Way back when I first started teaching exercise to pregnant and postnatal women I had no idea what I was doing.
When YOU first started out your career working with this niche population, did you have any clue either?
Fortunately, by the time I had this photo taken with me and a group of my pregnant ‘bumps’ I did though. Don’t they look great?
Ok, ok, so we get the basic qualification, we educate ourselves, we read research articles here and there, buy a few books/DVDs to get some ideas, go on training courses, attend conferences, trial and test out some stuff we absorb and just get stuck in, don’t we?
Today, I’m going to share with you 4 exercises that WON’T fix abdominal separation:
First up is supine pelvic tilts – this exercises WON’T heal a diastasis.
You know that exercise you do with your clients lying on their back with their knees bent and you ask them to slide one leg along the floor, sometimes called supine leg slides?
Yeah, that doesn’t really fix abdominal separation either.
Have you been guilty of prescribing a hands and knees-based exercise where they lift a leg or arm too to help heal their diastasis?
Well, that exercise probably won’t ‘fix’ a diastasis either.
What about that one where you set your client up in any position (standing, seated, prone, supine or all fours) and ask them to engage their core and hold it for an in breath, then tell them to relax their belly on the in breath?
Well, that’s not really going to help their abdominal region in the long run either.
I don’t even ‘cue’ my clients ‘draw their tummy in’ anymore in a pre or postnatal setting, and haven’t done for several years if I’m perfectly honest with you.
In your quest to rehab your clients and get their core ‘functioning’, my message here is very simple:
Exercise alone will NOT fix a diastasis
You can prescribe as many exercises as you like to your postnatal population, but really going deeper to rehabilitate and help them build a reflexive core is much more more complex than the ‘exercise spectrum’.
“What’s a reflexive core?”, I hear you ask:
Well, it’s a unit of muscles that switches on at the right moment, when it’s needed. Say, when the wheel on your client’s buggy goes wonky and they stop dead, potentially injuring their back.
Your client will NOT always know when this scenario presents itself (trip hazards and wonky wheels are everywhere) so it’s better to build a core that is able to deal with any situation that’s thrown at it, rather than interrupting that very signal that should occur naturally to protect the spine.
Don’t get me wrong, ‘Pilates’ and core-based exercise will work to a degree for tummy distention, but if you’re not aware of the abdominal musculature, where attaches AND how the bony markers at these points should be aligned for optimum function…
…AND you just continue to ‘train’ clients with the bony bits OUTSIDE of these parameters…
….AND they go about their day habitually OUTSIDE of these parameters…
…Can you sort of see how ‘exercise’ alone really won’t be helping matters?
What’s sitting above the abdominal cavity, and what’s hanging underneath all have a distinct role to play here.
It’s not really about ‘exercise’ – it’s looking at getting the skeleton better aligned to enable the muscles between these bones working in sync/harmony/synergy.
The clients I see don’t just get a new ‘core’ or a ‘flatter stomach’- they get a whole new change of lifestyle as I educate beyond the markers.
If you’ve been doing pelvic tilts, leg slides, basic hands and knees exercises and are still using ‘draw in and hold’ cues to fix your clients’ diastasis, and you’re seeing a plateau effect with your clients, a new approach is needed, don’t you think?
I cover ‘reflexive core’ and many more aspects, in the same fun, factual way in my Diastasis Detective ‘7 Steps To Fixing Abdominal Separation’ Instructor Online CPD Qualification.
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