There are many other options for abdominal strength and tone other than sit-ups, also known as “abdominal crunches”.

Sit-ups for those that have Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) as a result of pregnancy are one of the worst exercises you can do as it encourages the recti muscles to separate even further!

When you do a sit up, you have internal pressure against your weak connective tissue (your linea alba) and doing sit-ups will actually weaken your linea alba further.

Even if you do not have Diastasis Recti, you can develop it by doing loads of abdominal crunches.

Take an example of a body builder who does load of ab crunches…his dedication to his craft has actually encouraged more separation. Because he is so strong all over, this is not likely causing any of the common symptoms of Diastasis Recti (like sore lower back, unstable hips, hernias, a protruding gut in guys etc) but as soon as he loses that muscle tone (and lets face it, can he continue to lift those weights forever?) his Diastasis could cause him problems (not to mention a much less taut looking torso).

Although many people think Diastasis Recti is only caused by pregnancy, children are usually born with abdominal separation but it usually naturally closes by three years of age.

But you can also do things that cause Diastasis Recti like body building (see the buff guys) and too many sit ups can cause it too.

Sit ups and other exercises that put excessive strain on the weak connective tissue can also prevent healing abdominal separation after excessive weight gain (like pregnancy).

So whilst sit-ups may strengthen your muscles through regular contracting of that muscle, it can cause your recti muscles to separate which compromises the stability of your hips, lower back and core!

Rather than crunching your core doing sit-ups, I recommend doing Diastasis safe Pilates, click here for a Diastasis safe pilates video. This will keep your abdominals in great shape for years to come.

Have you experienced Diastasis Recti? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Lol an excuse for me to no longer do them :)


  • Never new this thank you for sharing will not be doing these anymore


  • Was about to start on these after baby 4. Won’t be now.


  • I’ve never been a fan of sit ups or crunches.


  • Did not know this at all


  • wow you really do learn something every day


  • Good article. I’m sure a lot of people don’t know about Diastasis recti. I didn’t until pregnant with my 3rd child and ended up with the condition. I knew from that experience that sit ups were bad but what I love about this article is that it gives me an alternative exercise. I’ll definitely be checking out the pilates video. Thanks.


  • yes i read this on another article that sit-ups make that problem worse!


  • No, and I don’t do sit ups. Pilates is much better for me.


  • No, but I hate sit ups. This just reinforces why I shouldn’t do them!!


  • Wow! I wonder how many people know that? I did not.


  • Crunches can cause discomfort and I stay away from them!




  • thanks for enlightening me I had no idea they were bad for you.


  • Have always been unable to do sit ups due to abdominal operations, however I found that lying on your back and lifting your legs to a 90degree angle has a fantastic effect on your tummy muscles and strengthens them without any pain.


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