Just like having an injured shoulder changes how you lift weights with your arms, the same is true for your abs, and a very common injury known as diastasis merits major changes in your core routine. However, I can’t begin to number how many personal trainers, group fitness personnel, and dance instructors whom I have personally spoken to that don’t know what a diastasis is, how to train around it, or how to check for it. What is even more terrifying is the complacency I see among certified trainers and instructors who think they have already arrived and know everything there is to know about the core. If you are a trainer or instructor of any sort within the fitness, therapeutic, dance, aerobics, strength training or athletic communities, consider this your call to action: Find out how to check for diastasis and learn some alternative exercises for those who have it.
This is an awesome, catchy, new campaign slogan being put out by one of the leading ab rehab experts, and I hope you saw the LIVE Press Briefing that aired on ustream at 10 a.m. on December 5th, 2011. If not, here is a quick video we filmed about how to check your belly yourself. Diastasis Recti has been tied to stress incontinence (peeing your pants when you laugh, jump, sneeze, or cough), chronic lower back pain, bowel troubles, the infamous mummy tummy pooch that we are starting to see in men (beer belly), and more! Please, please watch this for your own health!
If you do have a diastasis, which is a split in the outermost abdominal muscles, or if your clients have one, you need to avoid forward forceful flexion of those muscles which causes them to split more, at least until the connective tissue has healed, and you need to strengthen your transverse abdominus (god-given girdle). Removing the injurious activities and re-cinching the underlying muscles will ensure that the injury does not recur. Not too sure? Think you’ve got a pretty strong core, and you don’t need this? Try the simple test in this video…
Those videos were filmed at Fit2B Studio with guest expert, Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team. Our founder, Bethany Learn, has trained with Kelly and worked with her to offer a line of tummy-safe workouts on this site. Bethany experienced the damage and strain of diastasis herself after thinking she was buff enough to ignore the warnings against crunches during pregnancy. After three pregnancies and not being able to get her core totally back the way she wanted it, Bethany went beyond the basic training she had received through her AFAA certification and her degree from OSU, and sought to understand the missing link. Read her story of core transformation by clicking here!
If you are currently working with a personal trainer, take time to inform him or her of this important public service announcement. I would not be surprised if every trainer out there has at least a small diastasis, because of how much direct core work that most trainers and instructors do, thinking that it will make their abs stronger. Many are taught how to check for diastasis at a full crunch flex, but we don’t live our lives in a full crunch, walking around all hunched over! We live our lives with our abs relaxed, so the above “how to check for diastasis” video shows a more accurate way to check. Guys can get it, too! Watch this video!
If you as a personal trainer are not interested in hearing what I or your clients are telling you about diastasis and how it tragically affects a woman’s ability to fully recover from pregnancy and a man’s ability to recover from surgery, hernias and more…If you can’t design a workout minus crunches or planks, please make a change today. Learn how to check people’s bellies; it’s no more invasive that a caliper body fat pinch test. Learn how to work the core without crunches and prone positions. It will bring MORE clients to your door, not fewer. Contact me if you are taking the n0-crunch pledge so I can add you to a growing list of tummy-safe providers worldwide. This is not about brand and business, this is about people…helping people! Stay tuned for an upcoming blog with lots of great non-crunchy core exercises. I only want to help get the word out.