What type of ab exercises are safe to perform with diastasis recti?
There is no universal list of dos and don’ts. Research shows exercise is helpful, specifically transverse abdominis activation. It also shows that some exercises can be harmful, like planks if your body isn’t ready and you aren’t doing them correctly.
Your condition is unique to your body, and I always recommend a few sessions with a physical therapist before diving into our diastasis recti exercise program. Moms Into Fitness has designed these workouts specifically to stay away from added pressure on the belly tissues, where the separation occurs. We then gradually we add in more traditional exercises and functional exercises to set your body up for success!
For a taste of what we cover in our full diastasis rehab program, try these 5 core exercises and do them several times a week. Add in these diastasis safe arms and diastasis safe legs workouts, and if you’re a runner, read up on guidelines for running with diastasis recti.
One last piece of advice before we get into the exercises … the 23.5 hours a day that you spend not exercising are almost more important than you .5 hours of exercising. Watch this 2 minute video on diastasis recti and posture.
Set up: Begin lying on your back with your knees bent, feet resting on the floor, and your fingers resting on your stomach just inside your hip bones.
On an exhale, tighten your abdominals, drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Exhale all the air completely. You should feel your muscle contract under your fingers. Hold this position, then relax and repeat. If this exercise is brand new to you, keep your back flat against the floor, without titling your pelvis, and breathe throughout the exercise. Do this exercise frequently throughout the day to train your brain to contract the TA in functional positions (lifting your child, unloading laundry, driving in the car, etc.). Perform for 30 – 60 seconds.
SIDELYING TA BREATH
Set up: Begin lying on your side with your knees bent, feet resting on the floor, and the fingers of your top hand resting on your stomach – just inside your hip bone.
Tighten your abdominals, drawing your belly button in towards your spine. You should feel your muscle contract under your fingers. Hold this position, then relax and repeat. Breathe. Perform for 30 – 60 seconds.
BENT KNEE FALLOUTS WITH AB BRACING
Set up: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor.
Use your TA breath to tighten your abdominals. Without letting your hip bones move, slowly lower one knee out towards the floor — only as far as you can without your pelvis moving. Slowly return to starting position. Alternate with other leg, repeat. Brace your core so your pelvis is stationary. Perform for 30 – 60 seconds.
Set up: Begin lying on your back with both legs bent and your feet resting on the ground.
Use your TA breath to tighten your abdominals. This will engage your deep core muscles to lift your hips off the ground into a bridge. Hold at the top briefly. Lower by rolling down one vertebrae at a time, then repeat. Your body should be in a straight line at the top of the movement. Keep your hips level throughout the exercise. Perform for 30 – 60 seconds.