When I went to London, I saw signs at the train station all the time that said Mind The Gap. The signs constantly reminded passengers to be careful of the gap that was between the surface they were standing on and the train because stepping into that gap could result in injury.
Over the past several weeks, I have found myself saying the same thing to several women who have an abdominal muscle separation-mind the abdominal gap. I have found that the key to closing the gap revolve around three general principles that when specifically applied to each mama, they are set on the path to recovery. Although this post is lengthy, the information is important so I didn’t want to separate it out into separate posts.
#1-Protect your gap. There are exercises (cardio, strengthening and stretching) that you may be doing that are making your gap worse. Although many people have a list of exercises that you shouldn’t do, the exercises that you shouldn’t do are specific to you. For example, with one beautiful mama I saw, doing planks wasn’t a good idea because it widened her gap, but another woman was able to do a plank, but it was a modified plank and she could only maintain it for 10 seconds without her gap being compromised. On the other hand, I saw a mama several months ago whose gap only opened if she did a burpee. Three different women who all had a gap were simply at different stages of recovery.
#2-Reconnect with your core. Your core is composed of 4 parts-your diaphragm, your deep back muscles, your deep abdominal muscles and the muscles between your hips. The connection, coordination and balance between those muscles can be negatively impacted during pregnancy, but is definitely impacted when a gap is present. Imagine that there is a railroad track running from the top to the bottom of your core and from the front to the back and that for 9 months, there is a beautiful baby sitting in the middle of the tracks. That results in decreased efficiency and effectiveness of communication so to assume that the efficiency and effectiveness will return on its own all of the time is unrealistic. Think about it. If you and your spouse had limited verbal communication and no physical connection for 9 months, you would expect that the connection would be altered at least a little bit-not on purpose, but at the minimum, due to your lack of a physical connection. Well imagine if you just pretended like you were never separated and went back to business as usual. That may work in some cases, but in most cases, catching up is important; reestablishing a connection is important. Although most women wouldn’t appreciate husbands who do that, we do that to our bodies after having a baby when we do one of two things-either avoid exercising and never try to make the reconnection or jump back into exercising at a high intensity and assume that the reconnection will take place on its own. What I am finding is that women who jump right back in have beautifully toned bodies, but their abdominal muscles remain separated because they have skipped over the mundane exercises that need to be done to reestablish their core connection.
#3-Correct your posture. Being in the right place at the right time is not only a truism for life, but for correcting your gap as well. Good posture helps your core muscles be in the proper position to work better for you.
I hope this helps. Please contact me if you have any questions. I am realizing that more moms have a gap than I was aware of. Please share this with any moms that you know who have abdominal separation.