Men, Golf, and Diastasis Recti
by Sharon A. Chapman
Photographer: Julia Petrenko
Golfers will rise early to be present on a golf course, loving the “game” and the camaraderie that it presents. While the dream of golfers is to improve their strokes over time, the reality of the repetitive motions and physical movements and demands often become a world of chronic pain.
One way to improve those strokes and at the same time improve balance, strength, stamina for the game and less pain is through a bilateral training methodology called Golf Pilates. This discipline focuses on spine health, core development, body balance and coordination. It promotes correct rotation of the upper body, core and weight transfers and increases hip and shoulder flexibility.
It forms the basis of a more consistent and predictable out come without the pain associated with the repetitive motions found in golf.
A growing number of men golfers often fall victim to a hid- den culprit called Diastasis Recti (DRA). It is seen in middle aged men who experience a thickness in their midsections. They are often physically fit everywhere except in the trunk of the body, where the activation of their core is limited to nonexistent. Their growing “pooches” or “pot bellies” are often a visible sign that this abdominal condition exists. What most golfers do not realize is that the presence of DRA creates future health issues and pain and ultimately the beauty of the game becomes lost.
Diastasis Recti can be rehabilitated through a Contemporary Pilates methodology found through Golf Pilates that has been created to seal and maintain Diastasis Recti called the Connectivity Formula.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis means separation. It’s a condition where the Rectus Abdominals pull apart and separates vertically and a separated muscle is a weak muscle. The Rectus Abdominal is a pair of flat muscles running from the Sternum to the Pubic Synthesis. This superficial muscle is built to support the back, the internal organs and assist in stabilizing the core. When the Rectus Abdominals are separated, it stretches a connective tissue called the Linea Alba.
The Linea Alba is a connective collagen sheath created by the aponeurosis insertions of the Transverse Abdominals and the Internal and External Obliques. This connective tissue becomes weaker, thinner and stretched and will not support and stabilize the body in movement. It is the condition of the Linea Alba that becomes an important key to the sealing of DRA. The Linea Alba in men and women with Diastasis Recti is jel- ly-like and squishy whereas a connected and healthy core’s Linea Alba is firm, elastic and “trampoline” like in touch.
Diastasis Recti is a sign that the core canister is not functioning correctly. It’s not the separation that is necessarily the problem. The separation is simply a sign of what the true “culprit” is underneath. The true culprit is pressure. A pressure that builds like the unpredictable Kilauea volcano in Hawaii called Intra Abdominal Pressure. This pressure lies within the abdominal and pelvic cavities. It is like a time bomb that pushes out, up and down in your trunk which over time builds and creates a weak link or a fault line in the body. Ultimately, the pressure causes misbalances in the abdominal and pelvic cavities and the spine.
It is this pressure that causes the Rectus Abdominals to separate and the connective tissue to be- come weak, depriving many of stability and support and creating pain and less golfing desire. In addition, the effects on the structural alignment of the body are detrimental over time when Diastasis Recti is present. It impedes the correct movement of the shoulder girdle and spine and eventually affects the movement of the game of golf.
Golfers with Diastasis Recti become dis-connected from their core which results in a loss of an attachment point that
allows our core muscles to synergistically work together.
What does Diastasis Recti look like?
Full text available in 'Pilates4you Journal «The Pilates Englishman»'