What Is Pushing Out and When Does It Happen?


What is Pushing the Abdominals Out?

This lesson will change your life:

The only muscle that can flex in 2 directions is the rectus abdominis. It can flex in toward the body’s center, or it can flex out.

The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that stretches from ribs to hips. It is the most readily seen of the abdominal system. As it is developed, it appears to have pockets or a “6 pack.”

That muscle will strengthen in the direction you train it.

And, that muscle will assist the other muscles in strength and stability when it flexes IN.

When it flexes out, it exacerbates any core issue or instability, and worsens Diastasis Recti.

How Do I Flex In?

Try it. With your mind’s eye, find the front abdominal wall. Pull that wall in and up without changing your posture. If you can’t yet, that’s ok. This can take practice. Try a few times a day to find that muscle with your mind’s eye and pull it in and up, like toward your heart.

When Do I Flex Out?

Now that you know this life-altering fact, it’s time to notice when you flex out.

Here are some occasions I see clients flex out (and I did too before I knew this rule):

  1. In abdominal exercises. Girl. If you are flexing out while working abs, you are doing the opposite of the intention. Find exercises that allow you to flex IN and leave out the ones that make you flex OUT. Those will change over time as you get stronger.
  2. In leg exercises. For whatever reason, our abs think they should be helping our legs by pushing out, like coming out of a deep squat or lunge. Nope. Fix it. Pull in and up. And if you can’t do that in correct form, do something else or reduce your weights or range of motion.
  3. In carrying kids. I have seen people push their bellies out to make a seat for their kids or as a habit when carrying kids around. You will be stronger and more stable if you pull in instead.
  4. In normal daily activities. Getting up and down. Carrying stuff around. Just falling into bad posture. All of these can be problematic.

Fixing It

To fix this problem and progress your abdominal strength and stamina, just practice. Don’t expect to be perfect overnight. Do your best. When you lose proper form and function, you can fall into bad habits or allow for compensation within the body. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do the work.

Need help with the work?

Check out The Diastasis Recti Recovery System and get started on your personal core journey today.

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