So how can you tell for sure if you have DR? You can see your OB-GYN for an evaluation for DR, but it’s also fast and easy to test yourself at home.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
2. Place one hand behind your head, and lift your head and neck slightly.
3. Place your fingertips across your midline, parallel with your waistline, and press down. If you feel a gap greater than 2 finger widths apart, it is likely you have DR.
4. Move your fingers above and below your below your belly button to measure the DR.
My DR measurement is about 2 1/2 finger width. You can see the muscles on either side of where I’m pressing and then the gap in the middle where I can fit my fingers through.
First of all, it’s important to note what NOT to do when you have DR, because you can make it worse. You’ll want to avoid exercises that place strain on the midline, or cause the belly to bulge outward, which means, no sit-ups, crunches, or planks.
The good news is, you can bring your ab muscles back together, improve your strength, stability and how your stomach looks with very simple exercises! Yay for that! #thereshopeforus!
As far as exercises that can help correct DR and bring the ab muscles back together, everything I’ve read and researched have all pointed more toward breathing and deep inner core work as opposed to traditional exercise. So, it’s more like subtle movements and breathing that help bring the abs back together the most.
When you start doing this, it may feel weird or like you’re not really “doing anything”, but one main way to do that deep inner core work is BRACING
. I learned this on MamaStrong.com
and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
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STEP 1 (Belly to the Spine) :: Lie down on your back in a neutral position. Breathe in and push your belly out, exhale and press your belly to the spine without moving the spine. Basically, you are pressing your belly into your spine as hard as you can while keeping your back neutral. (Don’t tuck your pelvis under).
STEP 2 (Kegel) :: While you have exhaled, do a kegel (squeezing the sphincter, not just the “stop peeing” muscle) to go deeper into the pelvic floor while keeping your back neutral (don’t move your spine).
STEP 3 (Midback) :: While you are bracing (doing Step 1 & 2), apply gentle pressure on your midback (where your bra strap would be) to your midline. Essentially, you’re imagining a tack at the middle of the back of your bra strap and you’re envisioning pulling that in to help give you more mid back support.
After you get the hang of properly bracing, which actually may take a lot of practice, you don’t have to do it laying down. You can do it sitting, standing and all throughout the day while you go above your business.
I admit, I haven’t been doing the bracing very often, but I need to because I’ve heard so such good results when people stick with it. One of my good friends has been doing it religiously, and she said she noticed her DR significantly decrease.
Have you had success with closing your DR gap? If so, please share what worked for you!
Have a great day, friends! ?