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Diastasis Recti: Is "Doming" Bad?

Do you have:

  • Diastasis recti?

  • Mommy pooch?

  • Ab separation?

Your doctor or google has probably told you not to do crunches and planks. Maybe you also heard that doming or coning is bad. Well, I'm here to tell you otherwise.

  1. You CAN do crunches and planks if you have diastasis.

  2. You can do exercises even if you have coning and doming.

What is doming? Coning?

Doming and coning occurs at the linea alba, the midline or center region of your abdomen. The linea is made of connective tissue that connects your 2 rectus abdominis muscles.

Mommy pooch
The Abdominal Wall During Pregnancy: The linea alba (gray) and abdominal muscles (red) lengthen and stretch to accommodate the growing uterus.

Coning and doming occurs at the linea alba. This is seen as a protrusion of the abdomen outwards. This can happen when sitting up from bed, doing a sit up, or squatting.

Is all doming bad?

NO! Doming and coning is NOT all bad. What does it mean? In a postpartum abdominal wall, the linea alba and abdominal muscles are more stretched out and lengthened. When you are doing exercises that involve an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, the pressure fills up its space or canister, which is outlined by your abdominal wall. As a result, coning and doming is commonly seen at the linea alba because its the thinnest part of your abdominal wall and that's where pressure will go to "fill up the space" of the canister.

Doming and Coning
Doming vs. Bulging: Doming occurs at the linea alba (midline of abdomen). Bulging occurs at the entire abdominal wall.

So, not all doming or coning is bad. You want to make sure that when you palpate, or feel, the dome or cone, that the tissue is not firm/hard to touch. You want the tissue to be soft/squishy. Why? If the tissue is firm/hard to touch, this means that pressure is maximized in that region of the linea alba. This places a lot of strain and pressure on the thin tissue of the linea alba, which can be too much for the tissue to handle

Diastasis Recti Coning
Assess your doming by feeling the tissue along the midline.

How can I modify the exercise so there is less coning and doming?

There are different ways to do the same exercise while seeing less doming and coning. A few ways to modify your exercise:

  • Decrease the resistance, weight or load

  • Decrease the range of motion you perform the exercise in

  • Change positions (i.e. sitting, standing, laying on your back, sidelying)

  • Use props (i.e. yoga block, pilates ball) for additional support

I'm doing crunches and I see doming. Is that ok?

Again, it depends on how much doming and the degree of doming. You want the doming to be soft and squishy, not firm. Crunches are actually a great exercise to help decrease the size of the gap. So, if you're trying to go from a 2 finger to 1 finger gap, doing spinal flexion exercises like sit ups and crunches can facilitate that!

Learn some sit up modifications and variations here!

Click here to try these seated core exercises!

Ready to start your diastasis rehab journey? Check out Whole Body Wellness and we'll get you started!

(Photo credit: Munira Hudani)


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