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Status:Closed    Asked:Dec 05, 2013 - 08:48 AM

Is it safe to do planks with diastasis recti?

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Diastasis recti is a condition in which there is a separation down the midline of the abdominal wall (rectus abdominis) into right and left halves. It can often occur as a result of pregnancy, excessive visceral fat in the abdominal area or in newborns whereby the abdominal muscle joining to the midline or linea alba doesn’t quite develop.

Diastasis recti compromises abdominal strength- often leading to overall poor support for torso and abdominal organs. As a result, individuals can experience back pain, issues with pelvic alignment, and difficulty lifting objects (Mayo Clinic, 2013). If you have this condition, it’s important to first speak with your medical provider before beginning any exercise program to help avoid worsening your condition with potential complications such as spinal injuries leading to chronic back pain and potential abdominal hernias.

Whether planks are actually safe for someone experiencing diastasis recti may depend on the severity of the condition as well as the presence of any physical complications. In general abdominal exercises that involve twisting or flexion (including crunches) should probably be avoided (ACE, 2010). However, typical plank exercises often put a fair amount of pressure on the back which could exacerbate pain-especially if done incorrectly. If you’ve been cleared to exercise by your medical provider, it’s a great idea to work in conjunction with a certified personal trainer who can help you learn proper form to avoid injury.

Appropriate core exercises for those with diastasis recti should focus on pulling in the abdominal muscles as opposed to pushing them outward. This can mean something as simple as a seated abdominal engagement that involves drawing in the abdomen-bringing the navel towards the spine without actual spinal flexion, holding for 5-10 seconds, release and repeat. Other exercises that engage the core without spinal flexion may include bird-dog or supine hollowing- both of which are explained in detail with illustrations in the online ACE exercise library.



Dec 05, 2013 - 08:50 AM

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