Diastasis Detective Program

Module 1: Intro

Step 2 = “Re-align”

Welcome to Step 2 of the ‘7 Steps to Fixing Abdominal Separation’ online instructor program.

Alignment is a step NOT to be missed in the rehabilitation process of fixing diastasis recti and this is where we dig deeper into the full-body approach, which is also why it’s number 2 in the 7-Step ‘Breathe’ Principle™.

Webinar 2 – Breathe Principle – Step 2 – Align

PASSWORD TO VIEW = breathe

WHY FIXING DIASTASIS RECTI IS A WHOLE-BODY APPROACH

When fixing diastasis recti, we need to move away from spot-reducing.

It’s essential that we go south of the pubis and north of the rib cage in our efforts to fully and correctly rehabilitate someone with abdominal separation.

You’ve already learned that:

  • there are a number of factors that attribute to diastasis recti
  • diastasis recti doesn’t just suddenly happen – it occurs gradually, over time
  • it’s not all about the abdominals – there are other elements at play
  • being pregnant can attribute, but pregnancy is not the only root cause
  • breathing optimally is the first step in the equation
  • diastasis recti is totally fixable without surgery

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALIGNMENT AND POSTURE

Posture is how something looks.  Alignment is how something works.  Oftentimes, we inter-change these two words whereas from a biomechanical standpoint, they are different.

Posture is essentially all the bad habits rolled into one massive ‘look at what you’ve done to yourself’ to end up to this point.  Posture is basically how something looks.

Alignment is the path backwards from where you are now to what we’re all striving for = optimum positioning, function and alignment of our system as a whole.  Alignment therefore is how something works.

THE ALIGNMENT POINTS

Here’s a checklist of alignment points in STANDING:

  1. Feet hip-distance apart
  2. Outside edge of each foot straight
  3. Knee caps forwards
  4. Knee caps relaxed down
  5. Pelvis in neutral
  6. Rib cage relaxed / dropped
  7. Arms softly dangling down by the sides
  8. Ear over shoulder
  9. Bodyweight into the heels

SEATED ON A CHAIR

  1. Feet hip-distance apart
  2. Outside edge of each foot straight
  3. Heels under knees
  4. Pelvis in neutral
  5. Rib cage relaxed / dropped
  6. Arms dangling
  7. Ear on the shoulder
  8. Bodyweight over the pelvis

WALKING

It’s true that you not only have to teach your clients how breathe correctly (see step 1), you also have to teach them how to walk too!

Encourage your postnatal clients to walk – it’s what we’re put on this planet to do.

However, walking is only going to be effective if you’re doing it in correct alignment.  Here are some pointers:

  1. Feet hip-distance apart
  2. Outside edge of feet straight
  3. Rib cage relaxed / dropped
  4. Arms push backwards, rather than swing forwards
  5. Back of the neck long
  6. Bodyweight into the heels
  7. When going uphill / upstairs, encourage the glute max to engage

PSOAS MUSCLE BASICS

The psoas emerges out of six joints, and passes over two.

It’s a very emotional muscle – it can tense and shorten, as well as lengthen and expand in sections, depending on the work required of it and the habits of the person.

From the diagram, you can see there’s a psoas muscle on the right and the left of the spine and groin, so in effect you have two psoai.

WHAT DOES TIGHTNESS IN THE PSOAS EFFECT?

It’s not uncommon for one psoas (left or right) to become shortened more on one side than on the other.

A shortened psoas is most often the result of continual misuse and poor alignment.

A shortened psoas, can be seen visually as a forward thrusting pelvis.

It can also create a rotational effect on the vertebrae of the spine, the pelvis, and the legs and feet.

In the pelvis, a shortened psoas results in forward thrusts, lateral tilts and twists.

In the femurs, the result of a shortened psoas includes constricted movement in the ball and socket joint and limitations in lateral and medial rotation.

It has two ends and two very different functions.

Because of the attachment of the psoas at the bottom of the front of the ribs, instead of it pulling the ribs down towards the pelvis, when the psoas is tight it actually thrusts the ribs forwards (or lifts the ribs up).

So, to simplify, when the psoas is tight it can:

  1. lift one leg out in front of you (hip flexion),
  2. tuck the pelvis under, and/or
  3. pull the ribs out in front of you

In the past, the psoas used to be lumped in as a just a hip-flexor, but it’s more than just this.

‘MUSCLE BALANCING’

Historically, muscle balancing has often been used in strength training because it ‘makes sense’ if something is pulling you out of alignment, that the solution would be to strengthen the opposite muscle.

So, someone who’s done a tonne of sit ups would cause themselves to become more forward flexed.

To combat this, back extension exercises would have been prescribed to balance things out.

However, is there another way to balance out the equation?

Yes, actually ‘releasing’ the tight area might just be the answer, and it’s often the rectus abdominus that’s tight in this equation.

A muscle that does not have the ability to contract to it’s fullest potential is oftentimes weak, but a muscles that doesn’t lengthen is also weak.

When a muscle is at its optimal length (eg not too tight or too long), it’s also able to generate its most optimal amount of force.

Release the psoas (and the abdomen) first, learn what real strength is through your core and the first step is = alignment!

The more you thrust your ribs, the weaker you are in your abdominals, so you’ll actually get more core strength just by realigning yourself!

EXERCISE OF DISCOVERY

Psoas Release (or ‘Constructive Rest’)

Prop your shoulder blades up on 2-4 pillows –hamstrings must be touching the floor.

Legs and feet are hip distance apart, and the rib cage comfortably dropped down into a relaxed position against the pelvis.

Stay here for 5-10 minutes releasing tension, particularly as the psoas passes through the hips.