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7 exercises for diastasis that help tone the abdominal muscles

You must have heard of diastasis around here. But do you know what it is? Common in women during and after pregnancy, the pathological removal of the abdominal muscles can generate sagging, back pain and even hernias in more severe cases. Next, specialist physiotherapists Nayanne Pereira (CREFITO: 240917-F), Júlia Borges (CREFITO: 133206-F) and Roberta Lianza (CREFITO: 108605-F) give a class on the subject and tell you which are the most indicated. Check out!

what is diastasis

According to physiotherapists, diastasis is characterized by the removal of the rectus abdominis muscle. This separation of muscle bands can be physiological or pathological. The professional Júlia explains that “physiological diastasis is one in which the space between the abdominal muscles is up to 2 centimeters and, in this case, there is no harm to the person’s health and abdominal aesthetics”. Regarding the pathological aspect, physical therapist Nayanne says that “diastasis with a width greater than 3 centimeters is harmful” and needs to be treated.

Specialist Roberta reports that diastasis “occurs when we have increased internal abdominal pressure” which can be caused by several factors, such as intense physical exercise, abdominal distension in overweight cases and during pregnancy, which makes it more common in women. . However, the professionals emphasize that, in the gestational period, this condition is physiological and momentary. “The removal of the rectus abdominis muscles is something natural in pregnancy, precisely for the growth and development of the baby to occur”, says physical therapist Roberta, who is complemented by Júlia, “all women during pregnancy will have diastasis, there is no way avoid, it is physiological”

In turn, professional Nayanne explains that “after childbirth, the abdominal muscles take about six weeks to return to the correct position”. Therefore, any woman who is going through the postpartum phase will have some degree of diastasis. Also according to the professional, “there is a limit to this distance, which when exceeded can cause dysfunctions”, for example, abdominal muscle weakness, change in tone, back pain and pelvic floor overload.

Abdominal muscle distancing is divided into 4 types: “supraumbilical diastasis, which is above the navel; umbilical diastasis, which is the space that forms in the navel region; infraumbilical diastasis, which is located below the umbilicus; and total diastasis, which is characterized by the total vertical separation of the abdominal muscles”, explains Roberta.

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When it comes to abdominal appearance, professional Nayanne says that depending on the type of separation “the abdomen can become more globular and with a vertical protrusion”. In turn, Júlia says that the separation of the muscles, which forms “an abdominal hole, can also appear in the shape of a cone in the middle of the belly”.

If you’re wondering about prevention and treatment, it’s time to jot down some great tips. To prevent this, Júlia explains the benefits of the LPF (Low Pressure Fitness) technique: “the hypopressive will decrease intra-abdominal pressure and increase the tone of the deep muscles, especially the transversus abdominis, which is our natural belt”. As for pregnant women, Nayanne states that “pelvic physiotherapy is indicated during pregnancy to prevent pathological abdominal diastasis after delivery”.

Regarding treatment, experts agree that physical therapy is the most appropriate method. According to Nayanne, “the proposed treatment will be designed according to the needs of each patient, and a well-done assessment by a professional specialized in this area is essential, but may include muscle activation exercises, hypopressives and excitomotor currents”.

Physical therapist Júlia cites as an example the technique of Deep Activation Breathing (RAP), which “teaches you how to activate the deep muscles, so that the person can do any other physical activity safely”. However, it is worth emphasizing the importance of professional follow-up, because, depending on the degree of spacing of the muscles, it may be necessary to perform a surgery to close the diastasis.

Another very important factor is attention at the time of diagnosis, since it can only occur in people who are not pregnant or have passed the postpartum recovery period. “Many pregnant women end up evaluating themselves during pregnancy and have a wrong diagnosis of diastasis”, says Roberta.

7 exercises for diastasis

If you want to start some practice to improve your muscle tone, in order to prevent withdrawal or even close it, you will love the exercises indicated by physical therapists. Still, it is important that you look for a qualified professional to follow up on your case and instruct you on the best methods that will help you in this process.

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side plank

Lie on the floor on your side. Support your body on your forearm, with your elbow in line with your shoulder, keep your feet on top of each other and your spine straight and stretched. Raise your body so that it’s supported only on your forearm and feet, then stretch your arm up, or if you can’t, place your hand on your hip. Remain without moving for at least 30 seconds, increasing the time according to your evolution.

hypopressive on the wall

With your knees slightly bent, as if you were going to sit down, and your feet shoulder-width apart, lean your back against a wall. Try to keep your shoulders and arms flat against the wall and your head up. Slowly draw in air through your nose, and as you exhale through your mouth, contract your abdominal muscles, even the deepest ones, making your belly very hard and bringing your lower back as close to the wall as possible. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.


Lie on the floor supporting your hips, back, arms and head comfortably. Bend your knees, keeping your feet parallel to your hips, planted on the floor and facing forward. Raise your hips towards the ceiling, inhaling deeply, and come down exhaling and contracting your abdomen. Repeat for 10 times.

Hypopressive Hestia Posture

Sitting with your legs crossed and your spine straight, place your fists on your knees, keeping your elbows semi-flexed and your chin slightly down. She inhales and breathes deeply 3 times. After the third exhalation, pause for breath and contract your abdominal muscles.

Hypopressive Venus Posture

Standing with your feet parallel to your hips and knees semi-flexed, keep your spine straight as if you were pushing something up with the top of your head. Slightly move your arms away from your body, leaving them extended, then inhale and breathe deeply 3 times. After the third exhalation, pause for breath and contract your abdominal muscles.

Lower abdominal

Lie on the floor on your back. Keep your spine, shoulders, and head in line, and your arms at your sides. With legs bent, raise your knee towards your head, taking your hips off the floor, and slowly lower your legs. It is recommended to do 3 sets with 10 repetitions. In addition, it is important to know that this exercise is more suitable for the prevention of diastasis.

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Lie on the floor on your stomach. Support your body on your forearm and align your elbows with your shoulders. With the balls of your feet on the floor also in line with your shoulders, lift your body, lifting your knees off the floor and lifting your hips so that they are straight like a plank. Contract your abs and remain in this position for 30 seconds.

Regarding the exercises, Nayanne explains that it does not take a large amount to recover diastasis, “the important thing is that it is performed correctly, deeply activating all the muscles that involve the abdomen, including the lower back, and not performing exercises that increase the intra-abdominal pressure”. In addition, the professional warns that it is important to be extremely careful during the plank exercise, since this position leaves “the weight of all the viscera on the abdomen”, which can worsen the condition in some people.

Finally, Júlia clarifies that although physical therapy helps to reduce abdominal circumference and improve the appearance of the belly in general, it is not just an aesthetic issue. “Physiotherapy works in the recovery of strength and tone, restoring muscle function, avoiding possible dysfunctions, such as urinary incontinence and back pain, and directly contributing to the quality of life of women”, concludes the professional.

To succeed in treating diastasis, it is essential to seek a specialized professional to evaluate your case. However, if you are willing to prevent the loss of muscle tone and have quality of life, check out this full article about the benefits and curiosities of Pilates!

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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