Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The term diastasis means separation. It refers to the separation of the recti muscles, which are the outermost abdominal muscles. When these muscles separate, the connective tissue (linea alba) joining them stretches sideways. The role of the rectus abdominis muscles is to support your back and organs.

So why is it important to address muscle separation? Because separated muscles are weak muscles. They cannot effectively support your back and organs. To achieve a strong core, your muscles need to be close together. The sideways stretching of the connective tissue causes it to become thinner and weaker. Consequently, this weak, saran wrap-like connective tissue fails to support your belly button, back, and organs effectively. Proper support is only achieved when the muscles are close together.

Everybelly® signifies that all women (with or without a baby), men, and children are at risk of developing a diastasis. Many people have diastasis recti without realizing it, as checking for a diastasis is not typically included in medical or fitness evaluations.

Everyone is born with their muscles separated! Usually, the muscles come together when we are three years old after our nervous system has developed. But this does not necessarily happen with everyone. Because our belly button is a weak spot in the connective tissue, even if the muscles do come together, there is always the risk that they may come apart again with continuous stretching of the connective tissue.

A diastasis is caused by continuous stretching in both a forward and sideways direction of the connective tissue that joins the outermost muscles. This stretching is caused by pregnancy, weight gain in the abdominal area, abdominal surgery where they fill the abdominal cavity with air, exercises like crunches and Pilates 100, activities where you arch your back like gymnastics and swimming which flare your ribs, and crossover activities like tennis and golf.

Back pain, abdominal hernias, poor posture, pelvic floor problems, gastro- intestinal disturbances like constipation and bloating are all effects of a diastasis. They occur when the support system for the back and organs are the weak connective tissue instead of the muscles. Most women who have had a baby do have diastasis recti.

Signs of a diastasis are a bulging belly, an outie belly button, a half football bulge when bringing the shoulders off the floor, a belly that gets bigger after eating and at the end of the day.

Right smack in the middle of the connective tissue is your belly button which is a weak spot in the connective tissue. When the connective tissue stretches sideways and becomes thinner and weaker, your belly button loses its support and then becomes an outie. An outie belly button puts you at risk for an umbilical hernia. When you strengthen the connective tissue with this program your belly button will go back in.

When you check for a diastasis you are checking for two things. The first is the “distance” between the two muscles. You want to see how many fingers fit between the two separated muscles. If you have a protruding belly button, feel a pulsing or have the half-football like bulge you will need to use two hands. The second thing you are checking is the “condition” of the connective tissue. The deeper your fingers go, the weaker the connective tissue. The pulsing, protruding belly button and half football like bulge are all signs of weak connective tissue.

This is a sign that your connective tissue is very weak. Please remember to only check yourself in week one, three, six, and week eighteen of the program.

This pulsing you are feeling is coming from your organs. This is a sign of very weak connective tissue.

When the muscles separate the connective tissue stretches sideways and it now supporting your organs. When you get up from a back lying position this bulge is your organs moving forward against this weak connective tissue. This bulge is a sign of a very severe diastasis which needs two hands to check.

Yes. This is because everyone’s connective tissue is not the same quality. Weaker connective tissue will take longer to heal. Hormones such as relaxin (pregnancy related) or steroid injections weaken the connective tissue. Naturally flexible people and people that get stretch marks also have weaker connective tissue. Weaker connective tissue takes longer to heal.

How long it takes depends on the severity of your diastasis and your commitment to all 4 steps of the program. It can take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year or more. However, you will start seeing the healing process starting within the first 3 weeks.

No. It is never too late to close a diastasis. There is a myth that you can only close your diastasis right after you have had your baby. This is not true. Pregnancy is just one of the causes of a diastasis. Men and children have this condition also.

Yes. Anyone can close a diastasis at any time. This is no statute of limitation on closing a diastasis! It is all about healing the connective tissue. Pregnancy is just one of the causes of a diastasis, so it does not matter how long ago you had your baby. During pregnancy, you can make it smaller but probably not close it.

Closing a diastasis is all about healing the connective tissue. Shallow connective tissue is the most important indicator that you have closed your diastasis. You know your connective tissue is shallow when you put your fingers in to check your diastasis and they do not go down that deep. As the connective tissue becomes shallower the muscles come together. A one finger diastasis with shallow connective tissue is what you are striving for.

Yes. The function of the outermost abdominal muscles (recti muscles) is to support your back and organs. When the muscles separate the connective tissue stretches sideways and now becomes the support system for the back and hips. Back pain occurs because connective tissue is not a good support system for the back and hips.

Yes. When the muscles separate the organs (i.e. intestines) get displaced. This displacement puts the bowel out of alignment which is a cause of constipation. Splinting the muscles and putting your feet up on a foot stool with help with treating constipation.

Yes. There is a weak spot in the middle of the connective tissue that joins the outermost abdominal muscles. This weak spot is your belly button. Continuous intra-abdominal force and pressure on this weak spot will create a diastasis again.

Yes. Exercises that stretch the connective tissue either in a forward or sideways direction can create a diastasis or make it worse. Examples of exercises and sporting activities that do this are crunches, Pilates, swimming, golf, tennis and softball.

Surgery is necessary when the connective tissue has torn away from the muscle with abdominal trauma and the organs are exposed. It is also necessary when the organs associated with the abdominal hernia becomes “strangulated.” This means there is no blood to them. Surgery is also the only way to help very stretched out skin.

Yes. An umbilical hernia is a side effect of a diastasis recti. When the connective tissue stretches sideways it becomes thinner and your belly button is not supported so it will become an “outie”.

Unless you are having extreme pain from your umbilical hernia it is best to wait with your surgery and do the Tupler Technique® program first to see if it will help. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you repair, it with the Tupler Technique® then surgery is not necessary. If the program does not work, you are still ahead of the game as you will be prepared for the surgery. Strengthening your abdominal muscles and learning how to use them in the recovery process will make your recovery faster and also maintains the integrity of the sutures. This is very important as without this preparation many umbilical hernia surgeries come undone. An umbilical hernia is a side effect of a diastasis. When surgically repairing the hernia, the diastasis is not repaired at the same time. So, if you are separated above and below the umbilical hernia and you repair just the hernia the surgery will come undone easily with intra-abdominal pressure. The Tupler Technique® will teach you how to avoid intra-abdominal pressure after surgery.

Yes, it can make the process harder. That is why after the scar has healed we recommend mobilizing the scar. This will also prevent the “muffin” top the c section scar causes.

Yes. Absolutely! You cannot heal the connective tissue when you have all the baby’s weight putting pressure on the weak connective tissue. If absolutely must wear one, use the ones that are on a diagonal. When your baby gets head- control put them on your back. If you can use a stroller, that is the best scenario.

Absolutely not. The purpose is approximation (pulling together) not compression. It puts the connective tissue in a better position to heal and the muscles in a better position making the exercises more effective. Wearing a splint is just one of the 4 steps of the program. Wearing the splint makes doing the exercises easier because you are able to feel the muscles working.

Yes. If you can hold a splint (scarf or arms of sweater) while doing the seated and back lying exercises you will make progress. However, it may be slower than if you wore the splint all the time. If you cannot even hold a splint doing the exercises will help.

The purpose of the splint is approximation (pulling together) the two separated muscles and taking the stretch off the connective tissue. The purpose of the girdle, abdominal binders and body shaping garments is compression (pulling back) of the abdominal muscles.

This program closes the diastasis by healing the connective tissue. As the connective tissue becomes shallow, the muscles come together. Healing connective tissue is all about putting it in the right position as well as protecting it.

You use your abdominals with every move you make. You have to develop the awareness and the strength of how to use them correctly to be able to heal your connective tissue. It takes six weeks to do this. In week six once you have this abdominal strength and awareness of how to use your abdominal muscles, you are taught how to incorporate the Tupler Technique® into an exercise routine. During the first six weeks we recommend only cardio exercise such as walking, treadmill, stationary bike, and the elliptical machine. No running, weights or exercise classes. It is important to be belly breathing while doing cardio exercise.

Yes. The seated position is the best position to be in while having sex to protect the connective tissue. The hands and knees position puts pressure on the connective tissue. In the back lying position with your legs in the air it is too difficult to hold in your transverse muscle.

Back lying with knees bent. Whatever position you sleep it is always important to have your knees bent. In a side lying position it is important to have a pillow between your bent knees. A pillow should be under your lower legs whether you are back lying or lying on your belly. This keeps the top of the pelvis from tilting forward. When this happens it flares the ribs and stretches the connective tissue.

Yes. One of the functions of the recti muscle is to support the back. When the muscles separate it weakens the support for the back and causes back problems. When you engage the transverse is shortens the recti (outermost muscle) from the middle and makes the diastasis smaller. Also when you engage the transverse muscle you are also working the lumbar multifidus muscle. Working this muscle also helps with low back pain.