When you are experiencing little or no progress in your exercise program, check out the VOLUME (amount) of work you are doing. Then check out what you are doing the rest of the time. So suggested Katy Bowman at her November 2018 Core & More Movement: Fix Your Diastasis – Friendly (and Helpful!) Exercise weekend for RES (Nutritious Movement® Certified Restorative Exercise Specialists) Only.
We spent 12 hours (over a two-day period) learning friendly and helpful core and more movement exercises. As always, Katy comes up with some unique ways to move. One was walking a mile or so down to a river (balancing on logs and crossing little streams). At the river’s edge, we selected a rock big enough to be a challenge while carrying it in various positions back to the studio (about a 45 minute walk). Then we used them in some of the exercises.
Amber found a girder under a bridge to practice her hanging skills. She is a RES teaching restorative movement near her hometown in Georgia. Back in the studio, I was able to climb the hanging cage and Katy demonstrated a chin-up.
For in depth information and recommended exercises, check out Katy’s book, Diastasis Recti: The Whole-Body Solution to Abdominal Weakness and Separation published in 2016. I have read it three times. Although I do not have DR (diastasis recti), I have pelvic prolapse and I felt I was losing strength and tone in my midsection. The information in Katy’s DR book addresses all these issues and more.
Age and Volume
I turned 80 in May 2018. Sometime before that, I began noticing how my midsection (the area just below my rib cage down to my pubic bone) appeared distended. My waist was disappearing. And, I had very little feeling in my core muscles. The first thing I did was check out any medical problems that might be the cause. No, that did not appear to be the problem. Then I checked out my nutrition, tried going gluten-free, experimented with some dieting – still no change and my weight remained stable throughout this time period. I wondered if this was “normal” when one hits 80? Not a lot of agreement on what is “normal” at 80.
Movement and Volume
I checked out my daily movement. Most days, I walk or hike 3-5 miles on errands and up and down the trails around our mountain home. Each day I either teach or spend at least an hour practicing restorative exercises. Aligned movement is integrated into my daily activities such as ramping my chin, dropping my ribs, bouncing my kneecaps up and down. My chin-up practice started in August 2017 and I am getting closer and closer to being able to actually do one. And, I continue to climb and hang from trees regularly. What the heck?!?
I went to this core weekend with Katy in hopes I would get some insight into what might be going on. And indeed, I believe I did. I realized after the weekend that the VOLUME of work I have been doing that involves my midsection has been minimal – particularly movements that involve twisting and engaging my obliques. So I designed a program for myself, using the exercises I learned that weekend, to increase the volume.
Now, three months later, I notice more definition of my waist, a flatter midsection and greater muscle strength throughout my core. Some of the exercises I could not do initially are now finally getting easier. One example is doing the click clack without using my hands. Another is rolling like a ball in a circle while ramping my head and using no hands. I can crawl with my knees just off the floor while keeping my hips and shoulders level.
I teach twice a week at the BEACH (Body Education Alignment Center for Health) owned by RES Breena Maggio. Breena provides on-line classes for a minimal fee as well as live classes at the studio. And you can sign up for the newsletter by clicking here. Before the end of the year, I recorded two hour-long classes with exercises taken from the DR weekend. The holidays and “life happening” interrupted my plan for a series of these classes. However, I am now back in the saddle and over the next month or so will be recording a few more sessions to complete the series. If you are interested in following along and giving it a try, click here to sign up and see my Core Sessions. No matter if there are observable changes in the shape of my midsection. I can feel my muscles strengthening as I am increasing the volume of work affecting my core and more.