Spoiler alert:: Now that I have your attention… I won’t be giving you a list of Diastasis safe movements.
Read on to find out why.
As a fitness professional I see ALL the posts on Diastasis as I’m sure you do too. You know which ones I’m talking about. “The comprehensive list of safe exercises for Diastasis Recti…” “The do’s and don’ts of Diastasis…” And I know they mean well – they are trying to serve a huge audience with a huge need for clarity. However, I think it’s lazy and not the greatest coaching.
It’s limiting at best. What happens when your favorite core exercise is on the ‘don’t’ list? What if you can do all the ‘Diastasis safe movements’ and are at your ceiling for progressing – do you not progress anymore? Or what if you can’t do the ‘Diastasis safe movements’ without symptoms even though they were safe?? It’s disempowering and extremely frustrating to be on the other end of this messaging. However – there is hope.
This is one of the reasons working with a postpartum fitness coach is extremely beneficial. They work with YOU. They strategize with what works for you and help you get to where you want to be.
Here is a hint: it’s not just WHAT movements you are doing – it’s HOW you are doing them. There are specific strategies that you can talk through with a coach and implement to have better function of your core and for the exercise to become more effective. Hallelujah – that’s what I want to hear! But before I jump into certain strategies – let’s talk about mindset.
What core specific movements are you wanting to jump back into? And why? I think it is only advantageous of us to understand our motivation. Is this motivation serving us and setting us up for long term success? I think we sometimes have these beliefs about our postpartum period, ‘if I can get to where I was before, with my strength, core and overall fitness, then I will look like how was before…I’ll get my body back.‘
I’m so sorry to tell you that this isn’t true. It may be for some – but not for all. It’s a harmful belief and one that needs to be let go. What will happen if you do x,y, + z and all the things but still look different than you did preconception? Why do you want to look like you did before? What is wrong with your body now? These are questions you and your coach can work through – or you can even journal yourself. It isn’t wrong to want a different body composition – BUT we need to be aware of our motivations and the reality that our body may not change in appearance like we want it to. When we do this, we can celebrate not just what our body looks like but what it has done and can do for us.
SO now that we have touched on body image and mindset lets go to strategies for movement when you have Diastasis.
Strategies to consider:: breath, alignment/posture, and positioning.
How are you breathing in the exercise? Are you breathing? Is your breathing pattern helping your engagement of your core or making it harder to control/connect?
What is the position of the exercise? Is there an easier movement you can do without symptoms and work up to the one you’re wanting? (ie: Anti rotational movements prior to rotational movements)
How’s your alignment in the exercise? Are your ribs stacked over your pelvis? Pelvis overly posterior or anterior? When our posture and alignment is off, it can be more difficult to control our IAP (intra abdominal pressure) and be more susceptible to symptoms like coning/doming, abdominal discomfort, low back pain or leakage. Check your position of your feet, pelvis and ribs when doing a movement that is causing symptoms.
Once you can master a movement, you can start progressive overload by adding load, reps, or progressing to another more difficult position (ie: elevated plank to a regular one). If you have questions or want a certified fitness coach to walk you through this, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to coach you through this season.
You shouldn’t fear certain movements if you have Diastasis, don’t be discouraged! You can work up to almost any movement you loved before. It does take a whole lot of patience, time, and an amazing team with a pelvic floor pt and fitness professional coaching you through the process! If you’re wanting specific guidance and training, check out my remote coaching!