How to START Diastasis Recti Exercises that FIX YOUR GAP|PHYSIO GUIDED Abdo Separation Repair

Start your diastasis recti exercises and repair your abdominal separation with these Physio guided abdominal core exercises.

These diastasis recti exercises help you safely flatten your tummy and restore your core control after giving birth.

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Diastasis Recti Exercises

1. Unsafe Abdominal Exercises to Avoid

Avoid intense abdominal exercises including abdominal curls or sit ups (below).

Intense core exercise to avoid

Intense abdominal curl exercises involving rectus abdominis or the ‘6 pack muscles’ increase pressure within the belly. This pressure forces the abdominal tissues to stretch and bulge outwards, potentially worsening rectus diastasis (rectus abdominis separation).

2. Safe Abdominal Exercises to Choose

The most important first step in treating rectus diastasis involves finding and correctly activating the deepest core muscles (transverse abdominis). When these muscles contract, they flatten the abdominal belly bulge caused by abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti) during pregnancy.

The most appropriate abdominal exercises for training these muscles are gentle Pilates mat-style exercises (shown below).

Pilates style core exercise for diastasis repair

These progression exercises are commenced once you have the ability to find and feel your deep abdominal muscles working in a variety of positions.

Diastasis Recti Exercise 1

Start these exercises lying down on a firm supportive surface.

Starting Position: Side lying

  • Position a pillow lengthways between your knees
  • Lay down with the normal inward curve in your lower back
  • Place your fingers on your abdominal wall just inside your uppermost pelvic bone to feel muscle activation
  • Breathe into your belly and allow your belly to relax forwards completely
  • Next breathe in and as you breathe out gently lift your lower belly upwards away from your pubic bone and then relax
  • You should feel gentle tension or firmness under your fingers
  • Avoid the tendency to overbrace or tense these muscels too strongly.

Start out holding your exercise 3-5 seconds as you breathe increasing to 10 seconds when you can. Practice this exercise 10 times in a row, 3-4 times a day.

Diastasis Recti Exercise 2

Starting Position: Lying on your back (supine) shown below

Diastasis recti exercises
  • Lay down with the normal inward curve in your lower back, knees bent and feet supported
  • Place your fingers on your abdominal wall just inside your pelvic bones
  • Breathe into your belly and allow these muscles to relax
  • Now breathe in and as you breathe out gently activate the lower abdominal muscles located under your briefs
  • You should feel gentle tension or firmness under your fingers
  • Avoid overbracing or tensing these muscles too strongly.

Diastasis Recti Exercise 3

Starting Position: Sitting

Use the same deep abdominal muscle activation technique outlined for exercises 1 and 2, this time while sitting upright. Practice this activation technique in as many positions as possible e.g. sitting to feed and nurse your baby.

Diastasis Recti Exercise 4

Starting Position: Standing

Use the same deep abdominal muscle activation technique outlined while standing with tall posture. Practice your transverse abdominis exercises when standing throughout the day e.g. when nursing your baby.

When to Start Diastasis Recti Exercises

Try to start the rectus diastasis exercises listed above soon after your baby is born. Repair of the abdominal separation or gap takes place during the first 8 weeks after delivery. During this 8 weeks tissue repair involves collagen being layed down by fibroblast cells (shown below).

Fibroblast cells for diastasis repair

This first 8 weeks postpartum is usually the best time to start exercising your deep abdominal muscles.


Transverse abdominimis……​ Attribution modified by Uwe Gille, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Lee D, Hodges PW. (2016) Behavior of the linea alba during a curl-up task in diastasis rectus abdominis: an observational study. Journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy. Jul;46, 7:580-9.

Source​ TrA-Training.pdf

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