During pregnancy, your body undergoes incredible changes to accommodate your growing baby. One such change is the expansion of the muscles in your abdomen, which causes when the right and left sides of the abdominous rectus muscles separate as your linea alba stretches to make room for your baby.
Because of this event, many women notice an indentation in the middle of their bellies, right down the centre of their six-pack area. It is mainly experienced right after giving birth and is known as diastasis recti.
One way to tackle this condition is by performing diastasis recti exercises, which target your pelvic floor muscles as well as your abs and help reduce the gap between your abdominal muscles.
We have listed some of the best diastasis exercises that you can perform at home every day. But before that let’s look at the common symptoms of diastasis recti and how to diagnose this condition.
Symptoms of Diastasis Recti
The common symptoms of diastasis recti include
Lower back pain
Bulging out of internal organs while in a standing position
The disappearance of the bulge in a lying position
Noticing more than a two-finger-width gap between the muscles in your navel area
The Diastasis Recti Test
While it is always recommended to visit a physical therapist or doctor to diagnose your condition, you can also try testing for diastasis recti by yourself, at home.
Lie down on your back while keeping your knees flexed and feet flat on the floor.
Lift your head slightly and place two/three fingers on your belly button.
Press your fingers lightly to see if there’s a gap.
If your fingers seem to press down, you may have ab separation or diastasis recti.
7 Best Diastasis Exercises for Ab Strengthening
Target: Stabilises your core and pelvic floor muscles
Lie down on a mat while keeping your knees flexed and feet flat on the floor. Keep your hands by your side and rotate your hip toward your face.
Engage your abs by tilting your pelvis up so that your entire back and tailbone are against the floor.
Hold this pose for 2-3 seconds and then relax.
Repeat this movement 5-10 times.
Bent Knee Raise
Target: Strengthens your glutes, core, and pelvic muscles
For this exercise, start with lying down on a mat, while keeping your knees flexed and feet flat on the ground. Make sure your spine is in a neutral position, and your hands are by your side, with your palms facing the ceiling.
Keep your knees flexed, and bring your right knee off the floor. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and then bring it back to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise 5-10 times before switching your legs.
Target: Strengthens your core, glutes, and pelvic muscles
Lie down on your mat, while keeping your hands by your side, palms facing the ceiling, and your toes pointing up. This should be your starting position.
Now, slowly slide your right heel, while straightening your right leg.
Hold this pose for a few seconds and slide your right heel back to the starting position.
Repeat the movement 5-10 times, and then do the same exercise with your left leg.
Heel Slide Circles
Target: Tones and strengthens your core, pelvic muscles, and glutes
Lie down on your mat while keeping your feet flat on the floor and your knees flexed. Keep your hands by your side and your spine in a neutral position. Consider this as the starting position.
Slide your gith heel and straighten your leg.
Make a scooping movement with your leg by lifting your heel off the floor.
Hold this position for a few seconds and place your foot back into the starting position.
Repeat this movement 5-10 times before switching your legs.
Pelvic Pillow Squeeze
Target: Strengthens your abductor, pelvic muscles, and core
Start with lying on a mat, with your feet on the floor, and your knees flexed.
Next, place a pillow between your legs and ensure that your spine is in a neutral position.
Now, squeeze the pillow by pressing your knees together. Hold this pose for 2-3 seconds and then relax.
Repeat this movement 5-10 times or as long as you feel comfortable.
Lying Overhead Reach
Target: Strengthens your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core
Lie down on your back, while keeping your feet and palm on the floor and your knees flexed.
Start by pushing your pelvis down to ensure that your lower back is against the floor.
Lift your arms off the floor, while keeping them extended, and above your head. Try to bring them almost all the way to the ground.
Pause for 2-3 seconds and then bring your arms back down slowly to the original position.
Slightly Hyperextended Bridge
Target: Stabilises your quads, hamstrings, core, and glutes
Lie down on a mat, keep your feet and palms on the floor, and your knees flexed.
Start by pushing your pelvis down so that your lower back is against the floor.
Squeeze your glutes while exhaling, and lift your hips toward the ceiling.
Lift your core a little higher as compared to a regular bridge exercise.
Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then slowly lower your body to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.
Diastasis Recti Exercises to Avoid
If you want to improve your diastasis recti, then you should avoid traditional core-strengthening exercises like
Bodily changes during pregnancy can cause your abdominal muscles to pull apart and lead to diastasis recti. But the good news is that the diastasis recti exercises mentioned above are highly effective and act on your pelvic floor muscles, core, and glutes to reduce the gap. Perform these exercises regularly to improve your condition and consult your doctor for further guidance.