Diastasis Recti: Splitting of the Fascia of the Rectus Abdominis

Diastasis Recti: Splitting of the Fascia of the Rectus Abdominis

A Little-Known Core Concern that Warrants Recognition

By Hope Zvara

Most people would love to have a killer core—that is, a waistline to die for—but at what cost? Diastasis recti is a splitting of the fascia of the rectus abdominis down the linia alba, or midline, that separates it into left and right halves. The condition occurs primarily in infants and pregnant women, but can also be the result of obesity, particularly when excessive fat surrounds the abdomen. Diastasis recti can also be cause by certain abdominal exercises and heavy weightlifting— which is a common cause of the problem among men.

In women, diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy, when the pressure of the uterus against the abdominal wall causes a widening and thinning of the midline tissue. However, women can live with diastasis recti for several years after pregnancy, especially if they do not perform the proper exercises to fix the issue or if they worsen the separation by exercising incorrectly. Having several consecutive pregnancies can prevent the uterus from returning to its normal size and interfere with the body’s healing.

A split that creates a gap wider than two-and-a-half fingers’ width may be considered a medical issue and should be dealt with immediately. Even at two fingers widths, sufferers may notice back pain, the sagging “mama belly” or a coning or V-shape at the line of the linia alba, where the abdominals should be connected. At any gap size, diastasis recti is a concern that can create issues if left unaddressed as the core muscles develop improperly. When something in our bodies is not working correctly, something else compensates, and that compensation eventually catches up with us.

What to Avoid

Exercise classes and boot camps that are focused on weight loss and strength training usually do not provide students with an understanding of transversus abdominis and pelvic support, so it is important for anyone that suffers from diastasis, especially new mothers, to understand the problem and how to properly heal from it. Because pregnancy stretches and thins the abdominal walls rapidly, the muscles afterward are vulnerable to injury. Like a balloon that is inflated and deflated several times consecutively, the abs can become distorted and saggy unless the proper care is taken to heal them from being stretched thin.

The abdominal exercises known as crunches or sit-ups can create a pressure down the midline of the belly that can cause the split. The source of problematic weightlifting is incorrect form; either sucking in or pushing out the belly prevents building true transversus abdominis strength.

Women should avoid wearing a support girdle or other tummy-trimming undergarments unless the split is two or more fingers width apart. The girdle’s support prevents sufferers from working the core muscles, leading to an issue that is much worse than a simple tummy bulge.

How to Strengthen and Heal

Learning proper pelvic floor exercises will give the core the support it needs and build the base from which to mend the issue. The pelvic floor is the bottom of the body; with strengthening, this foundation can lighten the load on the rectus abdominis and help remedy urinary incontinence.

Due to pregnancy, excessive abdominal weight or improper core work, many women that have diastasis recti also have lordosis, an exaggerated forward curvature of the lumbar and cervical regions of the spinal column. Intentionally bringing the spine into a neutral position helps retrain the muscles into their proper position.

Choose exercises that facilitate using the transversus abdominis properly, working in three dimensions, or planes of motion, rather than simply along one plane (for example, with crunches, the movement is just rounding forward). Learn core exercises that require work in the transverse (horizontal) plane, rather than in the sagittal (or vertical) plan, as traditional sit-ups do.

Practice breathwork that will encourage a co-contraction effect on the entire pelvic core, from the pelvic floor to the entire torso. When exhaling, instead of sucking in our pushing out, make a small deflation of the belly, but more distinctly, a firm contraction of the entire core to feel a bracing effect.

Finally, become educated and ask questions. Not all workouts are equal and unfortunately, not all instructors are aware of the effects of their workouts on all parts of the body.

Three Moves to Rehabilitate Diastasis Recti

Forearm Plank TwistForearm Plant Twist

Come onto the forearms in a forearm plank position, actively pressing forearms into the floor, keeping head in line with the body parallel to the ground. From the natural waistline, twist your lower body to the left, rotating your pelvis and feet to point in the same direction onto the side of the left foot, so that the left hip points toward the ground and right side faces the ceiling. Lift your hips actively away from the floor to feel the oblique and transversus abdominis turn on. Remain here for five to 10 breaths. Pause in plank and take a short break, and then repeat the opposite side, twisting the lower body to the right. After completing both sides, decide which side needs more work and repeat that side a second time.

Mini-ball Extension with a TwistMini-ball Extension with a Twist

Sitting tall with a nine-inch, core-training mini-ball gently tucked behind your sacrum, sit tall on your sit bones and on an exhale using your transversus abdominis, press only your sacrum barely into the ball without rounding your spine. Inhale and extend your body back to make a 45-degree angle with the floor, watching not to arch the back and keeping a maintained focus on the linea alba. Keep the intention of exhaling and connecting both sides of the belly together. Place the fingers of one hand on one side of the rectus break and the thumb on the other. Upon exhaling, use the fingers and thumb to merge the split muscle. Do not extend too far back and remember to keep the pelvic floor active; a mini-ball or block can be placed between the inner thighs to assist. On the next inhale, take a gentle twist to the right and rotate only the torso, taking care to not move on the mini-ball, and with a strong exhale, focus on using your corset core, the area between the hips and the ribs, to rotate you back to center. Repeat each side five times and then work the weaker side again another five times.

BracingBracing Exercise

Lying on the floor in a supine position, place a mini-ball underneath the sacrum with the pelvis in a neutral position. Exhale and actively contract the anal sphincter, vaginal passageway (for women) and urethra. Keeping this support, lift one leg up so that the shin is parallel to the ceiling, with the knee aligned over the hip. Keep steady and extend your opposite arm towards the lifted leg, palm to thigh. Now without moving the pelvis or spine, press leg and palm towards each other, creating resistance, for 10 to 20 seconds. Release the leg and arm and then repeat on the opposite side. Notice which side is weaker and repeat that side a second time. What you should notice is the entire core activating without you needing to do much of anything. This way to effectively use the core and support the spine is called bracing, or co-contracting.

free class card

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 4

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 4

16. Mini Ball Minute: Designated corework or any workout for that matter does not have to be long winded or complex. My mini ball is my most favorite workout out item and it goes everywhere with me. Working with a mini ball give you 10x the muscle response as ground corework does. And unless you are a mechanic on his (or her) back all day, get up off that flat floor! (Want more mini ball? CLICK HERE) Hold a 45 degree angle for one minute-keeping good posture, you should start to feel the earth quake (welcome to your deep core). Hope Zvara-Fitness Hacks-Mini-Ball-Minute

17. Peek-a-Boo Pop Up: Playing with your kids can be fun and a workout too. I am always conscious of how much I do or don’t move, and my little ones loves a rising round of peek-a-boo so why not make it extra fun. Ten rounds = ten squats, jumps and laughs! Hope Zvara-Fitness Hacks-Peek-a-boo

18. Dance Party: My kids love when it’s dance party time. When we are at home we turn on the tunes on the T.V. and it’s usually Latin dancing music and we groove out. We take turns being in the “spot light” and by the time we are done we have done some major bonding, letting go and moving. (PS we also do elevator dancing, I do the beat box and we go nuts until the next floor hops on!) Hope Zvara-Fitness Hacks-Dance Party

19. Early Arrival Power Walk: How often do you arrive somewhere early to then find yourself standing around or sitting in your car scrolling Facebook. Those moments are a perfect opportunity to get out and move your legs. When I’m early to my kids school they have a perfect square of sidewalk surrounding their school that I can easily power around for a quick mini walk. And the days I do that I never regret it later! Hope Zvara-Fitness Hacks-Early Arrival Power Walk

20. 5 Minute Yoga Break: It can be so hard to break away from the computer, but trust me, when you do you will always come back refreshed. Set your phone timer, and then put it face-down not to see any texts pop up. Pull up a five minute yoga practice from my YouTube page, or just move on your mat in a way that feels good. Chances are you will go beyond five minutes, you just needed a little motivation to get started. Hope Zvara-Fitness Hacks-Five Minute Yoga Practice

Great work! Now you have 20 ideas to bust through those excuses that you have not time to work out or get moving again! Remember, never let your reasons become your excuses as to why not.


Stay tune for Part 3 of  the 20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health!

Did you miss Part 1? Access it here!

Did you miss Part 2? Access it Here!

Did you miss Part 3? Access it Here!

Want more from Hope? 

Check out my FREE Top 10 Core Torching Moves E-Course!


20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 3

We are back with more hacks to better health! Time is of the essence when it comes to making time for exercise, working, raising a family, cleaning your house and all the other million things we have going on. But the moment I got smart about movement and stopped putting my fitness in a box of I have to be practicing for X time, and I have to be at X location in order to get a good workout, I noticed I was happier, stronger and over all my fitness level improved even more!

It’s not the time you take out of your day for fitness, it’s the total sum of movement you participate in that really counts!

So lets get moving!

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 3

11. Stand Up and Type: Sitting is the pits, and when you get up and move a bit, those typed words per minute don’t seem so bad after all. But just standing won’t cut it-try to move around every 15 minutes to keep good blood circulation and happy body parts! Happy typing! Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks #11 Stand Up and Type

12. T.V. Straddle Stretch: O.K. so we all enjoy some R&R at times, and don’t feel guilty if you want to do it watching your favorite show! Get off the couch and get a few good floor stretches in while you watch and relax. Feeling stiff? Use those couch pillows to prop up your torso so you can relax into the stretch for a bit! Enjoy! Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks-#12 TV Straddle Strech

13. Kitchen Cabinet Calf Lifts: I don’t always have time for a yoga practice, but I do have a few minutes, even a few seconds-here and there! Looking for your favorite snack on that high shelf? No problem! Work our those sore tired feet and get them moving PLUS pump those calves of yours with an easy lift and lower. I know your body will thank you!

Kitchen Cabinet Calf Raise Hack

14. 10 Minute Power Cleaning: It seems that I clean my house and then all of a sudden its like a tornado blew in. It’s amazing when we set the timer at home for a quick power clean up how much we all can accomplish! And the bonus is we are all racing each other so what a workout: squatting, reaching, bending, running, jumping-it’s all fair game when the 10 minute clean up is on! Hope zvara 20 Fitness Hacks #14 10 Minute Power Cleaning

15. Parking Lot Power Walk: O.K. so we all do it, we are in a hurry and search the lot for the closest spot to park to get in and out ASAP! But lets get real, if you park just a little further away and get those extra steps in, how much time will that really set you back? Plus you are less likely to get dings in your fancy car when you park further away, because, well, people rushing like you aren’t going to park near you. BONUS! Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks #

Until next time—Keep moving!

Stay tune for Part 4 of the 20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health!

Did you miss Part 1? Access it Here!

Did you miss Part 2? Access it Here!

Want more from Hope? 

Check out my FREE Top 10 Core Torching Moves E-Course!

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 2

I hope you have been working on implementing the 20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 1 into your daily routine.

Let’s get honest for a second, our days get busy fast and then all of a sudden it’s 8:30 P.M. and you are reaching for the blanket and ready to curl up on the couch and call it for the night. As you do that you realize you barely moved today. I mean barely moved, if you even call walking to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, walking to the car to go to and from work and maybe you are wild and crazy and you did a load of laundry (well almost, the clean clothes are still in the basket at the foot of your bed right?).

I get it, this is the entire reason I put this series together, a few years ago I realized that the image of my perfect plan for the day in my head or even in my planner was only going to happen when worms have ears.

See the difference between fitness and movement is fitness is often equated to the activity you go and do, while movement is the total amount of which you move. And if you just increase the total amount of which you move throughout the day, you may very well move more and do more than what you would just do at the gym.

Now if you take my advice and move more during the day and get lucky and get to the gym, yoga, out for a long walk, then BOOM bonus and you are feeling great!

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 2

6. Phone Power Walk: We all own a cell phone now a days, and if you don’t then I’m pretty sure you don’t have the means to read this either. Work to make it a habit that when you are on the phone you are up and moving. Maybe you can’t get out and go for a mini walk per say, but even just standing will ask more muscles to work than what does sitting. Stuck in your office, ever heard of desk laps? Me neither-until now, but it doesn’t matter where you walk- move those legs as you move that mouth.

Phone Power Walk

7. Kitchen Table Lunge: Our kitchen table has may purposes, storage unit, dumping ground, painting station, tool bench and occasionally a dinner table (no joke). So what’s one more use? Pull out one of those death traps we call chairs and step your foot up on the seat and with a few steps back with your other foot, keep a tall spine (relax the front ribs down) and gently lunge forward offering a nice stretch in the groin and hamstring of the back leg. Hold for a few breaths and repeat several times  a day.

Kitchen Table Lunge Hack

8. Calf Stretch at the Bathroom Sink: If you brush your teeth or wash your hands then this will be a snap! For so many of us we spend our days in a positive heeled shoe, this shortens our calves which causes a slew of concerns like: pelvic floor issues, tight hip flexors, lower back pain, even shoulder pain, it can give us foot issues once we take our prized shoesy off and alters the pitch of our body while standing, which changes the loads we have to carry each day. Using a half dome (or a tightly rolled yoga mat) step the ball of your foot up onto the support and be sure to line up the edge of the foot with the wall (no shoes). Stack your body in neutral and as you brush those pearly whites start to walk your free foot forward. Trust me you’ll feel what I’m talking about real quick.

Calf Stretch Bathroom Hack

9. Pelvic Floor Reboot: Use that time you spend day dreaming, scrolling Facebook or whatever else you do and lets put it to better use. No matter where you are find neutral pelvis (pubis bone and front hip bones [ASIS]) and run them parallel with the wall you are facing. (Watch VIDEO on where your pelvic floor is HERE). Now focus in on creating support in the pelvic floor (literally the bottom of your core). This is not kegels support or death squeeze, but rather a kind contraction of support to assist you and your body back to good health core-wellness.

Pelvic Floor Hack

10. Changing Table Leg Lifts: Once you have a baby in your house you’ll easily spend the next two to four years changing diapers. I do my best to never change diapers just standing around. Make the most out of those few minutes and put a little leg into it. Keeping neutral pelvis and parallel legs. Balance on one leg and with a flexed foot extend the opposite out away from you. Then do the same to give a little oomph back to that booty and kick it back. Try to take your time and get at least five to ten in on each side. And now you’ve got yourself a great reason to change that next poopie diaper.

Hope Zvara- 20 Fitness Hacks -#10-Changing Table Side Kicks

Stay tune for Part 3 of  the 20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health!

Did you miss Part 1? Access it here!

Want more from Hope? 

Check out my FREE Top 10 Core Torching Moves E-Course!




20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 1

20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health: Part 1

When you google the word exercise it’s like an explosion of information, suggestions and well, stuff comes blasting out at you after the search. Scanning all this varied information it can be difficult to navigate what to take in and what to leave to the birds.

I have always had a very specific view on exercise and I love me some movement, but my choice “exercise” if you want to call it that is not my only movement for the day. I like to look at the total quantity moved for the day rather than recognize that in the course of 24 hours, 16 of which I was awake that I moved for 30 minutes that day, or 1 hour that day. When you look at it in this context, its crazy to say that 30 minutes is enough.

So to help you better help yourself here are some of my top daily grind moves to keep me going and up and moving!

  1. Kitchen Sink Stretch: Grab a hold of the kitchen sink edge and lean back and squat! As you squat back work to breathe into and relax your body feeling a great stretch in the under arm and back. Hold this amazing stretch for 5 breaths.  Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks-#1 Kitchen Sink Stretch
  2. Door Knob Squats: All these poor lonely door knobs with no one holding on- until now. Open your door part way and grab hold of each of the knobs, step back so your arms are in extension and with pelvic neutral squat that booty back. Work to keep healthy alignment and give those glutes a go around. A quick 10 when you pass the door is a sure fire score! Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks-#2 Door Knob Squats
  3. Stairway Push-Up: I wasn’t always good at push-ups, but several years ago I decided that I needed to up my game and incorporate them randomly into my day for more help. It worked! Using your stairway is a great way to ease into that struggle some experience when returning back to plank. Start at 3 and work up to 5 and then over time-10.Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks-#3 Stairway Push Ups
  4. Laundry Basket Loader: Laundry time is a great time to work on your core, and carrying the laundry basket is a great way to tone up your center. When you carry the basket try to keep your elbows down and don’t lean back. Use your glutes as your base and try not to lean back. Core work on your backs got nothing on your laundry basket. (PS Mom’s this goes for carrying your baby too)Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks-#4 Laundry Basket Loader
  5. Coffee Table Triceps Push-Up: Jiggle arms are a constant concern for many women, but a few dips in the gym won’t combat 30 years of this issue. Facing away from the coffee table walk your feet out until you are in a reverse plank (option: reverse table). Hugging your elbows together, focus on the movement being at your elbow joint rather than at your hips. Focus on going small and then slowly increase. Work up to 10! Hope Zvara 20 Fitness Hacks- #5 Coffee Table Tricpes Push Ups
    No more excuses to the best shape ever! No gym membership-no problem. All the little stuff over time adds up to the big stuff with a lot less headache, worry and money!

Stay tune for Part 2 of 20 Quick Fitness Hacks for Better Health!

Want more from Hope? 

Check out my FREE Top 10 Core Torching Moves E-Course!

Core Video: 12 Minutes to a Stronger Core

Core Video: 12 Minutes to a Stronger Core


In all reality we all have 12 minutes AND with most of us glued to some sort of electronic device makes it pretty easy (no excuses right) to get moving!

Join me in a no excuses- core torching 12 minute video with yours truly!

I know you won’t be disappointed.

Want more?

Here’s a 35 minute Yoga + Weights Practice that will surely leave your body smiling!


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