Are you looking for a way to lose your "Mummy Tummy?" Childbirth can take a toll on the abdominal muscles, sometimes causing the frontal abdominal muscles to separate. The clinical name for this condition is diastis recti. It occurs when the connective tissue joining the frontal abdominal muscles becomes stretched out, allowing the muscles to go their own separate ways. The Tupler Technique is an exercise regimen designed to join the muscles back together.
About Diastis Recti
Diastis recti is common. According to the January 2013 Journal of Women's Health Therapy, it occurs in 60 percent of postpartum women, and while some cases resolve themselves, many persist if not treated. The resulting weakness in the muscle wall can cause problems with posture, allow internal organs to protrude outward and influence their functions. It can also bring risk of back problems and injury. The condition is sometimes corrected surgically with abdominoplasty, otherwise known as a "tummy tuck."
However, it's possible to avoid surgery. The Tupler Technique was developed by Julie Tupler, a registered nurse and certified personal trainer, to provide a non-surgical alternative to treating the condition. The technique involves a progressive series of transverse abdominus contractions, which is regarded as the most effective way to treat diastis recti.
The Basics Behind the Tupler Technique
The Tupler Technique focuses on healing and re-positioning the connective tissue so that the muscles can rejoin. The healing process involves wearing a splint to draw the muscles back together and to facilitate their healing. You should also avoid sporting activities or exercises other than walking or light jogging for the first six weeks to give time for the abdominal muscles to heal.
After the initial healing period, exercises to strengthen the abdomen are introduced. They focus particularly on the transverse abdominus (TA). The deepest muscle in the abdominal wall, the TA wraps around the inner lower abdominal area like a waistband, holding in internal organs and playing a crucial role in core stability and balanced gait. The Tupler Technique emphasizes body awareness to avoid stressing the connective tissue and reducing the risk of occurrence.
The Tupler Technique can be self-administered, but it is also taught by certified trainers and online seminars.
Thinking of your transverse muscle -- which wraps around your waist like a lapband, girding your internal organs, as an elevator that runs sideways, with the navel as the engine -- may help you do this exercise more effectively.
How to Do It: Sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor with your back to the wall and your shoulders aligned with your hips. Place your hands flat on your stomach. Inhale deeply through the nose, expanding your stomach. Then draw navel deeply toward the lower spine. Hold for 30 counts, continuing to breathe and draw navel in further. Squeeze stomach in lightly five times. End with a full, deep breath. Do 10 sets every day.
Childbirth contractions are involuntary and painful, but this exercise helps you take control of your abdominal muscles so you can alleviate some of the discomfort.
How to Do It: Seated against a wall or chair with your back against a vertical surface, place one hand above your navel and under your ribs and one hand below your navel. Expand your stomach and then draw your navel in toward your spine halfway. Work up to 100 repetitions five times a day.
- Physiotherapy: Effects of exercise on diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscle in the antenatal and postnatal periods: a systematic review
- Journal of Women's Health Physiotherapy: Diastis Recti Abdmoninus
- Tupler Technique: What Is the Tupler Technique
- Lose Your Mummy Tummy, by Julie Tupler and Jodie Gould