Class #5069

Healing Rectus Diastasis

20 min - Class


This Postnatal class with Wendy Foster addresses rectus diastasis or abdominal separation, a common issue that most women endure after giving birth. Here Wendy teaches you to find proper spinal alignment and how to engage your abdominals safely so you can feel supported and strong. You will need a Stability Ball or Chair, Theraband, and Small Ball.
What You'll Need: Mat, Overball, Fitness Ball, Theraband

About This Video


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Hi, I'm Wendy, and in this class, the focus is diastasis recti or separated abdominals. Whether you're prenatal or postpartum, or maybe neither, your abdominal muscles may be separated. And this class is especially designed for people who have that condition. So when your abdominals are separated, what happens oftentimes is one side of your core actually separates from that linea alba, so that's that brown line that oftentimes you'll get during pregnancy, towards the end of pregnancy, it's a band of fascia or connective tissue. And oftentimes during pregnancy or because of alignment issues, that connective tissue can overstretch and then can oftentimes end up separating or pulling away from the core.

So in this class, we're gonna focus on safe exercises that you can do during pregnancy or again, postpartum to help with your abdominal separation. The props that you'll need are a small Pilates ball, a medium strength resistance band, and either a stability ball or just a chair. So let's get going. You're gonna sit on your stability ball or your chair and just walk your feet forward just a little bit, so you're either right on the edge of your chair or more in the front of the stability ball. Take your small ball and place it in between your inner thighs.

Check your alignment and make sure that you have everything lined up and that your ears are right on top of your shoulders, and start thinking about drawing your ribs and your back back instead of flaring forward. We're going to put the band down for now and just hold your hands on your belly. Take a big inhale into your ribs. (inhales sharply) And as you exhale, just draw that belly away from your hands. (exhales sharply) So you wanna inhale, sit up nice and tall.

And as you exhale, just imagine squeezing that ball with those abdominal muscles, your pelvic floor muscles and draw that belly in for the whole exhale. Inhale, release and exhale. (exhales sharply) Maybe to the count of six or seven and then inhale, release again, exhale, draw that belly in. (exhales sharply) And then inhale and release. You wanna think of sort of cinching up an inter corset drawing everything up and in, or like you're deflating a balloon.

So it's not sucking your gut in, it's drawing the belly in and gathering everything up. This time, you're gonna take a big inhale into the sides of the ribs, (inhales sharply) and exhale, draw that belly in all the way to the count of eight. (exhales sharply) So that your abdominals are engaged just as much as they can be without engaging your low back or changing your alignment. You're gonna stay right there. And as you inhale, you're just gonna release to about five.

So inhale, release about 30% and then exhale from there, draw the belly in. (exhales sharply) Nice and deep, inhale to five, (inhales sharply) and exhale to eight. (exhales sharply) Doing that a few times so that you're never just letting everything relax and release, but you're engaging and staying lifted. We're gonna do the same thing with your band. So go ahead and take your band, wrap it around your back, and you're going to crisscross it in front of you.

Make it nice and flat if you can, inhale, scrunch your shoulders up to your ears and exhale, slide them down. This time, same thing, you're gonna take a big inhale, sit tall, (inhales sharply) and exhale, draw the belly in (exhales sharply) and pull the band gently across and then inhale, release, (inhales sharply) and exhale. Imagine squeezing that ball right in between your inner thighs as you draw the belly in and pull the band across. Couple more times. (inhales sharply) Exhale, lifting up, (exhales sharply) drawing everything in nice and deep.

Last one, inhale, (inhales sharply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) So you can do this exercise seated in your car, seated at the kitchen table, just practice that breathing to help get those abdominal muscles strengthened and to help with that abdominal separation. All right, the next thing we're gonna do is we are just going to do the same thing, but we're gonna add a little bit of a hinge. So we're going to inhale as we hinge forward, and exhale, pull the belly in, (exhales sharply) pull the band across and come right back up to a seated position. Inhale, release a little bit, hinging forward.

Exhale, draw the belly in, (exhales sharply) hinge right back up. Inhaling. (inhales sharply) And exhaling. (exhales sharply) Lifting up on your pelvic floor, engaging those abdominals, then start the movement. (inhales sharply) Last one, exhale, (exhales sharply) and come all the way up.

So again, you can do that throughout the day. You can also put a hand on your belly as you hinge forward and exhale, use manual support (exhales sharply) to lift yourself up. All right, go ahead and roll those shoulders around. You're gonna place one arm on top of the other like a little genie, sit up nice and tall. You're gonna inhale, sit tall.

And this time as you exhale, you're gonna keep that space in between your elbows and your shoulders and just add a little micro twist. (exhales sharply) Inhale, sitting tall and exhale, twist. (exhales sharply) Keep going and making sure that you're not shifting your weight onto each side or into each foot but you're staying nice and grounded, (exhales sharply) and nice and even. You wanna think of knitting those ribs and rotating together. It's not a huge rotation, but it's just enough to get into that spine to stretch those intercostal muscles in your rib cage and to get you back to your ideal alignment.

(exhales sharply) Twisting on the exhale, inhale sitting up tall (exhales sharply) and back to center. All right, go ahead and put your hands on your thighs. And we're just gonna do some hip circles. You just wanna move in one direction, moving through the pelvis, send some breath to your spine, and then go ahead and reverse the direction. So a little bit of a curl.

And then we'll go ahead, take the small ball out and practice that hinging as you come up off of the ball or up off of your chair, remember you wanna hinge forward, draw that belly in and stand straight up. We're gonna come back down to the floor, but you can go ahead and move that chair or ball out of the way, we'll need it again in a few minutes. So remember hinging, we're gonna hinge forward and we're gonna exhale, draw the belly in, (exhales sharply) stand straight up, go ahead and move your ball out of the way, move that chair and meet me down on the floor. So coming down onto the floor or laying down onto your back, if your abdominals are separated, you're going to want to do a log roll to come down. So the other thing you wanna think about if your abdominals are separated is just that intraabdominal pressure.

So as you're transitioning from exercise to exercise or as you're transitioning from projects throughout the day with your family, you wanna make sure that those abdominals are engaged and that there's no shortening or bulging through your core. So to come down to a log roll, go ahead and bring your arms down to the floor. Use your arms and your upper body to come down to the side, or to come down to your back. We're gonna move the ball out of the way. You can use your elbow as a little pillow for your head and you'll have your legs stacked on top of each other.

Lengthen that top hip away, do that same breathing, taking a big inhale, (inhales sharply) and exhale, (exhales sharply) draw the belly in and really feel those obliques, those waist muscles working. So inhale, lengthen, exhale, (exhales sharply) everything draws in, and you can even take your fingertips and see and make sure that your waist muscles are engaging. Couple more. Pulling your obliques away from your fingertips. (exhales sharply) Last one.

(inhales sharply) (exhales sharply) And you should be able to feel that, and then see if you can straighten your legs and do the same thing. So lengthen that top leg away, you might have a little bit of space in between your waist and the mat, and just take an inhale and exhale, (exhales sharply) draw those obliques in without rolling forward or back. You can always nudge your feet in, your legs in just a little bit if that helps you with balance. Inhale and exhale, (exhales sharply) just trying to do that same breath but in a sideline position and ensuring that those obliques are working. (inhales sharply) If that feels okay for you, again, you can have your hand on the floor.

A little more advanced would be to have your arm up towards the ceiling. See if you can exhale, length and zip up through the legs, the pelvic floor and the abdominals, and then see if you can just lift that top leg without shortening or crunching through the waist. So nice, slow leg lifts, making sure your pelvic floor is engaging, your abdominals are engaging and then you're lifting the leg. So inhale to prepare and exhale. (exhales sharply) Lifting the leg and then inhaling, releasing to about that five, remember that core is engaged even when your legs are together.

And down. (inhales sharply) Two more, exhale as you lift up, and down. Last one, exhale, reach and lift, and bring it down. You're gonna go ahead and take your ball now, you can bend your legs and bring the ball right in between your ankles. Same thing, see if you can straighten those legs out, hand on the floor, shoulders down and just exhale, press those ankles towards each other, (exhales sharply) engaging that core without bulging out, inhale nice and long, (inhales sharply) and exhale. (exhales sharply)

Just squeezing that ball, using your inner thighs, using that pelvic floor. (exhales sharply) You can flex your feet. (exhales sharply) You can point your toes. See if one feels better for you. (inhales sharply) Whatever you can do, just stay nice and stable, try not to rock forward or back.

Last one, exhale, squeeze the ankles towards each other, squeeze that ball and release. And then we're gonna come over to the other side. So remember you're gonna log roll up to that seated position. Moving the ball outta the way. Use your arms to come down to this other side and we'll see how this side is.

Remember we had our knees bent, you could put a little pillow under your head or just use your elbow. Lengthen that top hip away. And you're just gonna exhale, lift up on your pelvic floor, draw your belly in and feel those obliques engage as you exhale. Inhale, (inhales sharply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Inhale, (inhales sharply) and exhale, checking to make sure there's no shortening or crunching or real wrinkles in your shirt at your waist, you wanna be nice and long.

And exhale. (exhales sharply) This arm can support you, or you can have it up towards the ceiling. Last one. (exhales sharply) And then we're gonna go ahead and straighten those legs out, so you wanna make sure that you can have 'em as straight as you can, and again, you can nudge 'em forward just a little bit if you need that stability, lengthen that hip, don't let your hip hike up towards your ribs. And exhale, same thing. (exhales sharply)

So we're progressively making this a little bit more challenging. If it felt better for you to have your knees bent, just go ahead and stay there and keep doing that exercise. (inhales sharply) (exhales sharply) Bring that breath right above your pubic bone, right to those waist muscles. (inhales sharply) (exhales sharply) Last one. And then go ahead, this time on the exhale, you're gonna draw that belly in and start to slowly reach the leg and lift and lower down, and exhale up. (exhales sharply)

You just wanna come up to about hip height, you don't wanna bring your leg all the way up towards the ceiling because that'll shorten through your waist, you wanna keep that length, keep that alignment as you lift. And lower. Couple more. (exhales sharply) And down, last one. And then you're gonna go ahead and find that ball.

If you have that ball, place it in between your ankles, reach your legs away. Get that top leg a little bit longer than your lower leg and see if you can squeeze the top ankle towards the bottom ankle as you press into the ball and inhale, release. And exhale, you should not be feeling this in your low back. (inhales sharply) It's a nice engagement, (exhales sharply) drawing everything in. Two more breaths.

(exhales sharply) And last one. (exhales sharply) And back. Great job. Go ahead, again, use those arms, come up to a seated position and we're gonna go ahead and grab that chair or grab that ball, we're gonna come onto our back and do a few more exercises for the core. We're gonna come onto our backs now.

So either have your chair or your ball, and remember you wanna do that log roll to come down so use your upper body to come down. Make sure your ball doesn't roll away. If you have a ball, you can even put your foot on top to kind of stabilize it a little bit. Come down onto your back with your feet on the ball. So you can have your calves on the ball and your knees up at table top.

And see if you can just find an arch and then exhale. (exhales sharply) Curl your low belly. Inhale as you arch and exhale, curl. (exhales sharply) Inhale, lengthen, and just a little pelvic curl as you draw that belly in. Find that band and you're gonna place it behind your back.

So we're gonna do the same thing that we did when we were seated, with the ball behind our low back, you're gonna crisscross that band in front and you're gonna take an inhale, and just exhale, relax your legs, (exhales sharply) draw the belly in, pulling the band across, inhale, release. And exhale. (exhales sharply) Remember you're inhaling into the sides of your ribs, not into your belly up towards the ceiling. (inhales sharply) (exhales sharply) Pulling the band across. You're going to take an inhale, (inhales sharply) and see if you can exhale, add that pelvic curl as you pull the band across, and inhale, release.

So it's pretty small. (exhales sharply) It's not enough again, to really bulge those abdominals out. (exhales sharply) You wanna stay nice and long and try not to round your shoulders towards your pelvis, (exhales sharply) but keep your shoulders nice and wide. If this is too much for you, you can always put your feet on the floor and do it without the ball. Last one.

(inhales sharply) (exhales sharply) And then you can put that band down, relax your shoulders, relax your neck. From here, you can have the ball right underneath your heels. And you're just going to inhale, exhale, engage the abdominals and slowly roll the ball away if you have the ball, (exhales sharply) and inhale, bring it back in. If you have a chair, just stay there and breathe, (exhales sharply) or if your abdominals are engaged enough, see if you can exhale, just bring one heel up as you keep the other heel down. (exhales sharply) And you can put your hands on your belly to see what's happening with it.

(inhales sharply) So either little (exhales sharply) heel lifts or use your core, not so much your leg muscles to pull the ball back in. (exhales sharply) And to exhale, draw the ball away. (exhales sharply) And exhale. (exhales sharply) Last one, exhale pressing out. Shoulders are relaxed.

And back in. This time, see if you can reach your arms back behind your head and then exhale, bring it in. (exhales sharply) So inhale as you reach back and exhale, everything comes to center. (exhales sharply) Inhale, lengthening, exhale, coming in. (exhales sharply) Or if you're doing the heel lift, inhale, lift up, and exhale, lower down.

Inhale, lifting up, (inhales sharply) and exhale, lowering down. Two more reaching, but staying connected, and in. (exhales sharply) And in. (exhales sharply) See if you can go ahead and bring your left foot across your right knee and draw that ball in for a little stretch on your outer hip, your piriformis or just put your heel on your chair and then switch it out to the other side. So feeling a nice stretch in the back of the leg of the knee that's bent in front of you.

Keeping the feet flexed, so the stretch stays in the piriformis, not in the knee. Go ahead and bring that foot down. See if you can take that band out from behind you, and now you're gonna place it behind your head. You're holding onto the band, your elbows are bent, and you're gonna use this band as like a little cradle. All right, so this is a medium strength band.

See if you can drop your chin towards your chest and again, your calves can be on the ball, your feet can be on the floor, or you can have your feet on the chair. Draw that belly in and just do a little assisted head float (exhales sharply) as you lift up. So exhale, draw the belly in, look up at the ceiling, look down at your knees and down at your pubic bone, and back down. It's pretty small. Exhale, engage the abs. (exhales sharply)

Use the band to support your neck and your head. And again, if you notice any bulging, (exhales sharply) either don't go up any higher, or go ahead and save this one for a little bit later. (exhales sharply) Last one. Exhale coming up, (exhales sharply) and inhale coming down. Scrunch your shoulders up towards your ears, exhale, slide your shoulders down.

We're gonna slowly come up, back up to our knees, holding onto the ball or the chair. Just get a nice big stretch, and exhale. And one more time on the same side, inhale, breathe into the ribs, and exhale. You can roll the ball over to the other side or switch your chair. Inhale as you reach, get a nice stretch as you lift the ribs off the hips and back down.

(exhales sharply) Last one, inhale reach up. (inhales sharply) And down. Coming up to either a cat cow position, all fours or again, you can use your ball or your chair. You can have your forearms on the ball or you can be on all fours. Sliding your shoulders down, you're just going to do a little inhale as you arch, and then exhale (exhales sharply) as you curl.

Inhaling as you arch and exhale (exhales sharply) as you curl, really focus on that low back, not so much those ribs flaring forward. (exhales sharply) Last one, inhale, (inhales sharply) and exhale. (exhales sharply) Swirling all the way up. Great job on this diastasis recti routine.


i have a client rectus diastasis about 2 fingers depth. 
believe it's not such serious, but want to recover it as like other part like 1 or 1 and half finger depth. about 12 times session we've doin breathing and related exercises to recover it. but, no progress seen. do i need to keep same routine or step forward?

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