Until recently, most of the research surrounding the way to heal diastasis recti has centered on the goal of closing the abdominal gap. Similarly, the primary objective of many postpartum exercise programs was to reduce or eliminate this gap as a means of recovery from diastasis recti. Historically, these exercises concentrated on physically coaxing together the two sides of the abdominal muscles, sometimes using resistance bands, and exercises to bring the muscles back together at the midline. The underlying concept was to retrain the rectus abdominis muscles to function in tandem once more.
However, emerging research has shed new light on this approach, suggesting that merely closing the gap may not be the most critical aspect of diastasis recti recovery. Recent studies emphasize the importance of restoring tension in the linea alba, thereby redefining what constitutes “healing” diastasis recti. This paradigm shift recognizes that the emphasis should not solely be on reducing the separation but on ensuring that the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles becomes taut and supportive once more.
Basically, the depth of the gap (how deep you can sink your fingers into your belly) is more important than the width (how wide your muscles are from the midline.)
If you haven’t tested yourself for diastasis and don’t know how deep your gap is, here’s a quick live video I did showing you how to test both the width and the depth of your gap.
Understanding the Significance of Linea Alba Tension
The linea alba, a band of connective tissue running down the midline of the abdomen, plays a pivotal role in abdominal support and stability. Its function extends beyond merely closing the gap between the rectus abdominis muscles; it also provides essential tension and support for the core, which in turn can heal diastasis recti much more effectively.
When the linea alba lacks tension, it can lead to ongoing issues, even if the gap between the abdominal muscles diminishes. This includes weakened core strength, poor posture, and the potential for recurrent symptoms of diastasis recti. Therefore, healing diastasis recti effectively involves not only narrowing the gap but also ensuring that the linea alba becomes robust and resilient once again.
A Shift in Approach: Tension-Oriented Rehabilitation
Given the newfound understanding of the importance of linea alba tension, modern diastasis recti rehabilitation programs are shifting their focus. Rather than solely fixating on closing the gap, these programs prioritize exercises and techniques that promote tension within the connective tissue.
- Tension-Building Exercises: Rehab programs now incorporate exercises specifically designed to enhance tension in the linea alba. These exercises target the deep core muscles, promoting a sense of support and stability within the abdominal region.
- Breathing Techniques: Proper breathing techniques are emphasized to encourage diaphragmatic breathing, which not only engages the core muscles effectively but also aids in maintaining tension in the linea alba.
- Posture and Alignment: Maintaining good posture and alignment is crucial for linea alba tension. Programs now integrate posture-focused exercises to ensure that the core remains optimally supported.
- Functional Movement: The inclusion of functional movements in diastasis recti rehab aims to simulate real-life activities, helping individuals regain tension and strength for everyday tasks.
- Nutrition and Hydration: A well-balanced diet and proper hydration are essential for tissue health. Nutrition guidelines are often part of modern diastasis recti recovery programs to support the linea alba’s ability to regain tension.
A better approach
The conventional approach to heal diastasis recti, centered solely on closing the abdominal gap, is evolving. Recent research highlights the significance of restoring tension in the linea alba, shifting the focus of recovery programs. This new perspective recognizes the importance of achieving not just closure but also a robust and resilient core, ultimately redefining the concept of healing diastasis recti. As we continue to gain insights into this condition, individuals seeking recovery can benefit from a more comprehensive and tension-oriented approach that prioritizes the holistic health of the abdominal area.
The most effective program to heal diastasis recti
As a fitness coach, mom of 3 (who had a very deep DR to heal after my twins), and founder of AlphaMamas Fitness, I made our signature program, the Core Corrective, to offer a complete, holistic approach to core and pelvic floor strength for postpartum moms. I created the program with targeted and specific exercises to help create tension at the midline so that depth of your diastasis recti will dramatcially decrease. This targeted approach to heal diastasis recti will give you better visible results, resulting in a flatter belly and stronger core.
We’ve helped over 15,266 moms regain strength, heal diastasis recti, and feel strong and confident in their bodies. In just 4 weeks, you’ll see and feel a noticeable difference in your core strength, in the shape of your belly, and in your total body. The Core Corrective combines strategic core exercises, deep diaphragmatic breathing with posture, plus a walking routine to help you restore your core and total body strength so that you can heal diastasis, strengthen your core and pelvic floor, get rid of back pain, flatten your belly, and do all the fitness-y things you love again.