Thursday, August 20, 2015

Running with Diastasis

Q. Can I run if I have diastasis?

A. There are a lot of women concerned about this. Truth is... running doesn't actually put a lot of outward pressure on the linea alba. Gravitational forces are going downward not forward. There is a little (and I mean little) bit of twisting motion. It's not going to make a separation worse, but may make it difficult to heal if your core is fairly weak.  In that case...take a break temporarily.  When you are working on shortening the diastasis with exercises/splinting, it is best to wait to run until you've reconditioned your core (about 6 weeks).   Often times women are dealing with other core weakness issues postpartum and should wait to run until the core is strengthened and stabilized.   If you have a big belly (greater than 5 months pregnant) there will be a little more outward pressure on the linea alba while running because there is pressure from the growing belly. If you wear a support however, that can greatly reduce any outward and downward stress/pressure.

Pregnant mom wearing the FITsplint while running

Here is a chart to help guide you......


less than 5 mths pregnant RUN FREE, do diastasis safe core exercises also
greater than 5 or 6 mths pregnant RUN with splint/support, continue diastasis safe core exercises
less than 3 mths postpartum RUN with caution, wear a splint/support run only after re-strengthen/stabilizing your core. 
greater than 3 mths postpartum RUN FREE after re-strengthening/stabilizing your core and have functional or resolved diastasis.
Copyright 2015 MomBod Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved.

Running is great exercise and safe with functional diastasis or ab separation as long as you are not dealing with any other issues/injuries.

Please see a health professional if you are dealing with prolapse symptoms, pelvic or hip pain or other injuries.

Happy Running! 

Join me on Facebook or Twitter!

Celeste Goodson is an ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist, Pre/ Post Natal Trainer, certified to train those with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions.  Celeste has a B.S. in Fitness and Wellness and has worked in physical therapy, cardiac rehab, and numerous fitness settings for over 15 years, exclusively training post natal women for the last 5 years.  Celeste has designed the ReCORE Program™  and the Maternity and Post-Natal FITsplint™  to help moms strengthen, support and splint the core during and after pregnancy for a more effective recovery. Celeste is a Boston Marathon qualifier, enjoys being outdoors and being with the family and friends.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mom with twins, c-section & diastasis

This mom is a GREAT example of what can happen when you proactively take care of the 4 weakness issues within the first few months postpartum. The fascia responds best to splinting and corrective exercise within the first several months post (this doesn't mean it won't respond just will be slower or the fascia may not respond, only the muscles will)

This mom had a c-section with her twins. She has 2 older children. She had a very large diastasis. She measured 5 1/4" at the belly button, 5 below and 4 above. Fascia was very lax. We started ReCORE at 4 weeks post with her OBGYN permission. She started using the FITsplint as well and was very consistent with wearing it (8 hrs a day and while sleeping for 6 weeks. I do not recommend 24/7).  After ReCORE, she was closed above the belly button, 2 1/2" at the belly button and closed below! The fascia was much tighter.

*Sometimes I see clients diastasis improve, but only because the muscles just engage closer together, which means they have functional diastasis (this is the goal if fascia doesn't respond). The ones that I train immediately postpartum I see the fascia respond well.

This moms fascia actually tightened up from a 5 to closed on top and bottom and just over 2 around the belly button!

My goal with ReCORE is for moms to:
1)Close the separation until the tissue doesn't respond (shorten any more)
2)Get the inner core unit activated and coordinated with pelvic floor, TVA and breathing
3)Teach proper form/alignment
4)Progressively strengthen the inner and outer core (improve INNER CORE STRENGTH TEST)
5)Understand how/when to move on to other core exercise with CORE EXERCISE GUIDELINES

Before ReCORE and FITsplint™ 
4, 5.25, 5    - Fingerwidth Separation   
37.5", 38"    -Waist measurements

Before ReCORE, 4 weeks post c-section,  stomach relaxed
AFTER ReCORE and FITsplint™ 
Closed, 2.5, Closed    - Fingerwidth Separation   
33.5", 34.5"               -Waist measurements
After ReCORE and FITsplint, 10 weeks post c-section, stomach relaxed

P.S. -I stress for women to relax the belly when taking every picture. 

In Her Words:
"After I had my twins (boys #3 & 4) I was extremely stretched out.  The babies were over 12 pounds together and to top it off I had an emergency C-section.  I was very bothered by the way my stomach was still sticking out after a month, but even more than that, my back hurt all the time.  I had been wearing an abdominal binder since delivery, but it wasn't helping.  I found Celeste through a friend who also has twins and got started on the ReCORE program at 4 weeks post partum.  At my first consultation I was so separated and weak that I couldn't feel anything when I tried to engage my abs and I could fit my whole fist between the muscles.  I wore the FITsplint all the time and fit sets of the exercises in between feedings and within a few days I could feel things starting to wake up.  I saw results almost immediately and that kept me motivated to keep it up.  Just having defined sets of exercise made it seem doable, even with the constant care needed by colicky twins.  After finishing the program, my abs are closing up very well and my back doesn't ache all the time, even when I have to hold my two little chunky babies a lot.  I'm so excited to get back to my routine and know that I have the knowledge I'll need to keep getting stronger instead of doing exercises that could make things worse.  I recommend ReCORE to all my friends who are pregnant or have lingering separation." Bethany, TN

I wish I could shout from the rooftops how important it is to address Diastasis Recti fairly soon after delivery, preferably within 6 months post. Waiting a year to see what happens or to be done breastfeeding is not recommended.  Even with small separations (fascia is vulnerable to stretching further postpartum).Women don't have to do it all in 6 weeks. Women can take it at a slower pace. Progress is progress. However getting the inner core activated, strong and stable before returning to typical exercise is just as important. It will greatly reduce the chance of moms dealing with low back pain/injuries, stress fractures, hip instability, stress incontinence etc. The fascia wants to heal. Give it the best environment with splinting and corrective/progressive exercise like ReCORE before going back to typical exercise. Your body will thank you.

See for more resources, Celeste's BIO and info on ReCORE & FITsplint

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What #mombod stands for

I've seen the #dadbod trending hashtag…wow its everywhere. I get it, men don't have to be a supermodel to be attractive. Dads have a lot more on their mind than working out for 8 hours. But lets face it, the trend has gone too far. Celebrating laziness and the beer belly, really?

Why does America have to take everything to the extreme?

Oh..wait, I do know. Its the only way to get attention.

Now everyone is asking, when is #mombod going to be a thing? It has been! Although its not celebrating laziness and obesity.

It's all a matter of what one's goals are.

So as the owner of MomBod Fitness, here is what #mombod stands for. It's not laziness. It's not about being skinny. It's not about looking perfect. It's about being real. Its about core strength, stability and function. If you've been a mom, you know the big hit the core takes. Diastasis is just one common inner core weakness postpartum. (its why I developed ReCORE)
-P.S. - Typical gym core exercises will NOT get your inner core strength back

You can have a strong core without a six pack or being skinny.

It's what matters if you want to enjoy life pain free.  Its about being strong. Its about being you, not someone else. Its about accepting stretch marks.

Celeste Goodson has worked in health and fitness settings for over 15 years as well as physical therapy and cardiac rehab. She has worked exclusively with pre and post natal moms for the last 4 years with ReCORE. She developed ReCORE after realizing women can benefit from proper screening, testing, rebuilding and guidelines before returning to typical exercise. Celeste dealt with several core weaknesses herself after her 2nd & 3rd and was incorrectly told surgery was her only option. Celeste now has functional ab separation but can do any core exercise. She is an avid runner as well. READ MORE HERE.  She has now trained 100's of women one-on-one postpartum and has helped many close their separation or get the diastasis to functioning status with more proactive reconditioning and guidelines to move past diastasis. WILL MY DIASTASIS CLOSE? Celeste has a B.S. if Fitness and Wellness, is an ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist certified to train Pre and Post Natal women as well as those with musculokeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can my Diastasis Recti close all the way?

Common question. Complicated answer. First off,  there is hope! But if someone is promising you that your D.R will close all the way, please find another health professional that won't guarantee something they can't.

What is Diastasis Recti or DR? Simply put, it is stretching (not a separation) of the linea alba between the rectus abdominus muscles,  2-3 finger widths or more apart.

Illustration of Diastasis Recti

What is a normal width?  The linea alba in a normal adult is about 1/2 to 1 finger width, although this can vary a little. The linea alba is also normally tight instead of lax.

So can my diastasis close all the way? 
Simple answer:
Possibly and….it probably will get close enough to not need surgery.
Long Answer:
While I specifically help women strengthen their core after pregnancy and work with many that have  diastasis recti, this really shouldn't be the ultimate goal. Why? Because there are many other factors and variables to healing and measuring diastasis recti.  While some can "close it," some will not and do not need to. Yes, it is true.

DIASTASIS RECTI does not have to close all the way to restore core strength, stability and function.

So this means I don't need to address my DR, I can just do any core exercise? No, it means we need to stop obsessing over getting it closed ALL the way and focus on restoring core function, strength and stability. Waiting for it to heal naturally, meaning do nothing, is very slow, risky and unproductive. Research has shown that being proactive makes a difference in tissue response.

Research by Diane Lee has demonstrated that core function can be restored without a separation closing all the way. I have also seen this with some of my clients over the last 5 years and I have experienced it myself.  DR may not close completely, but with progressive core exercise it can improve and "close" when the core engages. I along with many of my clients can perform any core exercise safely without risk of the linea alba stretching out further. From my experience, most women can get it to a 2 or less with proper exercise progression and splinting. No one knows how your connective tissue will respond. Give your tissue the best chance possible to heal. Muscle, tissue, breathing, alignment, genetics and hormones are all involved in the process. Muscles coordination can improve, strengthen and engage properly to help protect or improve any laxity in the linea alba.  

1-Gradual progressive inner/outer core exercises
2-Splinting (recommended if within 3 months post-partum or have a separation 2 fingerwidths or more)
4-Avoiding contraindicated exercise (temporarily)

Gradual progressive core exercise is key. Building inner and outer core coordination and strength progressively is important in order to help increase blood flow, strengthen fibers and load the tissue.  Too many moms are just doing basic transverse abdominal  (TVA) exercises over and over and while it is helpful, it isn't enough to stimulate change in muscle or tissue length and strength. So while they see some improvement, they don't restrengthen the core enough to engage well during exercise, putting them at risk for DR to return. Many also jump from basic TVA exercises to difficult core exercises such as plank variations or full push-ups before the core is strong enough to handle that exercise resulting in poor form or risk of further separation. Gradual strength progression is key.

Timing - Connective tissue has a remodeling phase and while this can last from one month or many months, it begins within a few weeks post pregnancy. While pregnancy is different than a quick onset injury, it is still somewhat similar. Tissue is trying to remodel whether the separation is minimal or large. Regardless of a degree of separation, the linea alba is vulnerable and weak postpartum. Yes, hormones from pregnancy and breastfeeding are present postpartum, but it doesn't mean strengthening can't happen. This is the time to restore core coordination and strength before returning to more vigorous exercise.

Splinting - While I do not require my clients to splint, splinting does help speed the healing process. I do recommend it for my post-natal clients (within 3 months) regardless of separation.  It can help align, protect, support and load the tissue.  *Splinting for up to 4-6 weeks is recommended while doing progressive core exercises. Most can get it their separation to a 2 or below in that time, stop splinting, and continue strengthen their core and move on to more challenging core exercises.
*Not all splints or binders are created equal and yes, some are harmful (corsets)

Sometimes the tissue doesn't actually tighten, but the muscles learn to engage well, making a separation appear"smaller". This isn't a bad thing! Core activation, coordination and strength can improve and minimize a separation temporarily the when core is engaged. This protects the core when more difficult exercises are performed.

So I don't have to have exercise restrictions the rest of my life? Right! As long as you can first:
1) minimize abdominal separation
2) re-establish core coordination
3) engage core well
4) improve core strength gradually
4) maintain proper form
YES! The majority of moms that recondition their core properly even with some abdominal separation can move on to other core exercises safely. I know there are some cases that need surgery, but I have yet to work with a client that could not move on to more challenging exercises or that needed surgery to restore function.

Is it too late? No, it really isn't ever too late to reconditioning the core. While there are ideal times for proper healing, strengthening can still take place with the connective tissue when given the right environment. Muscle will respond the fastest and help engage and protect the tissue. Tissue may respond slower, but it just may respond.

It's not all about DR postpartum. While DR seems to be the big weakness issue, it really is only one of several postpartum. These other weakness issues are just as important.

Instead of making your goal to close it ALL the way, give it your best shot, but realize that the finger width isn't the most important data. Make the goal to restore core activation, coordination, strength, stability and function so you can regain your life and move on to your favorite sports or exercise.  While a diagnosis of DR is scary at first, it doesn't have to be once it is understood.

Join me on Facebook or Twitter!

Celeste Goodson is an ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist, Pre/ Post Natal Trainer, certified to train those with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and metabolic conditions.  Celeste has a B.S. in Fitness and Wellness and has worked in physical therapy, cardiac rehab, and numerous fitness settings for over 15 years, exclusively training post natal women for the last 5 years.  Celeste has designed the ReCORE Program™  and the Maternity and Post-Natal FITsplint™  to help moms strengthen, support and splint the core during and after pregnancy for a more effective recovery. Celeste enjoys running, being outdoors with the family.


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