What is abdominal separation?
Everyone has abdominal separation. Diastasis recti happens when there is a gap of 2 fingers or more. Abdominal separation is most common after having a baby. What happens during pregnancy is the six-pack muscle (Rectus abdominis), which runs down from your breastbone to your pubic bone, is joined together by a fibrous sheath called the Linea Alba. This mid-section of the body stretches and expands to allow room for the baby. The muscles don’t actually split; it is more an abdominal “separation”. A bit like a piece of cling film coming apart.
The result of this separation is that the ‘core’ becomes increasingly weakened, a less stable pelvis, and an overall reduction of functional strength. Weak core muscles and an instable pelvis are a perfect combination for poor posture and low back pain.
Before skipping this article thinking it’s more related to post baby ladies. Abdominal separation isn’t just isolated to the postnatal lady. For example people with muscle imbalances, those working in a job with copious amounts of heavy lifting can get diastasis recti (correct Latin name for abdominal separation). For this other group of individuals it can be caused by a number of factors genetics, or excessive abdominal pressure.
There is no ‘quick’ fix for repairing abdominal separation and doing lots of curl ups is certainly not the correct answer. In fact, curl ups will make your abdominal separation worse. Focusing on just the abdominal muscles in an effort to ‘fix’ the separation will also not resolve the issues.
Muscle imbalances are caused by:
- Heavy lifting
- Poor posture
- Carrying a baby on one hip
- Slumped over
- Picking baby up from the floor/cot/ car seat
The good news is, if you have abdominal separation or suspect you have abdominal separation, the View Studio can help. Our classes are designed to realign the whole body, strengthen the muscles to help stablise the core. We talk about the ‘corset’ a lot in class. The deep abdominal muscles act like a corset around you protecting your lower back. The first step to improving abdominal separation is taking the modification that is on offer in class.
When starting classes either postnatal or otherwise these are some points to consider when treating abdominal separation:
- Is this first/second/third/fourth/fifth baby?
- How is your posture?
- What is your ‘core’ strength like?
- Which muscles feel really tight?
- Which muscles tend to dominate?
- What are some everyday tasks being carried out?
It is good to look at the broader picture. Taking a full-body approach to get the whole system working and functioning in a more efficient way and implementing a healthy lifestyle as part of your daily life.
As discussed earlier, most women with post-natal abdominal separation think the only way to heal the separation is to work their abdominals harder. This is actually counter intuitive and not the time to be gung-ho. Instead, our classes at The View Studio recommend embracing subtle bodywork and modifying a few exercises so that you build strength from the inside out.
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