Before discussing this condition, it is crucial to have a good understanding of the structure of the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall often referred to as the core is comprised of the following muscles. Starting from the most superficial layer, we have the rectus abdominis ( commonly described as the six pack), the internal, external obliques and the transverse abdominis.
All these muscle have different origins and insertions but they all attach to the linea alba which is the white fibrous tissue that runs vertically down the midline and splits the rectus abdominis into two halves. This fibrous band is key in keeping the abdominal muscles in place.
What causes abdominal separation ?
This phenomenon mainly occurs during pregnancy. It can occur in infants and men but at a much lower occurrence.
The main cause for a pregnant woman is the pressure the expanding baby exerts on the abdominal wall. The connective tissue expands to allow for the growth of the baby and the abdominals split. This is normal and happens in about two out of three pregnancies.
The following factors increase the risk of abdominal separation
• Pregnancies after 35
• Multiple pregnancies
• Twins +
• Weak abdominals prior to pregnancy
This separation weakens the abdominals and reduce their effectiveness at providing support and protection to the internal organs. This can sometimes lead to some of the following:
• Weak bladder
• Lower back pain
• Hernia (when an organ breaks through the connective tissue and gets exposed)
How to improve the condition
The objective is to bring the two sides of the abdominal back together. This is done by focusing on the innermost layer of the abdominals, the transverse abdominis. This corset like muscle will tighten the waist and reduce the gap.
Tyre following two cues are great in helping us connect with this deep layer
2. Drawing the abdominals in towards the spine
Exercises such as the vacuum that really try to tighten the waist while engaging the deepest core muscles are most beneficial.
We want to avoid direct stimulation of the rectus abdominis at this stage. Working them in this compromised state might make the situation worse. Avoid any exercises that allow the belly to bulge and push out. Exercises such as curl ups.
With these considerations in mind, you should be able to accommodate clients with this condition quite easily. Keep the waist small and remain in control of the midsection all the time. Working on the obliques is also a great way to challenge the core without putting too much pressure on the rectus abdominis.