Can I Lift Weights with Diastasis Recti?

Sometimes you may need to stop all your fitness regimens while recovering from Diastasis Recti.

If this is the recommendation of your physical therapist or practitioner, then yes, follow the protocol first before getting back to weight lifting and other practices.

For most people that I work with, we can slowly integrate weight lifting and other fitness practices pretty quickly upon starting your Diastasis Recti program.

Here are some guidelines for weight lifting with Diastasis Recti:

CarrieFit kettlebell

  1. When lifting on the floor, roll onto your side and then onto your back. For this reason, the floor is preferable to a bench in chest press and other bench exercises. Roll out of the exercise, as well.
  2. Ground one leg or foot in every exercise.
  3. Keep shoulder and upper body work at the shoulder level, not above, until you have worked your way out of this phase (your ABC Method Instructor will help you transition).
  4. Maintain your ABC’s in every exercise.

You might want some more guidance, so TA-DA! I made 3 weight lifting classes for you! They are simple to get to. Go to my moxie account and use the collection “Core Safe Weight Lifting.” Monthly members get unlimited access to these, plus my other collections and constant class additions.

Further questions? Contact me HERE.

Body Shame and Diastasis Recti

I find that women I work with on their Diastasis Recti and core function also tend to struggle with self love, self care, self awareness, and finding their internal power.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and really want to dive into what’s really happening behind our eyes.

I have been doing a really beautiful study on women and self love this week on a really wonderful blog community called One Commune (highly recommend). And on day 1, first speaker, first paragraph, the doctor gives us the stats.

95% of girls feel body shame before they are teens.

85% of girls are fat shamed as children.

She goes on to tell us how that affects our entire lives: our focus, our self worth, our relationships with ourselves and others…

I thought of my girls. And wondered how they are feeling about themselves today.

And then, I thought about me.

I was taken back to little Carrie; elementary aged Carrie. I was a bit chubby. I had round little arms and a round little belly.

I was a little girl.

I remember being teased for being fat. And I hated my body.

I was a little girl.

Then, at age 11, I hit puberty, shot up several inches, and became awkwardly and unbelievably skinny.

And I loved it.

I relished in it.

I started making fun of the “fat” (not really) girls. I started obsessing about getting and staying skinny. It ate up my thoughts and my very space. I WAS the skinny girl.

I was determined to obsess myself into lifelong skinniness.

I spent brain space and time and energy on skinniness. I purposefully shamed the non-skinny.

And then… again… I got just a little older… probably high school…. and I recognized that my place in the world was to be an object of attention for boys and men.

I normalized being stared or gawked at. I pretended the up-and-down scope out from men was “normal,” and I accepted that this was what female-ism is.

Skinniness. An object of appeal.

And as I write this, I am shaking with anger.

I spent hours of energy on this. This nothingness, this meaningless, this DUMBness, instead of focusing on any possible use of my brilliance in this world.

I hurt other girls and women.

I WAS hurting.

Its effect on me as a grown woman meant that I had to then spend hours of energy on reconnecting to ME, to be one with my mind, spirit, and body. To start to get closer to my meaning here.

Having female children was definitely the catalyst for me. Because I never EVER want them to feel the way I felt, on either side of the shame and the objectifying.

I changed how I talked about myself and to myself for THEM.

I am worthy.

I am enough.

My body is strong.

My body is amazing.

I have purpose.

I have everything I need on the inside of me.

I am not determined by person, male or female, but by the Almighty, whose image I am created in.

The other day at the grocery store, I got the up-and-down look from a man 10-15 years older than me. And the rage started to rise up to my throat.

But I chose to write this instead of unleash on him at the HEB (because that is frowned upon). Though maybe some men need to hear it first hand.

Women are to be revered and respected. We give and sustain life. We have incredible power and strength.

But because of our inner need to be needed, we have endured centuries of body shaming, beauty shaming, objectifying, and we have been expected to chase the ever-moving target of whatever “they” want us to be.

It’s all a distraction.

Distracted no more.

Now…. in relation to Diastasis Recti.

When you have lived your life separate from your body and objectifying it.. asking it to work without appreciation or any real connection to it, then when it pulls or pushes and becomes less functional, we have little space for that.

We have lost our love for seeing that we are hurt and need care.

When I train women who struggle here, the hardest part to get over is the self love and appreciation piece, AND the ability to own your own power and strength.

Women want the power to come from outside of themselves, they struggle to face their own challenges in their bodies, and they disconnect mentally from the core problem.

And then they ask questions like “how long does a Diastasis take to heal completely?”

Spoiler alert: there is no answer to that question. Every body is different. Much like ever body function and dysfunction. We all have our own timeline.

If you’re struggling with Diastasis Recti, the next thing I want you to do is journal on how grateful you are to this body for getting you to this place where you are.

I want you to draw on your mirror “I am enough.”

I want you to close your eyes, feel your breath, feel your power, feel your strength. Feel the YOU that is deep and real, and the you that can do all things.

That’s the path. That’s the road. That’s the way.

Keep going.

Sacral Chakra and Diastasis Recti

I am taking quite a turn this week as I am open to the tradition of chakra studies from the yoga communities.

It really opened to my thought process while listening to The Energy Codes by Dr. Sue Morter. If you know there is much more to us than we appear as a body, join in this discussion with me, and check out this amazing book.

What are chakras?

The chakras are energy zones internally that apply to our overall spiritual being. What I know so far is that there is a flow to each chakra and when there is a block or energy stop, we suffer.

image credit Hands on Health Sheffield

Take note of the sacral chakra and the message: “I FEEL.”

This struck me particularly because when I was struggling with Diastasis Recti and other core issues, including Caesarians and later a debilitating surgery, I struggled to FEEL. I struggled to FEEL in all aspects, not just physically feeling. I felt disengaged. I felt absent from myself. I felt apart from that which I love and care so much about.

When I am working with women (and men) who are struggling with Diastasis Recti, in the beginning, I often see a look of bewilderment. “I can’t FEEL that,” they will say as I start talking about deep core engagement. “Where is that? What is that? I don’t FEEL anything down there.” This also applies to their pelvic floor, which is also right around that energy center.

I am not a therapist and we don’t necessarily go into other relationships in their lives, but in SELF relationship, I also often find in my clients a disconnect from self love, self appreciation, and self awareness. I have explained before that this strange disconnect seems to be linked to an internal trauma, where women sometimes don’t recognize the body they are currently in, perhaps due to a major body shift, like a pregnancy.

image credit: https://chloeleightonbulleid.com/blog/2018/1/9/chakras-for-beginners-the-sacral-chakra

The above list is amazing to me, because of course there are symptoms in the sacral chakra physical area, like abdominal and back pain, but also the tendencies of low self esteem, jealousy, fear, and insecurity! I find many of these symptoms and emotional issues exist in women (and men) struggling with Diastasis Recti. Again, I have attributed that to the trauma their bodies or brains dealt with, but on a more cosmic and spiritual level, it’s all circular. The energy affects the symptom and the symptom affects the energy.

One thing I have learned from “The Energy Codes” is that actually, the “fracture” starts from the energy and then manifests in the body. So, while I have always thought of trauma happening internally and then exuding through the energy field, it seems the energy field knows the trauma first and then creates a manifestation on the inside, which then continues a block of body and spirit.

I am new to this and I have a lot to learn. I have a lot to research. But isn’t it fascinating?

What major “AHA” just occurred to you? Have you ever felt these emotions? Have you ever related it to your injury? Are you working on progressing through both your body AND spiritual journey? How is it going?

Is it Hernia, Diastasis Recti, or Both?

Let’s talk about what you actually have, especially because these categories are often confused and mis-diagnosed.

image: male with umbilical hernia

image: female with Diastasis Recti and umbilical hernia.

Diastasis Recti is the division of the rectus abdominis, in any vertical space along the muscle. It may or may not be accompanied by an umbilical hernia.

Umbilical hernia is a protrusion of a piece of the umbilical cord between the halves of the rectus abdominis.

Many times, they go together, but it’s valuable to know which one you have, or both.

Check for Diastasis Recti:

While you are doing an exam for Diastasis Recti, you may feel the protrusion of the umbilical hernia. That’s something to take note of.

If you want to take it further, ask for an ultrasound to see where the soft tissue is, and whether a hernia exists.

What to do next:

Regardless of whether there is a hernia involved, start right away on Diastasis Recti recovery practices. Please note: you cannot exercise out a hernia. If there is a hernia involved, you should talk to a professional about whether or not a hernia repair (surgical) is necessary or would help you.

Sometimes, a hernia can really get in the way of a fully functional core, and may affect other areas of organ function. Sometimes, once the diastasis is recovered, the hernia is a non-issue and can just exist without hindering core function.

It’s a very personal decision. But please know that a hernia repair is NOT a Diastasis repair. They are 2 separate surgeries, and 2 very different outcomes. Don’t let a surgeon or doctor meld the two and pretend a full abdominoplasty is your only choice. You CAN work on the Diastasis non-surgically and opt for a hernia repair.

As always, be an advocate for your own body and your own well-being.

 

Pain in the Neck

Do you have neck pain? Back pain? Shooting arm pain? Take a look at how you hold your head.

  1. Alignment always comes first
  2. strengthen your neck muscles

Here’s help

Working on the head and neck placement and strength has a lot to do with how your back and overall core feel, as well.

What Exercises Help with Diastasis Recti?

So…. let’s cut to the chase.

What exercises REALLY help with Diastasis Recti?

Remember that Diastasis Recti is the division of the rectus abdominis down the vertical center, along the linea alba. More on that HERE.

So… you want to bring the muscle pieces back together, and there is a lot of NOISE out there on what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Some places will say “do this one exercise 10 minutes a day for a month and you will be completely recovered.”

This is a very irresponsible statement, as nothing is guaranteed and every body is different. Besides the fact that it doesn’t address form and function of this “miracle exercise.

Some places will tell you to just do tough ab work and the muscles will strengthen and therefore come together.

Also misleading, as most “hard core” exercises drive the muscle fibers further apart.

So what do you do and who do you believe?

Here’s what we teach here at CarrieFit and within The ABC Method, which is what we teach to trainers and coaches.

The foundation of your house is ABC. Anything not in ABC will not do you any favors, and in fact will hurt your progress. So, every movement, position, posture, and direction will include Alignment, Breathing, and Core Engagement.

Then with that, we have a short list of modifications when you are starting out, just so we can take the time to focus in on the important stuff…. The ABC’s.

  • when lying on your back, keep your head and shoulders on the floor.
  • keep one leg or foot on the ground in lying, sitting, or standing positions.
  • keep at least one knee down in every kind of plank
  • limit twists to absolute abdominal control (at first, we usually don’t twist from the center until we learn the function)
  • no weights, pulling, or pushing, above the shoulder line, especially no pull downs or pull ups.

The, you learn the methods and go into the “next steps” protocol, where you learn where your specific modifications and your exercises should be.

For clients, head over HERE to learn more

For trainers, head over HERE and let’s talk about The ABC Method for your clients.

Help for Sway Back

Have you been told you have sway back? Lorosis? I’ve never met anyone with “sway back” that didn’t have an anterior pelvic tilt and a shortened psoas. Check out this video on why that matters and what to do next:

Check out your alignment and see if this is the issue. If you are working on correcting your Diastasis Recti, let’s work on alignment issues!

If you’re not part of this group yet, make sure to join us in the conversation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carriefitdiastasisrecti

Should I Wear a Waist Trainer or Girdle for Diastasis Recti?

Waist Trainers and Girdles, like these:

Have a long history of causing problems in women’s bodies, such as:

  • passing out from difficulty breathing
  • pelvic floor prolapse
  • hernia

These super-squeezers do not “train” the waist at all. They don’t teach core engagement or help with actual healing of any muscle or tissue.

What they do is cause more problems with a temporary appearance of a smaller waist.

On the other hand, sometimes, we need a little support while we are working to heal. Sometimes, in moving, working out, or in core recovery, we need a reminder to engage and a little lift so that our muscles don’t feel lax.

That helper would be a splint. This is the one I recommend:

This splint is available through Recore HERE.

When putting it on, just make sure to fasten it to the point of support, not pressure.

And keep working on your ABC’s throughout!

 

Should I Do Cardio with Diastasis Recti?

Should I do cardio with Diastasis Recti?

How do I approach cardio training?

Simply put, cardiovascular exercise is important to your health. There are just a few things I want you to consider when approaching your cardio exercise if there is a Diastasis or core function issue.

  1. We always start with ABC (TM)
  2. How does this cardio feel?
  3. What should I adjust to maximize results?

So, first of all, in all positions, postures, and movements, we start with ABC. We adjust all things to fit into our ABC’s, whatever that is today.

In other words, if we are struggling to get into good alignment from standing still, how does that change when I am moving? Can I fix the position and how?

Can I perform correct breathing while doing this cardio exercise?

Can I perform this cardio exercise with proper core engagement?

If any piece of The ABC’s is out of place, we have a functional, foundational problem and we have to adjust and start again.

Sometimes, that means moving to low impact rather than high. Sometimes, it means changing the movement altogether. Sometimes, it means spending some more practice time in The ABC’s.

If you’re struggling with your cardio and Diastasis, just go back to the beginning. Refer to the book or the course and reset your ABC’s.

You WILL get back out there. Safely.

New Collections on Moxie

NEW! Collections on Moxie.xyz/carrie

I’ve been asked about FIRST WORKOUTS and HOW TO PROGRESS, so I made you some collections on my moxie site!

The collection “YOUR FIRST 10” is for you when you’re first “released to exercise” by your doctor or therapist, after pregnancy, injury, or surgery. This is perfect for those first core activation workouts.

The collection “PRACTICING PROGRESSIONS” is for when you are working through recovery, with the book or the course, and you go into the “exit protocol” or “next steps protocol,” and you’re ready to work toward progressing your core exercises. Use this mindfully!

Both collections are part of my overall page, which includes 2 fresh workouts every week and a whole lot of past workouts! You get all of this as a subscriber!

Join now!

What would you like me to include on my next workout?