Diastasis Recti and working out (see video below)
I get this question all the time. There seems to be some misconceptions about workouts being a good thing all the time for all bodies. I am not anti-gym at all, but I would rather my clients understand their bodies’ needs and create workouts that support them rather than thinking (hoping?) that all gym workouts are created equal.
Because they aren’t. And when you are dealing with any core (or physical) issue- it is best to arm yourself with knowledge about what would and could help and what might not. Here are some things to consider.
1. Looking strong, fit, buff and toned does not equal being functional, pain-free and capable to do your activities without compromising your body. The majority of people that I ask why they go to the gym tell me that it is to get toned, fit and strong. Some of them have aches, pains and chronic issues and they hope that by getting more lean and toned, it will alleviate their issues. Sometimes it does. Often people report that it made things worse.
Having muscular looking arms, a 6-pack and a tight butt does not in any way ensure that those muscles work well together, are balanced, are doing their job, and function as part of the whole – known as your body.
2. Your core does not exist in a vacuum and there is no core without the rest of your body. Your core is only as strong as the rest of your body is functional. For example, rigid, tight, or over mobile feet create imbalances and compensations that can affect your ankles, knees, hips and core. If you core issues are related to your overly rigid or mobile feet, then your gym workouts to get your core more flat, toned and tight- are probably not serving your core or your whole body. You might be re-inforcing the movement patterns that are responsible for your core issues to begin with. You are treating the part rather than the whole.
A diastasis recti is a whole body issue. Meaning the origin of the core issue is elsewhere. Trying to spot treat just does not work. You might get more lean by doing kickboxing, cardio intervals, high intensity training, etc – but lean and muscular is not what is needed for healing a diastasis recti. Understanding the root of the problem is.
3. What is the root of the problem? For most people that I assess it is poor breathing patterns that create too much intra-abdominal pressure and leave the upper body rigid and tight, imbalanced leg, hip and pelvic musculature that create a state of constant compensation, postural habits that create excessive tension, a spinet that does not move well, tense and tight abs, and movement patterns that reinforce compensation patterns.
I see people whose bodies barely move, whose arms cannot move without the spine over moving, whose legs are glued to their pelvis, feet are tight, rigid or too mobile, and pelvic floor that cannot support them, a pelvic floor that does not know how to activate, and feet that are either stuck rigid or too mobile.
Gym workouts will not fix those issues. If the relationship between your legs, hips and spine needs attention, or the relationship between your breath, ribs and spine, or your pelvis and leg relationship is needs re-patterning – a high intensity, cardio workout probably will not clear that up. And again, it could just make the issues worse because the faster you move, the less aware you are to how you move.
4. A big part of healing is to learn the ways in which how you currently move do not serve you. Clearing up your patterns, from breath to movement to spinal to postural requires you to re-learn how to move, breath, and exercise. It is not quite as daunting as it sounds!
As part of my Yoga Reset series – short movement break videos- I released a Core Reboot class. These moves, while seemingly core focussed actually involve many other parts than the core. They involve a functional and healthy relationship between your core, shoulders, spine, breath, ribs and pelvis. Try the class and see how it goes for you.
I post videos and classes all the time with conscious and functional exercises. In my free Facebook group called Restore Your Core Community (FB) I post breathing videos and webinars, and if you are ready for a guided program, there is my 13-week step by step comprehensive program Restore Your Core.