Core Strength & Diastasis Recti

The importance of strong core muscles cannot be overstated. Given the major impact diastasis recti can have on pregnant women and moms of all ages (as well as non-moms), it is astounding how little the condition is discussed in the health and wellness community.

I went through most of my young adult life thinking I had a strong core, evidenced by the muscle definition I enjoyed before having kids. Little did I know that all the ab work I had done over the years not only failed to adequately prepare me for pregnancy and motherhood, but even contributed to the problems I began experiencing once I became pregnant.

I, like many women, had never heard of diastasis recti until I was far along in my pregnancy. One day, while leaning back onto the treatment table at a routine prenatal appointment, I pointed out to my doctor what I had started noticing – a bulge running vertically down the center of my stomach every time I leaned back and sat straight up. Although he told me it was normal and the gap would “heal on its own after the baby was born,” it just didn’t sit right with me. After doing some research, I learned that was far from the truth. It was at that moment that I set out to learn everything I possibly could about diastasis recti and proper core strengthening.

I spent years meeting with, and learning from, experts in the medical and fitness fields, and after having my second child, worked closely with a top physical therapist to experiment on myself and figure out exactly what to do and what not to do in order to improve the condition and prevent it in the first place. As hard as it was on me personally, I believe everything happens for a reason. I am now determined to share everything I have learned with as many women as possible.

What is diastasis recti?

The term “diastasis recti” refers to the separation of the outermost layer of the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, or recti (what we commonly refer to as the “six pack”). The recti muscles are a pair of muscles that are joined together by connective tissue called the linea alba. During pregnancy, the pressure of the expanding uterus pushing against the abdominal wall causes this connective tissue to stretch laterally, thereby causing the recti to spread apart.

What causes diastasis recti?

Women who aren’t pregnant, and even men, can experience a separation of the abdominal muscles. This is usually the result of exercises and/or forceful movements done over time without sufficient strength in the core to do them safely, which places too much strain on the abdominal wall and leads to the muscle separation. The more the connective tissue stretches and the recti muscles separate, the weaker the support system for the back and organs become. With the core in this weakened state, pregnant women and moms become more susceptible to many injuries and potentially serious medical conditions.

How can I prevent or treat diastasis recti?

Fitnotic’s Core Strength & Diastasis Recti Program can be used to both minimize the occurrence of abdominal separation prior to and during pregnancy, and improve an existing diastasis regardless of how long ago it was created. Women need to learn the proper exercises to strengthen the transverse abdominis muscle (the innermost layer of the abdominal muscles that draws in the recti muscles) and how to engage the muscles properly in functional movements and exercises. Equally important, many every-day movements must be modified or avoided so women don’t help create a diastasis or make an existing separation even worse. This will help eliminate (or prevent) a “mummy tummy,” sculpt a strong, flat and toned midsection, and most importantly, reduce or prevent back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, pelvic problems, and other potentially serious medical conditions.

Through Fitnotic’s Core Strength & Diastasis Recti Program, you will learn how to strengthen your core from the inside out, and become an expert in identifying whether you can safely engage in particular exercises and movements. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to safely and confidently participate in any workout you desire, knowing what if any modifications you need to make to the workout until you’re strong enough to do it completely.

Who can benefit from the program?

  • Planning on getting pregnant
  • Already pregnant
  • A new mom
  • 20+ years postpartum
  • Suffering from back pain or poor posture
  • Looking to tone, strengthen and flatten their midsection

How can I participate in this program?

Self-guided Online

No single exercise program will be effective or safe for everyone. That’s why Fitnotic offers several programs and helps to ensure that women select the program best suited for them, based on their needs and fitness level. All online programs are designed exclusively by Sheryl and include easy to follow exercise instructions and videos. Click below to learn more.

Customized Online

Customized programs designed exclusively for each woman are ideal for those with conditions or injuries that would make pre-designed programs less effective or unsafe. Customized programs are also helpful for women who would benefit from more one-on-one attention and accountability, as frequent communication is encouraged in order to obtain optimal success.

Private Training (In-person and remote)

If you live in or are visiting NYC, schedule an in-person session with Sheryl on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. In the first session alone, you will learn everything you need to know in order to immediately start strengthening your core and avoid further damage. Once your core is sufficiently strengthened, you will be able to safely engage in any activity or workout you desire.

Training over Skype/Zoom/FaceTime is the perfect solution for those who are unable to come to NYC, or for those busy moms who can more easily workout in the comfort of their own home. Workouts are flexible – minimal equipment is needed in order to get an effective core workout (and cardio and resistance training if desired), and babies can even be incorporated in mom’s workout.

Not exactly sure if you have a diastasis?

In the video below I demonstrate how to test yourself for abdominal separation. If you still aren’t positive if you have a diastasis or how severe it is after following the instructions in this video, it’s OK! If you’re pregnant or a mom, and can stand to increase your core strength, tighten up and flatten your stomach (assuming you’re postpartum), or improve your posture, you can’t go wrong with this program.