It has been a week since I started wearing an ab splint and doing the corrective exercises, as part of the Tupler Technique to help close the gap of my diastasis recti. After being asked a few weeks ago if I was expecting again due to my “mommy pooch,” I was ready to try anything to help shrink my tummy and bring it back to where it was pre-pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I want to have my flat tummy again, but I also want to correct it so I don’t develop other issues down the road such as lower back pain, my organs protruding out or being at risk for developing a hernia.
So, how did this past week go of binding my abs? I have been wearing the splint as much as I can during the day and night. I wear it while I sleep, take it off when I workout and put it back on after I get ready for the day. It’s definitely not the most comfortable thing to wear, especially wearing it when it is 90 degrees outside! The splint makes me even warmer and my sweat combined with the non-breathable fabric makes my skin itchy. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how much longer I can wear it, but I’m going to aim to wear it for at least one more week.
In addition to the splint, I’ve been doing the corrective exercises at the end of all of my workouts and refraining from traditional ab exercises (sit-ups, v-ups, hollow rocks, etc). The corrective exercises don’t seem that difficult, but they are very different than what I’m used to in regards to doing ab exercises. They are all about breathing and pulling your belly button to your spine to work your transverse abdominal muscles to ultimately close your gap.
Here are the exercises that I’ve been doing, as part of the Tupler Technique after reading Julie Tupler’s book, “Lose Your Mummy Tummy.”
1. Standing Pelvic Tilts: Stand hip width a part, bending your knees and resting your hands, arms and upper body on your thighs above your knees (making sure your back is flat). Tilt or curl your hips toward your belly button and hold for 5 seconds and bring your hips back to your starting position, making sure to not move your upper body. Do at least 3 sets of 10.
2. Pelvic Tilts On All Fours: Get on your hands and knees, making sure you back is flat. Like the standing pelvic tilts, pull your hips to your belly button and hold for 5-10 seconds, and bring them back to your starting position, making sure to not move your upper body. Do at least 3 sets of 10.
3. Elevators: Sit in a chair or on the floor with your back flat against the wall. Put both hands flat on your stomach and take a belly breath as Tupler describes (breathing out through your nose as your belly expands and breathing in through your nose as your belly comes back towards your spine), and pull your belly button towards your spine and hold it there for 30 seconds. Bring your belly even further back toward your spine and do 5 squeezes or pulses (as 1 repetition). Tupler says to do at least 10 sets of these, but due to time, I’ve only been doing 3 sets of 10.
4. Contractions: Sit in a chair or on the floor with your back flat against the wall. Put one hand above and one hand below your belly. Take a belly breath and bring your belly towards your spine to a neutral belly position (Tupler describes this as the third floor). Next, bring your belly even further back towards your spine (to the 5th floor), which is one rep. Tupler recommends doing five sets of 100 throughout the day, but I’ve only been able to do one set if I’m lucky (more like 25-35 reps!).
5. Headlifts: Lay down with your feet flat on the floor close to your butt. Wrap an exercise band or scarf around your diastasis as a makeshift splint. Take a belly breath and bring your belly button to the third floor and then bring it even further back to the 5th floor while squeezing the band or scarf (bringing your tummy muscles together) and lifting only your head. Lower your head down while still squeezing the band and bringing your belly all the way to the back of your spine. I aim to do at least 3 sets of 10.
Even though it has only been one week, I can already see a slight difference in my abs. I haven’t closed the gap yet, but I think my tummy looks flatter and more toned…
I’m definitely going to continue doing the exercises and aim to wear the splint at least another week before testing my diastasis again to see how much it improved. The splint helps bring the muscles closer together to repair, but I’m sure you could close the gap by just doing the exercises, though it would probably take a lot longer. I’ll continue to keep you posted on my progress!
Have a great weekend!
Have you had diastasis recti? If so, how did you correct it?
Have you worn an ab splint or tummy binder after your pregnancy? Did it help?