.
  • Plank.  The amount of pressure placed on your abdominals while holding a plank can be immense, it can easily make any gap in your abdominals worse.  As the separation heals, this exercise can be slowly introduced into your workouts.
  • Movements that stretch the abdominals. Example: back extensions. Not only these movements will feel uncomfortable, they are inappropriate for weakened abdominal muscles.

So you might be thinking ‘what can I do about my abdominal separation’? Luckily, there are specific exercises you can do to help your abdominal muscles recover, and I am here to help explain it to you. Find out more on our ‘Abdominal Separation Recovery Programmehere.

Mother’s day personal training Leatherhead, Surrey

Motherโ€™s Day Sunday 22 March 2020

Mother's Day offer

Motherโ€™s Day is fast approaching! If you are looking for a thoughtful, health and fitness related Motherโ€™s Day gift (or a treat for yourself), look no further. I have put together a special programme to help mums kickstart their fitness and achieve better health. The recipient will get 4 x 45 minute sessions tailored to her fitness level and goals.

Only 3 places available at this rate. First come first serve.

I specialize in the following areas:
๐ŸŒŸKickstart fitness
๐ŸŒŸPre/postnatal fitness
๐ŸŒŸNutrition and fitness for weight loss
๐ŸŒŸFitness for over 60s
๐ŸŒŸFitness prescription for the management of certain medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma)

Training venue: local park in Leatherhead, your own home (Leatherhead only), or via online video call.

 

Find out what clients say: https://winniefitness.com/testimonials/

To secure your place or book a free consultation, email info@WinnieFitness.com or fill in the form below:

Fitness achievement award – Autumn term 2018

Fitness achievement award at WinnieFitnScholarship award(3)ess goes to: Anna L.

Anna achieved her goals of getting back in shape after having a baby, recovering safely and effectively. She focused on nutrition habits, staying active while following a bespoke postnatal fitness programme.
Anna lost 9.8 kg in 3 months and is a very happy mummy! Congratulations!

Read Anna’s story here.

Prize: three complimentary personal training sessions.