Diastasis Recti Exercises – Physical Therapy Diastasis Repair Exercises

Hi, I’m Michelle. Well today we’re looking
at some basic exercises to start the repair for your rectus diastasis. Now remembering
that your rectus diastasis (if you’ve got one) is a separation of the upper abdominal
muscles, so it’s really important that you’re not doing any intense core exercises like
full planks and sit-up exercises, which are going to in effect separate that area even
more. The exercises to start with are these gentle exercises for your deep abdominal core
muscles. We’re going to start by finding those deep abdominal muscles and I’d like you (if
you’re at home) to exercise along with me, lying yourself down flat on your side to find
those muscles. Coming down into that side-lying position
so, what I’d like you to start by doing is letting your tummy relax. Now, I think you
can feel these abdominal muscles really well in this side lying position. You’re feeling
the area below your navel; the area that would sit below your briefs. And use your fingers
inside, just inside that pelvic bone to feel that area there. In that position, let your
tummy muscles relax, and now very gently draw the abdominal wall inwards just a little bit.
So try to draw in and hold. Hold and breathe and see if you can feel that gentle tension
developing in that lower area of your tummy. You really need to get this part of the exercise
going first of all before we start progressing you along. So see if you can contract those
muscles gently, and hold and breathe. How are you going at home? Can you hold those
muscles on gently? And then relax. After you’ve had your baby and after pregnancy it can be
really difficult to find these deep abdominal muscles because they’ve been so stretched. We’ll try again one more time on your side.
Hands over the inside (you can go over your briefs or over your clothes,) you might feel
them better underneath your clothes just feeling directly against the abdominal wall. And drawing
in gently and just feeling a gentle tension developing in that area of your lower abdomen.
Hold and breathe, hold and breathe, keep holding and breathing and feel that gentle in-draw
and now relax. All right, now if you can feel those, you’re
ready to roll over onto your back. We’ll find those and start into some very gentle Pilates-style
exercises. So rolling over onto your back Now, again, using your fingers (both hands
this time) so feeling in that area, you can use the hands inside and then you can
actually try again (keeping the inward curve in your lower back,) try to gently brace that
abdominal wall. And, this is challenging to feel. You should feel just a very gentle tension
develop in your lower abdomen. You might find that your pelvic floor muscles contract two
at the same time. That’s great if they do. Hold and breathe. Hold and breathe And
relax down. So as we do the next exercises, I’d like you
to use that activation to encourage the repair for that diastasis. So let’s start now. So,
fingers on your pelvis. Shoulders back. And then we’re going to start with an exercise
called a bent-knee fallout. Now with a bent-knee fallout, the leg comes down to the side and
back up. But it’s the deep abdominal muscles that stop your torso from rolling to the side.
So, in that position: gently activate your deep abdominal muscles. Imagine you’ve got
a glass of water balanced on one leg (that’s the stationary leg.) Now, the other leg moves
slowly down to one side while you’re contracting those tummy muscles. Down to the side. As
soon as you start to feel your pelvis start to roll (which won’t be very far) then come
back up to the center and relax. And you might find that quite challenging;
it’s a challenging exercise to do well. Again. Tummy muscles activated. Gently lower the
leg down to the side to where you can. Keep the tummy muscles gently braced. Keep your
glass of water balanced on the other leg. Bring the leg back up to center and relax.
And I can feel that’s quite challenging on my tummy. Okay, have a big breath in and out and we’re
gonna go to the other side, so: fingers on the abdominal wall, activate the lower abdominal
muscles, take the leg down to the other side, don’t let your pelvis roll and come back
up to center and rest. And when I say don’t let your pelvis roll, I mean not to let your
hips roll. So you can feel the trunk rolls or you can actually see my trunk rolling there.
You’ve gotta keep it really stable. You feel over your pelvic bones, you can then check
for that stability. Rest your abdomen. Rest down through your
shoulders. Now we’re going to move into a heel-slide exercise. So, with the next exercise
involves again activating the lower abdominal muscles, maintaining the inward curve in your
lower back, and this time sliding the heel down along the ground, sliding down until
you feel that your back starts to arch as soon as it does come back up into the return,
back to starting position, and relax. And again, tummy muscles braced very gently, keep
the normal curve in your back, slide your foot down and then bringing it back up.
As soon as you feel your lower back curve starting to change and relax. And we can do that on the other side as well.
Let’s do a couple more on the other side. Tummy muscles are activated. Slow controlled
breathing, slide the heel down, sliding along the mat, sliding down gently and bringing
it back up, and once more taking it down. Just slow and steady, controlled, guiding
it back up and relax your tummy muscles. You might like to do some very gentle pelvic
tilts, flattening the curve of your back, down and back. So when you’re just starting out, you’re aiming
to do roughly ten second holds with your breathing, and then you start to do what you can with
your bent-knee fallouts and with your heel-slides. You might start with a couple of exercises
and increasing up to perhaps ten on one side and ten on the other for each of those exercises.
Ideally if you could do those every day that would be terrific. Well let’s review what we’ve just done there.
We’ve done how to activate your deep abdominal muscles. We’ve talked about bent-knee fallout
exercises and also your heel-slide exercises to promote your rectus abdominis repair
and the importance of avoiding your intense abdominal core exercises. Well, for some more
deep core exercises and core abdominal exercises, visit me at pelvicexercises.com.au. I look
forward to exercising with you again soon. Bye for now.


  1. Thanks a lot, Michelle! I'm doing your exercises for about 2 years.It really helped me.I had a very bad previous experience with other Physical Therapists. I'm happy that I found your video in internet. It changed my life quality. It's doesn't matter  where I am, your video always with me. I do exercises every day. Just sometimes I thought what to do with my abdomen? It has become very weak. I was afraid to do abdominal exercises. And now I can fix it! I have only 2 questions: how many weeks after the surgery woman needs to wait for starting exercises and if you have more exercises for abdomen (for women who have or had  a prolapse)?

  2. Hi Michelle! This was very informative, as well as all the other videos and your site! Really appreciate what you're doing! Do you suggest treating a umbilical hernia in the same way? I'm a Pilates instructor, I work out A LOT, and I think I first realized I have a problem with that during my training more than 10 years ago. I work out a lot, and hard I'd say, and I can't imagine doing just these suggested exercises as an ab workout! But I'm also afraid of making it worst or even getting pelvic floor problems in the future (I was referred to your site by an article on SUI). Any comment you might have I'd be grateful, thanks for your time!

  3. Hi Michelle, I have a question regarding the lower back position.  Some people say to flatten the lower back to the floor with a posterior pelvic tilt and others say to maintain the natural curve of the lower back.  Can you please tell me if there is a time to do either specific method and why?  I am lordotic in the lumbar spine and I find that when I try to maintain the natural curve, my lower back hurts and my belly muscles disengage.  Is there something that I am doing in my technique that needs adjusting?

  4. i simply cant get this down… the glass of water thing,, i feel my butt flexing.. it seems impossible

  5. are these exercises good for c-section? I have had three of them. When I try doing any kind of ab exercises, it feels as if something inside me pops inside where my scar is and it hurets terrible as if i just had the surgery. It has been 5 years since the last surgery and I still struggle. I told my doctor and she just said that its the muscle moving.

  6. Hello Michelle,

    Can You tell me about how much time it is going to take to close the 1-1,5 finger separation (I am 16 month after giving a birth)

    Than You 😊

  7. Hi Michelle?How soon should I see results? In the past it has been frustrating trying to motivate myself to continue without seeing any improvements. Are we talking weeks? Months? I have tried the Tupler technique and unfortunately I just could not find the time to keep up with all the required exercises…plus some of the exercises were just impossible for me to do…Thank you.

  8. Hi mam
    I gave birth to my child 2years back upto now I didn't concentrate on my self I still have diastasis recti can u tell me how to solve this . I want to know how much time it may take to come to normal. Waiting for ur reply

  9. is belly breathing bad for diastasis recti? It seems like it's coming out more since I've started.. Thanks!

  10. Hi I am 10 years post partum, I have been told it's too late to heal the split tummy muscles, I was very fit and I am not overweight, though now having issues with my lower back, disc problems and digestion, do you think that I can still heal the split? Thanks.

  11. Hello, I had my 4th baby 2 yrs ago and I noticed something wrong with my stomach after my 3rd baby but didn't know what it was until just a few months ago. I did the self test and it seems i do have a separation, I also asked my obgyn to check and she said I do. I don't really how much it's separated it might b 3 fingers but not 100% sure. I wanted to know should I do these exercises with a belly band and should I wear a belly band to bind my abdomen more often? I know some of the unsafe ab work outs but is zumba safe to do, there is a lot of ab movement in the dances? Thanks for taking the time to post this video.

  12. hello before i found out i had diastasis recti in the beginning after i had my baby i was doin crunches..but that was before i found out it was bad for me..now im very worried that its gonna be hard for me to close my gap..do u think if i just do these exercise will my gap close..my baby is 7 months..i really dont want s tummy tuck at ALL! please help..thank!!!

  13. hya michelle and thank you as always… is it safe to get a ball chair when you have a recti diastiasis? and my son is 15 my gap is still huge? I was doing the wrong exercises for years adding to prolapsing. will it still work after all these years?

  14. When I gently engage my deep abdominal muscles (or shortly after) I get a burning sensation right in the center of my lower abdomen (where I would think that my bladder is located). Should I ignore this feeling, or does it mean that I should avoid this exercise?

  15. can you please tell me if this is safe to do while pregnant to keep the abdominal muscles strong

  16. Michelle, thank you for posting this video. You have done a wonderful job of educating the public about the proper postpartum exercises for Diastasis repair. I will certainly refer my clients to this video.

  17. Michelle, I am 62 years old and I was diagnosed with Diastasis Recti in 2006 by a very popular local surgeon. I have only given birth to one child (natural child birth) in 1981. I have done these exercises for many months with no results. My surgeon said I should never allow any surgery on this area (far too dangerous). This looks horrible. What should I do?

  18. Thank you very much for you great job . I have a question . I have diastasis just above and below the navel . Can these exercises help me ? Thank you in advance .

  19. I have another question . Talking about respiration . I've learned that belly respiration like we are doing in Yoga in other words (Diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing or deep breathing )is really good in case if we have diastasis recti . Because it doesn't cause intra-abdominal pressure hypertension. Am I wrong ? Thank you very much .

  20. if I have a 1 to 1 1/2 sepration ok for leg lifts and ab workouts it's not to far apart but it is kinda deep like a little less to half a finger on my hand witch is small

  21. Are we doing those exercises in imprint position? which exercises should be done in imprint position where we press the lowerback down, and during which we should keep the natural curve of the spine?

  22. Hey Michelle, I mistakenly did intense plank exercises for just once and now i have a vertical wrinkle that starts from my belly button going downwards. What may have caused this is this related with diastasis recti and can this be cured?

  23. Thank you for sharing! After just following along with the video exercises my lower "mommy tummy" felt sore like it did after child birth so I know for sure something is tightening up 😊

  24. Will these work to help repair an open above navel diastasis? Are there any other of your videos that address this?

  25. Hello Michelle, I have yet to find a video of a person demonstrating on an overweight person to determine whether or not they have the separation. I'm overweight myself and I can't seem to locate it. The only way I can tell if I might have it is when after walking on the treadmill, I get a backache and my hips feel stiff. Can you recommend other ways or give more tips on how to find it?

  26. hi Michelle , thanks for the informative videos.
    my 2nd baby is 2 year old and my pregnancies are back to back. I have 3-4 fingers gap.
    when I try to my abdominal muscles as you told in initial video, I can't squeeze them and I notice my pelvic floor muscles are squeezed instead. I don't feel any tension in abdominal area, in fact I feel as if that part is not moved at all. not sure how to target correct muscles.
    please help.

  27. Hi Michelle! these look very good… I wonder if you'd know when would be safe to start doing these exercises while recovering from a c section?

  28. Hi! I have a problem… I dont feel I make any effort doing this. I feel nothing. So I must be doing it wrong? Im scared of doing it wrong for month.. Thank you…! 🙂

  29. Hello! i was wondering if you can do this exercise if you are not pregnant yet or just to prevent diastasis recti in both men and women? thanks a bunch!

  30. Thank you for this video i had been trying to tighten my belly all wrong! I have 4 kids 2 c-sections and 2 vaginal and 1 very very tramatic birth and my core is gone.

  31. Hello thank you this is a great video I have been suffering from Dra for many years as an athlete find it very difficult to do this you make it simple and easy to understand. I will try to start doing this again.

  32. Hi! I am a young woman in 20s without kids, but I do and have always had a pooch (I now know and classify that as having a diastasis recti), ever since I was like 10yrs old. I currently have developed "urge" form of overactive bladder problems. Do u think this has something to do with it? What can I do?

  33. Hi Michelle, Thanks for the great videos. Question: can a person have no gap in the recti muscles but the abdominals dome slightly when leaning back.

  34. Thank you for this informative video and for keeping comments open. I learned a lot from people's questions and your replies!

  35. I never knew I had diastasis recti until recently. My daughter is now 15 yrs old. Will these exercises work after so many years?

  36. Hi Michelle, my baby is 1 year old but my abdominal separation is still about 2 inches separate. Do you have any recommendations on how exercise? I really wanna get back to my intense workout. 🙁

  37. Hello! Thank you so much for this video! Tried the workouts today and felt great engagement. I spent some time doing intense ab workouts that I shouldn’t have and have stopped them and am focusing on repairing now.

    My question is I feel like my right side is much stronger than my left. Should I do more exercises on the left side to compensate?

  38. Hi, can i do this exercises if i have umbilical hernia, is there any risk to strangulate it, if so? …and , do you also have a video for fixing umbilical hernia? When i press the belly button, in certain exercises, the right is to exhale, right? I ask bcs recently i have seen the opposite, inhaling…Tyvm

  39. When should i start doing this after birth? Can instart this after birth or need to do it before 6 weeks

  40. Mam i have 2 fingers gap in abs having a 7 month baby can u please tell me how much time this exercise take to heal n will i able for normal life routine thank you

  41. Hello, I have 4 fingers separation, I am 6 weeks postpartum c section when can I begin these exercises?

  42. Hi Michelle, I have a doubt… I delivered by first baby one yr before… it's c section…. I still have a bulged and stubborn stomach below my chest exactly near upper abdomen… And also while I lie down on my back the stomach is flat… And when I lift my head while lying down… My belly button comes out.. Is it recti diastasis.

  43. Hi, can you do this when pregnant? I still have DR from first pregnancy and am now pregnant again. I would really like to prevent it from getting any worse. Thanks.

  44. Thank you for this video! I have a quick question, once my diastasis recti is healed will I be able to do intense core exercises as I did before I had my baby, or will that separate the muscles again?

  45. I had second c section 8 weeks ago my Belly is huge and loose … I'm 85 kgs and 5.5 height.. which excercise to start..plzz hlp

  46. Mam I had C section now almost 2.5 yrs ,and I had my miscarriage last month can.i do this ,just I started core training ,which one I should to first , because I have one finger diastasis recti , and I have loosen belly booch mam please help me, and.i have urinary muscle is loosen ,when seeing I have leaking of urine?

  47. Madam I got pregnant for 2nd time just after 4 months of my 1st baby's birth. I have flexible skin. After c-section for 2nd baby. My belly muscles got aprt and my belly is too much hanging outside with pain on lower part of uterus. Should I wear a belt for lower uterusto uplift the hanging belly from downside?

  48. Hello, it looks like I may be the only guy on this comment section. I have DR. 10 years ago I was exposed to some nasty mold and contracted a chronic cough that lasted for about two years. Every cough made
    My mid section feel like it was coming apart. Later I found out I had this deformed midsection when I did some sit-ups. I was afraid to go any further because I didn’t want to exasperate my problem. Don’t want to sound like a typical guy but will this work for me and how long before I start seeing results? A part of me wants to start doing planks and sit-ups right away. It’s quite frustrating for me.

  49. Thank you for the great explanation to show how to activate the lower tummy and transverse abdominals correctly. This is one of the best videos I've seen for Diastasis Recti Exercises.

  50. Hi, I have a question. I have a hiatus hernia and a small ventral hernia. The surgeon my doctor referred me to has said several times that surgery is not needed, as the ventral hernia is still relatively small. I have a large tummy and asked him if core exercises are safe. He said yes, that they would help to strengthen my abdominal muscles and possibly help my hernia. He also mentioned how my abdominal muscles are "weak", and also said something about the center of abdomen not being "close". So, would these types of exercises in this video help what I mentioned? He wasn't specific on what exercises to do, so I've been searching on YouTube and came across this. These seem gentle enough.

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