Family Fitness

Motherhood and Martial Arts

Nothing makes you feel more empowered than a well­ structured attack sequence, right?  Get in there and strike the bags, jump into an intense routine, and feel strong, right?  Women’s fitness routines are usually based on intense fitness with wild abandon, and usually with little guidance to exact structure and form.

I would encourage everyone, especially those new to motherhood, to choose a well ­educated and certified trainer to lead her through fitness with an exact approach to correct form.  This is paramount in all fitness, but particularly to avoid exacerbating possible injury.

New mothers and certain populations need to be particularly aware of their foundations before starting any exercise routine, including any martial arts or defense practice. The new mother’s core could be compromised for some period of time, especially in the very beginning.

For these reasons, I check all women who have ever been pregnant for Diastasis Recti, a common condition that occurs in 65% of pregnancies that may cause a divide in the rectus abdominus.


Left: Normal Rectus Abdominus                                                  Right: Diastasis Recti

Train Martial Arts to Recover From Pregnancy
I also check people who have ever gained a lot of weight in their abdomen, or anyone who has ever lifted heavy weights. All of these populations are subject to this specific injury, which changes everything about approaching fitness.

Click HERE for a very simple tool to check for Diastasis Recti.

If you do have Diastasis Recti, I encourage you to NOT quit fitness altogether. Fitness is vital to life, well­being, health, and vitality. Instead, I encourage you to be aware of your condition and to understand what kinds of modifications are necessary to exercise appropriately in order to minimize risk and maximize results.


Maximize Results:

Results depend on form.  Train properly with certified and trained experts in their field.  If you are working with martial arts, consider training with someone who has not only been in the ring, but has also worked on teaching skills and certified in training others.  There is a difference between a PERFORMER and a COACH.  Ask questions, such as:

  • what is your background?
  • who have you trained with?
  • what are your certifications?
  • what is your experience with post natal fitness?
  • what is your experience with Diastasis Recti?


Minimize Risk:

Just like when you go to the doctor, you are in charge of understand and knowing your own body and your own symptoms. If you have done a Diastasis Recti check, and you know you have Diastasis Recti, you MUST stand up for yourself and explain your risk and your modifications to your instructor. Don’t assume he is the expert in your specific needs. YOU are the expert in your own body. To minimize risk as a person with Diastasis Recti:

  • minimize twisting of the abdomen
  • twist from the legs/hips
  • stand upright
  • always engage the core from the bottom up
  • push your shoulders behind you, not in front
  • keep one foot on the ground
  • always check your alignment Generally, in Women’s Fitness, here is are a few of the myths I see as a pre and post natal expert:
  • “I need to do the whole workout, all out, without modifications, or I am weak”
  • “I won’t get results if I modify”
  • “Modifying means less­than”
  • “I’m not strong if I don’t kill it”
  • “If I can’t go all out, I will do NOTHING.”

If you read these things as a third party, you can see how untrue these statements are, but women tell themselves these lies ALL the time.

Here is what I tell my clients:

  • you have an injury, not a weakness
  • if you had a torn bicep, would I have you practicing cross­-punches?
  • you can modify now, or be out of commission for a year or more later with a myriad of serious back and core problems.

I implore you, as an educated exerciser, that you know your body, and you respect the time you need for any healing to be done. Whether you are a woman new to fitness, a new mom, a person concerned with core injury, or just a new exerciser starting out, I encourage you to know your options.

For more information on Diastasis Recti and my work with Diastasis Recti,  see