Phase 2 of healing diastasis recti – reinforcing the abdominal muscles and linea alba

Phase 2 – Reinforce the structures.

If you checked out phase 1 of healing abdominal separation, closing the gap – you know that narrowing the space between 2 sides of the rectus abdominis is only the first step.

Here’s why –

There is a beautiful principle know as “tensegrity” –  tension plus integrity to create structural strength.  This absolutely needs to be paid attention to when healing abdominal separation.

The term was originally coined by Buckminster Fuller, and is well articulated by Thomas Myers in his Anatomy Trains literature.

If you place too much tension (let’s say in the form of exercise) on tissue (such as ligaments, tendons and fascia) that does not have the structural integrity to withstand it, you will cause damage. 

If you place the appropriate amount of tension on the structure, the tissue becomes stronger.

AND – to heal the linea alba fully and in order to last, this tension needs to be placed on the healed gap in a variety of patterns.  This provides different angles of tension on fascia – which then sort of  “criss cross” over the closed/narrowed gap to make it super solid.

How do you do that and how long does it take?

Phase 2 generally takes about 6-8 weeks – mainly because you can’t speed up tissue repair beyond a certain point. 

There are 3 key exercises that I do in my phase 2 classes – one of them is the Supine Inchworm You can find it in this video here from Dan Hellman, an amazing exercise therapist and colleague of mine.  He gives some fantastic info about infant development patterns in this video.

Here’s the link for the exercise:

Tips for doing this exercise for abdominal separation –

Place your fingers into the linea alba for the first round of this exercise – if you notice gapping or coning you are not ready for this phase yet – go back to phase 1.

Draw in your pelvic floor while you perform this exercise.

Start by doing 4 repetitions up the mat and 4 down, then stop and have a complete diaphragmatic breath before doing it again.  This will recharge and fully release the pelvic floor, ensuring you get the best activation during the exercise. 

CAUTION – do not throw the hips up into the air and use momentum to lift the legs in this exercise.  This can make abdominal separation worse.  Keep the hips low and the knees moving horizontally, not vertically.

Build up to doing 5 sets of the 4 reps in each direction.

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