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Heal Diastasis Recti With These Proven Training Methods

Heal Diastasis Recti With These Proven Training Methods

“The pain that comes with this condition is ruining my life. I can’t remember the last time I lived a day without having to swallow pain medication. I can’t exercise anymore. I can’t have sex anymore. I can’t play with my kids. This is ridiculous. Nothing I try works to improve this. What am I supposed to do?” – an anonymous post to peertrainer.com.

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis can be considered the symptom of chronic core weakness. Just like core weakness can cause back pains, disc herniations or lead to knee, ankle, or neck pains, it can also lead to diastasis. This happens when the core’s inner unit is not effectively transferring forces; when it is not regulating intra-abdominal pressure effectively. If an excess of pressure is consistently forced into the tendinous linea alba sheath rather than balancing synergistically throughout the abdominal muscles, the forces may be great enough over time to cause a severe stretching. In theory, this can happen to anyone, but especially a pregnant mother who has a fast-growing uterus that requires her core to adapt relatively quickly, potentially stretching the connective tissue.

Who is likely to get Diastasis Recti?

There are two types of pregnant moms who are likely to incur a diastasis stretch of the linea alba. Most common is the woman who is “core amnesiac.” This means that the woman has very little core awareness before pregnancy. The under-activation of the core often means that the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and transverse abdominis do not function with the appropriate tension at the appropriate times, leaving the belly to be overly relaxed. Once pregnant, that lack of core awareness simply perpetuates, and the relaxed belly muscles relax further than they might otherwise. The vast majority of prenatal clients will fall into this category.

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The other common type of diastasis-risk prenatal client is the opposite: instead of a relaxed core, she has a tight or overactive core. This is more likely to be a fitness enthusiast, and sometimes those who have taken their love of abdominal exercises to a level that it may no longer be serving them (Pilates, for example). In this case, your client may have learned to constantly tighten her stomach, and will often be proud of her tight abs. Tight abs are great on the occasions that they should be tight, but not necessarily all the time. The diastasis occurs when this tight TVA is trying to hold back a uterus for nine months. The uterus will win.  As the uterus grows outward, it can force a stretching of the linea alba sheath, and now this “super-fit” woman is surprised to find out that she has diastasis.

Diastasis Recti Fitness Solutions

Pregnancy can often exacerbate previous symptoms or reveal musculoskeletal challenges that are likely to occur years later. This is where misalignments such as pelvic girdle pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunctions, symphysis pubis dysfunctions, sciatica, disc herniations, piriformis syndrome, and many other challenges can arise. They are all symptoms of the “stress” of pregnancy being placed atop an already faulty musculoskeletal alignment.

As a solution that will last a lifetime, have no side effects and require no surgery, a fitness professional can teach specific activations for the inner unit, primarily the diaphragm (DPH), pelvic floor (PF), and transverse abdominis (TVA).

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Getfitforbirth.com teaches the Core Breathing Belly Pump (CBBP). It is defined as, “the rhythmic inhaling and exhaling that maintains activations of the DPH, TVA and PF muscles to dynamically maintain intra-abdominal pressure so that the core may assist in stabilizing, accelerating, and decelerating any exercise.”

Effective prenatal coaching emphasizes a balance between core amnesia and the excessive all-day holding of a super-tight TVA. More specifically, it can be thought of as coaching the natural rhythmic breathing cycle of concentric TVA contraction (on the exhale) followed by an eccentric TVA contraction (on the inhale). The natural rhythmic cycle should be  predominantly powered by the diaphragm all day long, with more activation and tension during the times that are necessary (like during exercise).  Naturally, the core tension would be less aggressive during easier activities of daily life, but still needs to be coached into greater activation in most clients!

The most important aspect for closing diastasis recti is usually that the PF and TVA combine in activation so that the natural corset of the torso wraps the two sides of the rectus abdominis back together, over and over again.  A cue to both “draw in” and “wrap together” helps give your client a sense of what the intention is for the TVA.  The PF can be cued same as a conventional Kegel exercise, just now synchronizing it with the TVA wrap. In many ways, CBBP is similar to other diastasis prevention and treatment techniques, like the Tupler Technique, but is also being regarded as a simple foundational principle because it’s based on something your clients do 20-25,000 times every day: breathing.

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The most important aspect of the CBBP for long-term health and function is that your client can perform a proper diaphragmatic breath, which is unfortunately difficult for the vast majority of pregnant (or non-pregnant) clients. In brief, the first two-thirds of a “deep inhale” should notably enter the ribs, belly and back first.  It is then considered biomechanically correct for the chest and shoulders to rise in the final third of the inhale of a “deep breath,” but not before. After asking just a handful of clients to “take a deep breath,” you will start to see patterns and build your familiarity and expertise in coaching.

Conclusion

If the diaphragmatic breath is not optimal, core activation techniques like the CBBP will not likely be enough to prevent core dysfunction symptoms like diastasis recti.  In the human body, the diaphragm muscle is top of the totem pole. And in most of your clients (often nine out of ten), it will literally need to be trained, like lifting weights.

Helping your clients create a balance of diaphragmatic breathing and core-TVA activation before, during and after pregnancy will help them have optimal core strength while decreasing their chance of having abdominal separation.

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Featured photo credit: urbanbootcamp.files.wordpress.com via urbanbootcamp.files.wordpress.com

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Heal Diastasis Recti With These Proven Training Methods

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Published on October 17, 2019

How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

Day to day we all suffer. Life is hard, have you ever got to work and just stopped right in front of the stairs and just absolutely dreaded the thought of having to go up to them? By the top, you’re out of breath, uncomfortable and sweating.

So, how to build endurance fast and enhance stamina? We will look into the tips in this article.

What Is the Best Exercise for Endurance?

When faced with any exercise venture, we will always ask ourselves “What is the best way to get to our goals?”

Really it does depend. Why do I say this?

There are a lot of variables as to what form of exercise I might recommend for you. Not to worry I just won’t leave it there. I’ll give you examples that will fit for many different scenarios.

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When recommending forms of cardio for people, you have to examine many things like, how long have they been training, their age, any injuries that were diagnosed by a medical professional and just some nagging pains that they may have from overly tight muscles.

When faced with someone who is very under trained, has worked years at a desk, and hasn’t trained in decades, I would recommend a non-impact form of cardio like a bike, elliptical, row, reason being that their muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t used to bearing hundreds of pounds of impact that is caused every single time we jump, land, run. This same idea would go for someone who has any kind of arthritis in the knees, back etc.

When faced with running, and sprinting, I would recommend these modes of cardio to those clients that have experience with these forms of cardio, whether that be athletes or just casual runners; of course, assuming that they have good running technique and footwear. Without good running technique or footwear, you are bound to run into some sort of injury eventually.

Types of Cardio: LISS Vs HIIT, Which Is Better?

There are two main forms of cardio that people are familiar with or have heard of.

One of them is “LISS” which stands for low intensity steady state. This form of cardio wood be represented by a form of cardio that is not very taxing and doesn’t involve any sort of intervals. A good example would be walking on the treadmill on a slight incline and moderate paced walk that you are able to keep up for approximately an hour.

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Currently on fire, the very well known form of cardio “HIIT” which stands for high intensity interval training. This cardio is very intense and includes spurts of near maximal effort followed by a complete rest or active recovery (walking). Perfect example of a HIIT workout would be interval sprints, sprinting maximal effort for 20 seconds followed by a minute of walking (1:3 work to rest).

Now that you know what they are, you may be asking which one is better for you. And the answer is, both! Both will build your endurance and when we combine both of them into your training protocol, you will build your endurance and stamina even faster than just using one or the other!

Here’s a routine you can take reference of:

Mock Training Week (Novice Trainee)

  • Monday: HIIT sprint (1:3 work to rest) 20 min
  • Tuesday: LISS bike (slight resistance) 60 minute
  • Wednesday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if not slight incline light pace, 60 minutes
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday: HIIT row machine(1:2 work to rest) 20 minutes
  • Saturday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if on treadmill small incline, light pace
  • Sunday: OFF

*the allotted work to rest ratio will vary based on the level of physical fitness of the individual

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How to Build Your Physical Endurance

When building a customized cardio program, it is very important to know your baseline level of cardio done via fitness testing. These tests will give you a good measure from where you are starting, so you can easily measure your progress a few months down the road.

If you’re not familiar with exercising programming and really want to train efficiently and with good form, it would be a good idea to hire a Personal Trainer. The trainer will be familiar with performing these types of fitness test and can ensure they are being performed exactly the same each time to ensure accurate results. A Personal Trainer can also help you build a customized cardio program tailored to your goal of building endurance based on your current fitness levels.

How Endurance Is Actually Built

Endurance is actually built by challenging our base fitness of cardio which in turn build our Vo2 Max (most amount of oxygen we can use during exercise), which is the best measure of cardio/endurance.

In order to challenge our endurance, we must make our heart more efficient. A good measure to see if you are improving would be to do a run for 5 minutes at a certain speed on the treadmill and then measure your Heart Rate immediately after; then repeat that exact test 8 weeks down the road to measure your progress that way.

Another good way to measure our progress would be by increasing the difficulty of your workouts weekly/bi-weekly so you can see that you are progressing week to week.

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Final Thoughts

Besides the workout advice above, I suggest you combine all these following quick tips:

  • Eat healthy and unprocessed foods.
  • Challenge your cardio/endurance (train with intensity).
  • Train frequently.
  • Track your progress.
  • Get to a healthy body weight.
  • Build a good cardio program.
  • Have a goal.

Do these consistently because without sustainability, we will not see the most amount of results possible.

Great changes require consistency and hard work. Keep at it and follow your goals, results will come!

Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

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