Battling belly bulge is never fun, and it’s especially challenging for women who’ve had a baby. That hard-to-lose baby bump can actually be a condition known as diastasis recti: a separation in the outermost abdominal muscle, according to the fitness experts at the American Council on Exercise. Unfortunately, standard crunches won’t really address this problem, say the ACE professionals. Registered nurse Julie Tupler, who is also a personal trainer, has come up with an exercise that can help correct diastasis recti and strengthen the underlying muscles.
Do You Have Diastasis Recti?
This separation is easy to spot, according to ACE: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Begin to do a crunch by rolling your head and shoulders off the floor while pressing with your fingers just above or below your belly button. If you feel a gap anywhere in this area, you may have diastasis recti. You’ll be happy to know that the separation isn’t serious — it’s mostly a cosmetic concern, since it’s responsible for your baby bump.
Target Your Transverse
The transverse abdominal is a deep layer of muscle that wraps around your midsection and plays an important role in breathing. By strengthening your transverse muscle you can minimize the muscle separation of diastasis and increase support for your lower back.
Suck In Your Belly Button
You can practice this exercise wherever you are — sitting at your desk, standing in line at the bank, or driving in your car. Keeping your back straight, suck in your belly button toward your spine. Now, do a little abdominal flex that pushes your belly button even closer to the spine, and then back out again. Shallowly breathe in and out as you push in and out with your belly button.
100 Reps, Five Times a Day
Tupler recommends that you do a set of 100 — which should take about two and a half minutes — five times a day. Even if you don’t have diastasis recti, you’ll notice improvements in your midsection and gain a more powerful core.
- Lose Your Mummy Tummy: Julie Tupler, RN
- ACEfitness.org: Rethinking Core Training
John Hastings has written and edited health, fitness and science stories for magazines, websites and iPad publications. He has held senior editorial positions at "O, The Oprah Magazine," "Reader’s Digest" and "Health." He has also contributed to magazines such as "Men’s Journal" and "Bon Appetit."