Ever hear or read a headline that you read and you automatically think that the claim is garbage? Well, 9 times out of 10, it is. Fixing Diastasis Recti Naturally? Sounds like a false claim to me if I ever heard one.
But right at a month ago, I decided to start my own experiment and see if I could figure out how to fix my own DR naturally.
If you just started following along on this little ride that we have going on here, then let me recommend that you go read post one here, followed by post two here, and then come back here to post three.
It’s officially day 28 of my experiment and it’s been a bit of a roller coaster.
The emotions that go into this are quite something. I’ve always been an emotionally sensitive person, but to be honest with you, I have never been as emotional as I have been since I had my son.
I’m pretty sure it’s the hormone changes and your outlook on life completely changes once you have kiddos, which I know you know what I am talking about.
When I did the DR test and figured out that I had DR, I was honestly super relieved because I finally had an answer to an area that I could not figure out for the life of me why it wouldn’t “fix”.
Alright – real talk. Ready?
Since I wrote post number two, I hadn’t been doing my DR exercises everyday like I did for the first two weeks. In fact, I did them about four or five days each week and that was it.
Days 14-28 were crazy hard from a mental perspective.
Ready for more real talk? I struggle with depression. In fact, when I went through postpartum depression, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I didn’t want medicine (not that there’s anything wrong with medicine should you and your doc decide that’s what is right for you), I wanted to overcome it naturally, if I could.
While I did get over the worst of it, I still have highs and lows. Ebs and flows of the mental status. How do I personally do it? Lots of weight lifting, running, and a whole lot of Jesus.
This is where I found myself for about a week since my last update. Days 14 through about day 23 were really tough. I mean REALLY tough.
There were days that I had a hard time getting out of bed let alone doing my workouts, but I did because I have a family and clients depending on me. I finally snapped out of that dark week about day 23 or 24 and was back on track in the mindset area again.
With all that said, I was really scared to take my progress picture yesterday because I was afraid that not doing the DR exercises everyday would set me behind.
I was wrong.
Take a look at this progress pic. On the left is day one, and on the right is day 28. I was stunned when I put them side by side. It really did throw me for a loop because I wasn’t expecting there to be such a difference with the decrease in the amount of exercising I did.
There is a specific different right below my belly button, which is where my muscles had separated. This is real progress and I’m thrilled that what I’ve been experimenting with is working.
So what have I been doing?
If you’ll remember, at the beginning of this entire process, the first thing I did was think about those muscles, how they operate, what they are supposed to be able to do, etc.
Then I went through exercises in my head that would target those muscles and here’s what I came up with to start which is what I did for days 1-13:
- Heel drops
- Bird Dogs
- Supine Hip Abduction with Band
For days 14-28:
- Heel Drops: increased reps and added in an 10# hand weight
- Bird Dogs: increased reps
- Plank Toe Taps with band: low reps as my abdominals wouldn’t hold strong for more than about 6 reps
- Cross Body Mountain Climbers: I can do about 10 solid reps on each leg.
More on the exercises in a minute.
Here are the 3 things I found out on Days 14-28:
- Mixing up tempos make a difference. On days 1-13, I focused on slow and controlled. Days 14-28, I mixed up the tempo. This means that on my heel drops I’d do 4 counts on the lowering motion, and one quick pull back up to the top. Then I would do 2 counts down and 2 counts up. Mixing it up changed the intensity.
- Plank toe Taps are harder than they look. I could do a regular plank with no issue, even with an injured abdominal muscle wall. But when I added in the step out while in a plank position… That changed everything. To be honest, I couldn’t do more than 6 reps at a time.
- Less is more. The exercises didn’t have to be done everyday and still make great progress. Less is definitely more in this instance.
Now, let’s go over the exercises I did these past few weeks.
Here is an example of what a heel drop looks like. Legs straight, feel flat, legs together, and lower your heels to the ground while keeping your core pulled in and together.
Remember, work on pulling your abdominal muscles towards each other and not just “sucking in” towards your back.
Only lower your heels as far as your abs will let you before they release from the braced position.
Once they release, the exercise, in my opinion and experience, is considered mute. It will not have done you any good. So, take it right up to the edge of those muscles releasing, and then pull your legs back up.
This round, I switched up the tempo and some days I did 4 seconds down and one quick pull to the top and other days I did 2 counts down and 2 counts to the top.
This exercise looks very unassuming, but when done properly, I assure you that you will feel it all through your abs.
Get down on the floor on all fours and put a mat underneath your knees for comfort. Make sure that your shoulders are directly over your arms and hands and your back is flat and not arch or dipped.
Engage your core by “buttoning up” your abdominal muscles just like we talked about for heel drops. Then take your right arm and reach it straight out in front of you while simultaneously reaching your left leg out behind you (pictured below). Reach that hand for the wall in front of you and push your leg away from you towards the opposite wall.
Hold for just a few seconds while breathing through this. Then come back to starting position and repeat on the opposite side, left arm/right leg.
Like I said, this exercise is very unassuming and doesn’t look like much, but it will surprise you at how you can feel it through your abs.
Here’s a quick tip –
If you are unable to keep your core engaged raising both your arm and your leg at the same time, then don’t sweat it. Do you arm only, then your leg only, and repeat for all of your limbs.
Once you get the hang of that, work up to doing both your arm and your leg at the same time, even if it’s just for a few reps at a time and as you get stronger increase your reps.
Plank Toe Taps
Band is around your ankles Come up into a plank position and step your foot out then back to center, then the other foot out and back to center. Keep your core in nice and tight.
As soon as you feel your abdominal muscles give way, then drop to your knees and rest, then go again.
If your abs are not being held solid, then the exercise, in my opinion, is considered mute. (These will also target your glutes!)
Cross Body Mountain Climbers
Putting something under the feet that will slide across the floor, come into a plank position.
Engage the core and pull the knee up to the opposite side of the chest by sliding the foot across the floor.
Return that foot to starting position and repeat with the opposite foot.
This one is crazy hard! I did ten reps each leg before my abs gave way. My goal is to increase that the next two weeks.
What about reps and sets?
The first few weeks I changed it up with different reps and sets. This time, I really focused on form and changing up the tempo, which meant changing up the reps because I wasn’t able to do as many on some.
While on others, I was able to do more.
I was able to not only increase reps on heel drops, I was able to add in a weight. For bird dogs, I was able to increase reps which is awesome, and for mountain climbers and toe taps, my reps were lower.
Like I said,
Days 14-28 were hard with the mental stuff I was working through, and to be honest, I debated on including it in this blog post, but I am sharing because I truly believe that being honest and letting other mama’s that struggle with these thoughts that they’re not alone!
Remember what I said in post 2? If you don’t, here it is again.
Failure means that you’re trying and you’ve simply found a way that didn’t work.
Alright, mama. There ya have it. That’s the update on the DR experiment. Post #4 is in the works.
If you want to know exactly when it is posted, throw in your email below, and I will not only let you know when post number three is up (which will be in the weekly Coach Amber’s Fit Mama’s newsletter on Fridays), I’ll send you my top three tips for understanding your body type to reach your goals for free.
Don’t worry, I don’t spam and I’ll keep your email safe and will never ever sell it to someone.
If you decide this journey is something you’re going to try for yourself, I’d love to hear about your progress so feel free to drop me a line and share your progress pics!