I met a lovely woman this week. Well sort of ‘met’. Alysa Bajenaru is a Registered Dietitian and qualified personal trainer, Blogger at InspiredRD.com + Mom from Arizona, USA who wrote a post about  Diastasis Recti and her quest to find good information on what to do about it.  Her post went viral on Pinterest and was flooded with comments and questions.

So she asked me to help answer them. The result was an interview over Skype (I’m in Cornwall, UK… so meeting for coffee unfortunately wasn’t an option) which we filmed and you can watch below. The interview is divided into 3 sections for easier viewing and I have included a timeline to help you jump to the questions you’re particularly interested in if you want to.

Alysa’s update blog post including the interview is here.

Part 1

Introduction to me, my credentials and background, plus Alysa talks about her personal situation and the blog post that inspired the interview!

2.45 Alysa asks: What is diastasis recti, how does it happen and how do you know if you have it?

4.45 Alysa asks How common is diastasis recti? Is it normal and how big a gap is normal?

6.30 Alysa asks: Why does it matter? Apart form aesthetics and a tummy that protrudes, what are the implications of diastasis recti for the rest of your body function?

My answer here is particularly important as it explains the root cause of diastasis: excessive intra abdominal pressure, and discusses the lack of ‘connection’ that results in frustration for many women not seeing results form their ab exercise program.

Part 2

Alysa asks: What would you say to those women whose kids are not babies anymore? Is it ever too late to fix, or can you be ‘beyond hope’?

Wendy clarifies what will happen naturally in terms of closure and healing. What we can do to re-train and narrow the gap after that.

2.00 Alysa asks: So how do we fix it? Wendy reveals the vital first steps you must take in shifting whole body alignment and reversing intra abdominal pressure before any ab exercises are going to work

3.49… What to do contd: Why ‘sucking in your stomach’ is not engaging your core muscles, and what is.

5.42 How to engage your transverse abdominis muscle and common pitfalls

6.33 Alysa asks what sort of exercises are included in MUTU System programs. I explain why she doesn’t recommend hundreds of repetitions of any ab exercise and an explanation of her emphasis on truly functional exercise for Moms.

8.35 Alysa agrees – that she wants to run and do circuits and other workouts, not just do ‘engage my transverse exercises’. Why she likes the idea of whole body functional exercise, using the transverse correctly engaged instead.

9.23 Alysa asks: What shouldn’t we do? I’ve read we can’t do crunches – why not? What about planks?

I explain not only what not to do, but how to know if you shouldn’t be doing it if you’re not sure!

10.53 Alysa asks: When can I go back to doing those more traditional exercises? How will I know when I’m ready?

I talk crunches, how to get a flat stomach and how to test yourself and know when you’re ready to move forward. How to test for abdominal midline stability and strength as well as the width of the gap.

Part 3

0.40 What about people who have asked about hernia? What exercises should they do? Is this a related problem?

2.10 Alysa asks: Is there a point at which only surgery is going to fix this?

3.50 Alysa: Some programs ask you to use a towel, or a binder or splint to ‘pull the muscles back together’. Should I do that? Does it help?

I discuss the key differences and between MUTU System and other programs that use occasional or constant splinting.

6.50 Alysa asks: So I want a strong core, a strong back, I want to do lots of workouts and I want a stomach that looks good… now we’re so much better informed, where do we start?

I finish with a checklist of alignment tips, exercises and strategies to start putting your middle back where you want it!