Stretching and exercise are a winning combination. Together, they strengthen your body, boost endorphins, improve circulation and flexibility, and allow you to walk away feeling restored for whatever lies ahead. But despite the obvious benefits, stretching is often treated as an afterthought, which can be especially dangerous when you suffer from diastasis recti, also known as abdominal separation. Stretching is one of the most important diastasis recti exercises for healing and recovery.
Diastasis recti occurs in over 60% of childbearing women and is responsible for a host of complications, including back pain, painful sex, urinary stress incontinence, pelvic dysfunction, and a persistent “pooch” that doesn’t respond to diet or exercise. Stretching plays an essential role in diastasis recti recovery, but can exacerbate the condition and further injure the abdominals, especially when performed incorrectly. We’ve compiled 4 diastasis recti-approved stretches to keep your muscles strong, healthy, and flexible while you work to restore core-strength and function.
Skip to the bottom for video guidance from EM founder, Leah Keller.
Diasastis Recti Exercises: 4 Key Stretches
Before you get started, note, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds following a workout. When performing any stretch, be sure to exhale on exertion and avoid rib-thrusting (opening or jetting forward the lower rib cage) so as not to injure your core.
Lateral Hip Opener
Lateral hip openers provide a gentle, dynamic stretch for both the adductor (inner thigh) and the gluteus (butt and outer hip) muscles. They help to improve hip mobility and alleviate back pain.
Dynamic Hamstring Stretch
Dynamic hamstring stretches are an excellent way to lengthen the hamstrings and prevent back, knee, and joint pain. They gently coax the hamstrings to relax and release, without overstretching, which can trigger a reactive tightening of the muscles in the back of the thighs.
Dynamic Quadricep Stretch
The dynamic quadricep stretch helps to lengthen and loosen the front of the upper thighs while gently releasing the psoas and other hip flexor muscles that tend to be tight in people who sit at a computer most of the day. When performing this stretch, be mindful to keep your ribs anchored, to press your hip forward with strong gluteus muscles, and keep your bent knee in line with the knee of your standing leg.
Tabletop tilts are a gentle way to engage the deep, lower abdominal muscles, while releasing back tension. . With each tilt, imagine drawing the pubic bone towards the belly button as you lengthen the low back. This stretch is incredibly soothing both mentally and physically. It strengthens the core while simultaneously relaxing the mid and lower back muscles.
Pro Tip: Keep the movement small and avoid using the gluteus muscles to tilt the pelvis. Instead, engage the front of the body as you exhale and allow the spine to lengthen.
Give These Stretches and Other Diastasis Recti Exercises a Try!
Now that you’re up to date on diastasis recti-approved stretches, let’s give them a try! Watch this video to get started.
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Every Mother provides detailed video instruction and guided coaching in core-safe exercises that help resolve diastasis recti in 10-30 minutes a day. Learn more about our prescriptive paths, 100+ full-body workouts, and Village of mothers providing peer support and motivation for your fitness journey at every-mother.com.