Last June I put up a post called “Dear Diastasis Recti, I’m so over you“. At the time, I was frustrated with my own weak core. A result of two little bundles of joy who had previously claimed residency in my tummy. I was determined to fix the gap between my muscles and planned to do the exercises necessary to do that.
Little did I know that,
a) there are multiple theories on the best way to fix a diastasis and strengthen your core muscles,
b) the post would eventually go viral on Pinterest and bring in over 750,000 views (so far),
c) hundreds of you would have great questions about this subject that I am not qualified to answer.
I didn’t want to leave you all hanging, and I definitely wanted to get to the bottom of this issue for my own healing, so I went to the experts. I spoke with three diastasis specialists, Julie Tupler, Helene Byrne and Wendy Powell. All three have different approaches, and I would encourage you to check them out for yourself.
Wendy Powell, creator of the MuTu System was kind enough to sit down with me and answer your diastasis questions. We did the interview over Skype as she lives in the UK.
Y’all, she is so cute. And she knows her stuff (for instance, did you know you can have a flat tummy and still have diastasis?). Take a peek at the three videos below. Watch all of them or skip to your particular question (see the outline below each video for time stamps).
If you like Wendy and want to try her program (I can’t wait to get started!), click on the link at the end of the post. She is giving 15% off with the code “INSPIREDRD“. I’ll be blogging my way through the program so I can let you know how my healing journey is going (a lot of you asked about that as well). I will also be posting new workouts designed just for moms that tackle issues such as “Mommy Posture” and getting a great workout in before the kids wake up from nap time. Make sure to check back or subscribe so you don’t miss more tips from Wendy and workouts from me!
Introduction to Wendy, her credentials and background. I talk about my personal situation and the blog post that inspired the interview.
2:45 What is diastasis recti, how does it happen and how do you know if you have it
4:45 How common is diastasis recti? Is it normal and how big a gap is normal?
6:30 Why does it matter? Apart form aesthetics and a tummy that protrudes, what are the implications of diastasis recti for the rest of your body function? (Wendy’s answer here is particularly important as it explains the root cause of diastasis: excessive intra abdominal pressure, the lack of ‘connection’ that results in frustration for many women not seeing results form their ab exercise program.)
What would you say to those women whose kids are not babies anymore? Is it ever too late to fix, or can you be ‘beyond hope’? (Wendy clarifies what will happen naturally in terms of closure and healing. What we can do to re-train and narrow the gap after that.)
2:00 So how do we fix it? (Wendy reveals the vital first steps you must take in shifting whole body alignment and reversing intra abdominal pressure before any ab exercises are going to work.)
3:49 What to do continued: Why ‘sucking in your stomach’ is not engaging your core muscles, and what is.
5:42 How to engage your transverse abdominis muscle and common pitfalls
6:33 What sort of exercises are included in MuTu System programs. (Wendy explains why she doesn’t recommend hundreds of repetitions of any ab exercise, plus an explanation of her emphasis on truly functional exercise for moms.)
8:35 I agree that I wans to run and do circuits and other workouts, not just ‘engage my transverse’ exercises. Why I like the idea of whole body functional exercise, using the transverse correctly engaged instead.
9:23 What shouldn’t we do? Many women have read you can’t do crunches – why not? What about planks? (Wendy explains not only what not to do, but how to know if you shouldn’t be doing it if you’re not sure!)
10:53 When can I go back to doing those more traditional exercises? How will I know when I’m ready? (Wendy talks crunches, how to get a flat stomach and how to test yourself and know when you’re ready to move forward. How to test for abdominal midline stability and strength as well as the width of the gap.)
0:40 What about people who have asked about hernia? What exercises should they do? Is this a related problem?
2:10 Is there a point at which only surgery is going to fix this?
3:50 Some programs ask you to use a towel, or a binder or splint to ‘pull the muscles back together’. Should I do that? Does it help? (Wendy discusses the key differences between MuTu System and other programs that use occasional or constant splinting.)
6:50 So I want a strong core, a strong back, I want to do lots of workouts and I want a stomach that looks good… now we’re so much better informed, where do we start? (Wendy gives a checklist of alignment tips, exercises and strategies to start putting your middle back where you want it!)
I hope you enjoyed the interview and feel a little more equipped to tackle this issue. If you have more questions, visit Wendy on the MuTu System Facebook page.
Not sure if you have a separation? Learn how to check yourself for diastasis recti here.
Disclosure: I was so impressed with Wendy that I decided to become an affiliate of her program. An unintentional but exciting result of our interview!