If your middle is muddled like mine was after having two kids – but you’ve never had kids, or maybe you have eight – and it makes weird shapes when you try to sit up, or you could swear you can fit your whole hand in your tummy trench, and no matter how much you overexercise and diet trying to “lose the pooch” it WON’T. GO. AWAY! Then you might have a SEPARARTION in your abs that is totally fixable without surgery or crazy workouts. It’s called a diastasis recti, and it’s an injury to your abdominal muscles that leaves your vital organs unprotected and unsupported by the core. Put simply, having a “die-ass-tuh-sees” means that your abs have literally come apart at the seam of connective tissue (linea alba) fasciae where the four abdominal layers are supposed to join… and stay joined. What should be a finger-width trench down the middle of your abs has become wider than that… much wider!
What is Diastasis? Diastasis occurs when continuous forward forceful pressure stretches apart your outermost abdominal layer, also known as your six-pack or rectus abdominus. For a long time, having a split in the abdominal wall was accepted as normal and natural in women that had carried more than one pregnancy. However, thousands of cases of “mummy tummies” in men and women have never been pregnant have been documented by diastasis experts such as Julie Tupler, physical therapists like Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team and personal trainers like Kim Vopni from Pfilates.
Why don’t more people know about it? The reason most people do not know about diastasis has a lot to do with our visual society. Women are told that they are just being vain and that a pooch is normal after pregnancy. We have forgotten the fact that our core isnt there to make us look good in a swimsuit, and when we do want to get ready for swimsuit season, we put WAY too much focus on the six-pack. Unfortunately, targeting just the outside “pretty” muscles with endless crunches,planks, burpees and sit ups can truly SHRED them.
What’s wrong with “shredded” abdominals? Abs with a diastasis recti where the rectus abdominus has split apart can cause serious health issues such as…
- chronic lower back pain because a deflated core won’t support your spine
- stress incontinence (a.k.a. “leaking” when you sneeze or laugh or jump) because a weak inner core won’t hold pressure up off your pelvic floor and bladder.
- prostate health because true core training will massage the prostate in beneficial ways
- bowel issues because the abs aren’t holding the organs in the right spots and shielding them from outside jostles and bumps… how are those shredded abs sounding now?
How can I check myself for a Diastasis? Fit2B Studio provides a free self-check video for diastasis that we filmed with a physical therapist who is an expert on the subject of core training for the prenatal and postnatal client. You can watch that video by clicking here!
What do I do if I have one? If you have a diastasis, the good news is that if you abandon crunches, sit ups and unmodified planks while pursuing corrective training and rehab, you can close your split, lose inches, and start reclaiming your body’s health. My work with Fit2B Studio has expanded to offer several free tools and resources to help raise awareness worldwide, and we want people to know that help is out there. Healing is possible, and you don’t need to stop exercising. Walking is the best, and if you modify your current routine and learn how to strengthen your deepest core muscles, you’ll take pressure OFF that injury so it can start closing and reknitting. To learn more, please head over to our Diastasis awareness section where you will find printables, handouts, more videos, and a directory of professionals worldwide!