I’ll never forget the time I was shadowing a ‘core class’ for moms. I was 20 years old. My first personal training job.
I was going to be teaching this class so I was learning from the head trainer on how to coach it. I was participating in the class to…learn the ways.
In one section, we were doing a crunch variation keeping the legs up off the floor, knees bent to 90 degrees, holding our upper bodies off the floor at the top of the crunch.
“And, hold! Keep holding! Belly button squeezing to spine!”
By the way, in the Postnatal Fitness Specialist Academy we cover why this ‘belly button to spine’ cue and other such as ‘core bracing’ can be detrimental to pelvic health.
If you are a fitness or health professional working with moms, a tool to include in your practice is assessing for Diastasis Recti postpartum.
This simple assessment will give you and your clients key information on their core and pelvic health – necessary for moms to understand about their postpartum recovery and long-term health.
Get your FREE copy of the Diastasis Recti Assessment Guide here.
The instructor (a truly lovely person) was coming around and feeling everyone’s bellies to make sure they were ‘hard’. That their tummy muscles were working – or something like that.
When they got to me, they said, “That’s the stomach of someone who hasn’t had a baby!”, which I assumed meant that my belly was hard and, therefore, good.
1). This…THIS was the assessment in place to see if the moms had bellies that were functioning well. Was it hard? Cool. You’re set.
MAJOR YIKES. We were missing so.many.steps and truly not doing our best for these women.
2). For a lot of years I was scared even thinking about a future pregnancy because I was sure it would ‘ruin’ my body.
I believed that my stomach, on a never before been pregnant body, was somehow better than someone’s who had been pregnant.
Mostly, I was terrified about my stomach being bigger, squishier, and that my abdominals would never work properly again.
Interestingly, I went into pregnancy with a pre-existing abdominal separation that was likely in part due to all the crunches and mis-management of intra-abdominal pressure I had been doing the past decade in hopes of a strong core and flatter belly.
One of my biggest issues with recounting this story from 10 FREAKING years ago, is that I know this type of thing is still happening. I hear stories from my clients and my community every single week.
A little tough love:
There’s no reason – NONE – for this to be happening or how we’re coaching moms. For this to be how we’re assessing abdominal function.
Better information is readily available.
Moms should not be paying for this, from people who claim to be experts in postnatal health or fitness.
Let us lead moms in a far better direction. Be the leaders in this change like so many graduates of the Postnatal Fitness Specialist Academy are doing.
This is what I needed 10 years ago. Hell, it’s what I need NOW and I deeply understand that even after 10 years of working in fitness with moms that I need to be continually advancing my skills to best help my moms.
Ps. Remember to get your free Diastasis Recti Assessment Guide to start using with your mama clients (or yourself!) immediately, so you can best design postpartum workouts and treatment plans.