What cardio activities are safe with diastasis recti?
In my private Facebook Diastasis Recti workout group (which you can join here) I often get asked about different cardio options.
Don't know if you have Diastasis Recti? Here is how you can self-assess:
Below I have gone through some of common workouts. HOWEVER, before starting any high impact cardio I strongly suggest to go through the beginners program FIRST.
You can sign up for it FREE here:
Check out THIS ARTICLE for the list of questions you should go through before starting ANY form of exercise with Diastasis Recti
So have you freaked out because you have a diastasis recti and don’t know what exercises you should do?
First, of COURSE, you should do the Beginners Program for at least 3 weeks WITHOUT other high impact exercises, possibly up to 6 weeks depending on your gap and core strength.
This will adequately strengthen your transverse abdominis, start healing your connective tissue, AND reduce the gap without the possibility (and PROBABILITY) of hindering your progress.
So now lets talk about what you CAN do.
I have previously written articles on:
Running - see it HERE
Swimming - see it HERE
Yoga - see it HERE
And the questions you should ask yourself BEFORE attempting a new cardio exercise program.
So lets check out some of the other options now:
Cycling is fine as long as you can keep you spine in a neutral position. This often means you need to adjust a bike at the gym so the handle bars are up higher.
Be careful of bikes that promote you to “hunch” over the handle bars as this will put pressure on your abdominal wall.
If you didn’t do this BEFORE you had diastasis I wouldn’t start until after you have a functional core again – due to the twisting motions that are often involved.
If you are already a keen kickboxer, here are some modifications you can make:
Do not punch ACROSS your body, replace these punches with ones straight front to reduce the danger of SHEARING your diastasis recti.
Kicks can be ok – keep them low so you can keep your TVAs engaged and your back in neutral. Often if we aim to kick too high we tend to hunch over to help reduce the stretch on the hamstring. Also don’t do any kicks that go from the left to the right side of your body (or visa versa) – which will also cause shearing. Kicks that stay on one side and these should be fine with your diastasis recti as long as your back and pelvis stay neutral.
With good technique weights can be very beneficial. To start with keep with lighter weights and do higher reps, allowing you to concentrate on your technique and posture.
Watch how you pick up and put down your weights – make sure you squat (hinging at your hips not at your waist).
A lot of Pilates moves may actually make your diastasis worse due to the pressure they create on the abdominal wall. However some of the side lying exercises can be ok.
In general Zumba is fine after you have done the beginners program, just be aware of any twisting movements from the waist, and keeping a neutral spine. Also be aware of your ribs thrusting if you bring your arms up overhead.
Things you should wait till AFTER your core is functional again BEFORE attempting:
Martial arts, such as jujitsu and karate
If you found this article useful please share with others, and comment below if you have any questions