How to Excercise Abs with Abdominal Muscle Separation

Updated on September 18, 2009
K.V. asks from Dundee, IL
5 answers

I know I have seen answers to this question I am about to ask, however I couldn't find it in the archives. During my last pregnancy I had a belly button hernia and the surgeon said that he wouldn't do any type of surgery until after I was done having children (and I'm not sure we are there yet). My little one is 4 months old and I noticed I have the separation in my abdominal wall that some women get during pregnancy. I was wondering if this ever goes away? I was also wondering what type of excercises are best to do when you have this. The hernia doesn't bother me perse' however (and I know this sounds gross) I just push it back in when it starts to push out. I am hoping there is an excercise I can do to help strengthen those muscles back so the hernia doesn't come out anymore. We have a gym in our lower level so I have access to whatever equipment I need, if anyone has suggestions. I am back to my prepregnancy weight and have been for about 1 month now. I eat right and am active (no crazy dieting or crazy excercise, just blessed with a great metabolism). I only gained 30lbs during pregnancy and everything was very healthy. Thank you in advance for the suggestions.

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answers from Chicago on

Pick up a copy of "Lose your Mummy Tummy" by Lisa Tupler (sure about the last name, not 100% sure on the first name). This book is great and it specifically addresses exercising with abdominial separation. You can get it off

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answers from Chicago on

I own a fitness company that specializes in prenatal and postpartum fitness and particularly diastasis and poor-posture that results in "mommy-tummy". We offer a 6-week workshop/workout that teaches the proper exercises to rectify this problem. You can see our current and upcoming classes at
The most important thing is what NOT to do. Most damage is done by everyday activity. Don't sit straight up from a laying position, instead, turn to your side and push yourself up with your hands. Don't pick things up from the floor by bending from the waist and especially not twisting, instead, squat down, pull your abdominals in hard and face it straight on. (many moms pick infant carriers up from the side with one arm, which is a big problem).
You also do not want to do traditional abdominal exercises and especially obliques until the separation is down to 1-2 fingers (this should be checked by an expert, i.e. OB, women's health exercise physiologist or physical therapist).
To get started, you will want to strengthen the transverse abdominal muscles. This is done most effectively by also stretching the chest muscles and hamstring muscles (back of the leg). The transverse muscles can be worked by doing "cat & cow" or by sitting (with knees slightly bent) up straight and squeezing the belly-button into the lower back tightly and releasing it alternately. This exercise is even more effective when done sitting on a resistance ball. This should be done for a couple of weeks throughout the day before moving on to new exercises.
If you would like additional information, feel free to contact me directly. As I said earlier, the class takes 6-weeks, so there is a LOT of information. This has been my career's work and we have 100's of moms who have had amazing results. We're in the production process for launching a video, but it won't be out for at least a few months.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have a workout that actually does not require situps. I have not done this but a friend of mine did. She was pretty happy with the results, especially since she lost over 40 pounds following this workout. I can email it to you if you like, just send me your address. It is too long to attach to this area. It is a walking workout with other things mixed in so if you have a treadmill, you could try it out.



answers from Chicago on

I am a prenatal/postnatal trainer and I am the only one in the Chicagoland area (actually the entire state) to be trained in the Tupler Technique and Diastasis Rehab. Someone mentioned the book "Lose Your Mummy Tummy" by Julie Tupler - that is what I am certified in. She is considered the world's foremost authority on split abdominal muscles.

Crunches are terrible for a postpartum women's body. They create a foreward forceful motion which can separate the abdominal muscles further.

The Tupler Technique exercises can be found in the book mentioned above or the DVD. The website is

I teach "Mommy Tummy" classes in Oswego and Orland Park Park Districts and also train privately everywhere in the Chicagoland area.

I have helped women that were deemed "needed surgery" to repair these muscles close them COMPLETELY, not just clinically, so they were totally fused together. And it took 8 weeks.

Wearing a splint can be immensely helpful to approximate the muscles.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
Along with your exercise program may I offer you an opportunity to look at a reshaping garment that offers the ability to hold your stomach muscles in place as if you were performing sit-ups. In addition, it actually repositions your organs as it gently massage them into place.

Please check out the website and see the video. It really works. I have worn the garment for over 4 months, lost 12 pounds and one dress size.

Please view and you can see a product that really works. Other benefits including back support and uplifting the derriere.

Let's talk after you view the benefits. I can be reached at ###-###-####.

You will enjoy the product.

Thank you,

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