January 22, 2023
What Makes Diastasis Recti Worse? Safe Training After Pregnancy

I received this email from a new mom:

For weeks I was wondering why in the world my stomach still looks like I am pregnant. At first, I was thinking it was not a big deal until I noticed that working out and eating well did not make one change in my stomach area when that is actually the first place that goes…

After spending hours of research and feeling just weak in the mid-section I noticed a gap, a pretty large one to be honest which in turn lead to more research. I did a few test and low and behold I have Diastasis Recti/Abdominus.

woman carrying baby up playfully

Causes and Effects of Diastasis

The cause of a diastasis is from continuous stretching of, and intra-abdominal force and pressure on, this connective tissue that joins your outer most abdominal muscles. Which because I had such a LARGE pregnancy I think it damaged it.

Right smack in the middle of this connective tissue is your belly button which is a weak spot. That is why when the connective tissue stretches sideways your belly button will become an “outie”. Pregnancy and doing crunches are examples of intra-abdominal “force” on the connective tissue.

Wearing a front-loading baby carrier or being in a hands and knees position are examples of “pressure” on the connective tissue. Movements, where you arch your back, will flare your ribs (which I do already because of my scoliosis) This flaring will stretch your connective tissue.

Symptoms and Risks of Diastasis Recti

Back pain, poor posture, pelvic floor problems (which I have had since pregnancy), gastrointestinal disturbances like constipation and bloating are all symptoms that occur when the support system for the back and organs is the weak connective tissue instead of the muscles.

Most women who have had a baby have diastasis recti, and this usually gets worse with each pregnancy. Abdominal trauma with a diastasis can cause the connective tissue to tear away from the abdominal wall causing a ventral hernia. This requires surgery to repair. So given ALL of this. I can’t do many moves when I workout. Is the best move is hip bridges? It seems like there aren't many movements that won't irritate my Diastasis?

Challenges of Diastasis Recti After Pregnancy

If any of this sounds familiar you are not alone. Pelvic floor issues and diastasis are the most common problems I see from clients after pregnancy. It affects you the same no matter how strong you are because tissue expands for pregnancy to occur. With torn support tissue your fear of your pelvic floor falling out when you're jumping or exercising is not just a fear but a reality.

woman carrying baby up playfully

What Not to Do If You Have Diastasis Recti

Do Not Train With Heavy Loads

Lifting heavy loads standing while squatting or any other heavy lifts are unsafe because the weight on the abs creates downward pressure that pushes the pelvic floor down.

If you get off lucky post childbirth walking away with only a weakened bladder is like taking a generous plea deal. Does anyone really win here?

Sneezing and Coughing

Diastasis recti can be influenced by seemingly innocuous activities like sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, and vomiting. These actions exert pressure on the connective tissue, weakening core strength and potentially contributing to or worsening diastasis recti.

Sit-ups, Crunches, and Yoga Poses

Contrary to common fitness practices, exercises like sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, and specific yoga poses, including downward dog, may exacerbate diastasis recti.


Beyond the physical, constipation and bloating contribute to diastasis recti. Digestive issues must be dealt with to ensure optimal bowel function and minimize pressure on abdominal muscles.

Diastasis Management for Safe Training


Since the tissue is overstretched we want to be aware of the position of the tissue. Further stretching it can decrease it's structural integrity so most of our movements for bringing strength back are going to involve a neutral position of our ribs and pelvis.

Avoid Further Damage

The more we lean back the more the tissue stretches in a potentially dangerous position.

Focus on Core Stability When Training

Instead of lifting heavy weights and pushing out we are going to focus on pulling our navel in and holding our stomach from falling forward.

Abdominal Support

The abdominal cavity gives us support for our organs and doesn't just provide us with nice looking abs so we want to develop strength on stabilizers of those tissues.

Stretch with Proper Form

While stretching is often associated with recovery, it's essential to approach it correctly to prevent undue stress on the linea alba. Proper stretching promotes healing without risking injury to the core.

Holistic Training

Healing diastasis recti requires a balance of muscle engagement. The diaphragm, glutes, hamstrings, deep abdominal muscles, and pelvic floor must work together.

Exercise and Training Guidelines for Diastasis Recti After Pregnancy

Prone Position Exercises

Exercises that are in pushup position, otherwise known as prone, are going to be the ideal place to start. Reason being that your stomach drops down in that position and gravity assists you in feeling if you're properly pulling your stomach in or not.

Start on all fours and working on stabilizing with fewer limbs on the body. An example of this is the classic bird dog exercise.

TRX and Suspension Trainer Pushups

Exercises like TRX or Suspension trainer pushups are going to be fantastic core exercises and single leg exercises like lunges and step up are going to be essential in helping generate fatigue without loading the abdominal wall in a risky way. You'll want to avoid heavy squats and front-loaded weights.

Considerations for the Pelvis

Strengthen your inner thighs. Inner thigh muscles directly connect to the pubic bone. The stronger the outside of the hips get with weak inner thigh muscles the more the pelvis starts to splay and pull open. We want to avoid this and wide stance lower body exercises like sumo deadlifts and wide stance squats and replace them with single leg deadlifts and split squats.

Postural Changes and Diastasis Recti

During pregnancy, the body undergoes changes to accommodate the growing baby. This includes shifts in the center of gravity, leading to adjustments in posture. A tilted back rib cage and a rolled forward pelvis are common postural alterations that can exaggerate diastasis recti.

Impact on Body

The sustained posture of a tilted back rib cage and rolled forward pelvis can have far-reaching consequences. It not only contributes to lower back tightness but also places additional stress on the abdominal muscles, potentially exacerbating diastasis recti. This strained posture makes it challenging to engage the abdominal muscles effectively, impeding the natural corset-like support.

Addressing Lower Back Tightness

One of the direct consequences of poor posture is increased tension in the lower back muscles. This tension can pull on the fascia in the front of the abdomen, worsening diastasis recti. Focus on relieving lower back tightness through targeted exercises and stretches for effective recovery.

Train with Professional Personal Trainers

If starting an exercise program because of diastasis or pelvic floor issues feels intimidating to you, reach out to one of our Beometry Fitness Coaches HERE to talk about your specific challenges and strategies to bring you back into fitness, health and strength.

  • Matt W. When I decided to join the infantry to increase my qualifications to reach my goal of being in law enforcement I knew I ...
    Read More
  • Beth I have a lot of motivation for being healthy. With my wedding coming up and turning 45, I realized it was time to focus ...
    Read More
  • Brian R. Since turning 40 I noticed a big change in my body. Not only in my aches, pains, energy level and flexibility but the ph...
    Read More
Contact us
find us

6409 6th Ave #6 Tacoma, WA 98406 253.227.5483

follow us