Exercise for Recti Diastasis
Exercise for recti diastasis (ab separation) that are beneficial for all of us- lifelong.
Men, Women, Now Even Children Experience AB Separations
All of us should consider using today’s two simple (not easy) foundational AB exercises.
Both are foundational to our posture and spine stability, which is why you will see them in multiple exercise sequences I’ve developed and used over the past 4 decades.
Taking time to master them will pay off!
Last Week’s Post: AB Separation is Part 1 of this 2 Part Series
Post 1 shares:
- How to check for AB separation(s).
- Common Types of AB separations.
Recti Diastasis: Ab Separation.
The muscular separation of the left and right sides of the stomach muscles. It’s common and can go unnoticed for years.
Doing an ab check is a great place to start.
Now for The Two Exercises.
Exercise for Recti Diastasis
Strengthen Your Core: Torso Triad
Both exercises re-stabilize the instability an ab separation(s) creates.
They do that by strengthening the Torso Triad of Muscles.
- Pelvic Floor
- Rectus abdominis
Leveraging the way the body works makes every repetition of the 2 Exercises effective, adding up to the results you are looking for, plus both exercises provide exponential benefits.
Exercise for recti diastasis offers a multitude of benefits.
As Ab Separation improves so does:–
- Pelvic floor function
- Spine stability which benefits our:
- Upper & Lower Back….
Once an ab separation is resolved, the same 2 exercises are preventative.
Exercise; Identifying Key Muscles, Positioning, Breathing & Action:
Both exercises are broken into:
- Identifying the Muscle Key to results.
- Positioning (It is as important as the action)
- Breathing during the exercise (Improves or impedes your progress)
- Action (biomechanics of the exercise)
For Even More Guidance
For more detailed guidance on any aspect of the two exercises there are:
- Additional Posts
- Educational/instructional videos and
- Exercise Routine Videos
readily available for you on this website and Youtube.
Youtube’s Simplify Self Care with mo channel has a Playlist titled: Strengthen Your Core Muscles which has the videos relevant to this post.
Email subscribers can always access the videos relevant to posts) here on: The Simple Self Care Lifestyle video topics page.
Videos on the Topics Page are:
- organized into ‘Topics’
- all the videos for each Topic are on a single page
- arranged in order.
This way you have EASY access to revisit videos without having to re-find a post.
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Exercise 1 Focus: Proper Activation of Core Muscles that Stabilize Your Spine
Exercise 1 Identifying the Muscles to Get Results
Proper activation of your core muscles — must include the number one spine stabilizing muscle, the diaphragm, in order to be effective.
Exercise 1 Muscle 1: Diaphragm
- The Diaphragm will strengthen when we are in the proper position and using the E for E breathing during Exercise 1 and 2.
Here is a visual of how the diaphragm will become engaged and strengthen. The diaphragm will move upward when you contract the lower 1/3 of your abs.
The Key to strengthening the diaphragm is the Exhale part of the E for E breathing (we will cover next). As you contract the lower third of your abs your air will move upward.
Exercise 1 positioning and breathing will encourage strengthening the diaphragm.
As you master the breathing technique the diaphragm will continue to strengthen.
A strengthened diaphragm is key when it comes to closing an ab separation because the diaphragm is the NUMBER 1 spine stabilizing muscle.
A strong diaphragm creates a strong pelvic floor . Pelvic floor happens to be Muscle 2 of Exercise 1.
Exercise 1 Muscle 2: Pelvic Floor
- pelvic floor muscles. They too will strengthen when we are in the proper position and use the E for E breathing.
How Do the Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor Improve an AB Separation?
When trained the diaphragm and pelvic floor work in sync,
They offer the top and bottom support of the abdominal cavity. This helps to make all ab work you do more effective.
Think of it like a box (Lots more detail in E for E post.)
Exercise 1 Muscle 3: Rectus Abdominis
Finding: Recti Abdominis Ex 1
Technique to Identify the Lower 1/3 of Your ABS:
Exercise 1 is done sitting in a chair but before we get positioned in the chair let’s locate the lower 1/3 of the ab muscle.
The technique I’ve found the most useful in helping clients find the lower third of their abdomen is to imagine you’re trying to blow up a balloon.
This technique is often helpful in locating the lower 1/3rd of the abs because we typically use our lower abs to blow a balloon up.
If we attempt to blow a balloon up using the air from our lungs we really won’t get far.
Let’s Try The Technique
To make sure Exercise 1 is effective please take a moment to pretend you are blowing up a balloon.
Imagine that point where the air from your lungs has emptied and you must dig deep to get the balloon blown up (you don’t want to lose the air you have in there) so you will notice you start pressing the lower 1/3 of your abs.
That’s it! You’ve found the muscle! That is the lower third of your abs.
That is the muscle we will use in the seated position over and over again.
If you didn’t quite find it yet, that’s fine too! It’ll come with practice. Some clients actually practiced on a balloon.
IMPORTANT: We will NOT be using this type of breathing!!! We are using this technique to locate the muscle. Specifically the lower 1/3rd of our abs.
Now, Let’s grab a stool or armless chair.
Position Ex 1 is done in a chair.
Video Positioning instruction start at min 01:11
Breathing: E for E (Exhale on Effort)
Starting with the Inhale:
Inhale through the nose. Slowly, deeply, filling your entire abdominal cavity. Then…
Have your mouth slightly ajar.
Press the lower 1/3 of your abs and you will recognize you are pressing the air up and out.
This is E for E breathing
It is amazingly effective and over time it will train your diaphragm, your pelvic floor (to more effectively work together).
The E for E post goes into great detail. You can visit it to really get into mastering the breathing.
E for E is essential for both Exercise 1 and 2.
Try using it for everyday activities too- like lifting something heavy, pushing a vacuum, getting in and out of a chair….
It is amazingly protective and has a positive impact on our overall strength and well-being.
The E for E breathing used in Exercise 1 and 2 is Simple– but often not easy to get the hang of.
Practicing over time it’ll become 2nd nature and your ENTIRE body will benefit!
We’ve now practiced:
- the balloon technique to identify the right muscles
- positioned ourselves in an armless chair
- and walked through the breathing technique
we are ready for Exercise 1 Action.
Exercise Recti diastasis Action
- Sit tall, tall, tall.
- Inhale through the nose filling your entire abdominal cavity
- Press the lower 1/3 of your abs contracting them as much as you can while still maintaining a tall upright position.
You will feel a nice stretching in your back as your pelvis tips slightly forward.
- Release allowing the air to inhale again through your nose.
ready to give it a go!?!
Video:2-1/2 min Exercise Routine
Haven’t Gotten It Down Yet? No Problem!
To get more details and added guidance: The Post titled Fixing Neck Humps explains HOW training the Diaphragm increases your Abs and Pelvic Floor making all three stronger at the same time!
Exercise 2: Identifying the Muscles
The same muscles as Exercise 1 You’ll use the:
- Pelvic Floor
- The Lower 1/3rd of abs.
- On our back
- Legs start bent with our feet flat on the floor
- We will lift 1 leg at a time placing our Prop between them.
- We will use a prop between our knees and ankles to help our right and left legs to stay in sync. This protects us from working one side more than the other when we have a separation.
- Constantly check your back with your hands to be sure you find the spot where your legs can be bent, holding the prop, AND maintain your back 100% Flat on the floor.
This is imperative! There should no space, zero, nada, not even a millimeter of space between your back and the floor.
Position Tip: To help get the flat back you can place a pillow beneath your head.
The support under this part of your spine helps the lower part of your spine flatten.
Now you are ready for the last part of the positioning which is adding
- the arm wrap.
REMINDER as long as our Abs have a Separation the Positioning includes an Arm Wrap. (min 4:50).
An arm wrap is where you:
- Place your right arm across your torso and place your hand close to the floor on the left side.
- Then your left hand wraps over to hold on to the right side.
You slowly, but firmly bring the 2 sides closer together and hold while you do the exercise.
The Arm Wrap Helps Bring The 2 Sides Closer
Exercise 2: Breathing
Same E for E. Exhaling on the Effort Breathing.
The Exhale is when we contract the lower 1/3 of the abs.
Action of Ex 2
Please Note: When you start out the Position may be the ACTION for you.
If having your legs in a 90 degree angle while pressing the your lower third of your abs and keeping your back flat is a muscular challenge that is your ACTION!–
Use the video to pace how long to build up to.
During the video you will make progress as you work to get in and out of the position properly.
Working up over time from there.
This is great!
Exercise 2- 2.5 minute routine
If on the other hand keeping your position is not challenge enough we use the bent legs as resistance ‘weight’.
- Maintaining the 90 degree angle as you
- Pressing the lower 1/3rd of the abs Exhaling
- Move your legs from the hip.
As the legs move as a unit it challenges the abs strengthening them as they resist your back trying to pop off the floor.
Reminder NEVER go so far that your back lifts off the ground.
If your back lifts, even slightly, it is counter productive.
go into lots of detail of this 2nd Exercise.
Plus I’ve listed other posts below for you that expand on the benefits of these two foundational recti-diastasis exercises.
Ready to start!
- I would begin with 21 Days of Ex 1
- Then I would slowly layer on Ex 2
To Layer on Exercise 2 I would:
- Practice getting into the Exercise 2 position each day after I finished my Exercise 1.
- Over 21 days I’d slowly work up to doing as much as I could of Exercise 2 video.
Day 43 I would begin alternating routines
- Exercise 1 video on 1 day
- Exercise 2 video on the next day and repeat…..
After a couple weeks I’d then consider doing the 90 days 5 Simple Exercises Sequence to take your posture and core strength to the next level!!!!!
Re-Cap: 2 Exercises for Recti diastasis. A tracking pdf and Links
- Identified the Key Muscles.
- Pelvic Floor
- Ab Muscles to workout and get results.
- E for E breathing. How it is protective and improves progress.
- Walked through Exercise 1 and 2 Positioning with links additional resources
- Arm Wrap
- Action of the exercises
- Below are more links and a pdf 30 day tracking sheet if you’d like to follow your progress.
- Links to Posts and Videos that go into even more detail and expand on the benefits of these two foundational recti-diastasis exercises. Some topics include: