The ACE Framework For Core Healing

Ace Framework Header

In today’s post, I’m sharing a simple 3-part formula for healing diastasis recti (abdominal separation) and strengthening core muscles. This framework is the foundation of the Heal Your Core With Yoga program. 

If you feel like you’ve been doing the right things but haven’t had success with healing your core, odds are you are missing one of these 3 elements. 

The 3-Part ACE Framework for Core Healing

ACE Framework

The 3 elements essential for core healing are: 

A: Alignment

C: Core Engagement, and 

E: Everyday Movement

Each one is described in more detail below. 

A: Alignment 

Why it matters:

Proper alignment, meaning the way you hold your body while you sit or stand, is important for two key reasons. Proper alignment: 

  1. Minimizes the amount of strain you put on the weak areas of your core, and 
  2. Makes it much easier to engage your deep core muscles.

This helps the core muscles heal. 

What it means: 

Proper alignment means stacking the bones of our bodies. The shoulders stack on the hips, which stack above the heels. 

In this position, the core has the maximum amount of space (it isn’t being squished) and the core muscles can fire easily. 

Unfortunately, most of us are far from this proper alignment in everyday life. Because we spend so much time sitting, many of us have weak core and glute muscles which impact alignment. 

Many people will jut their hips forward and hang on the hip joints. To compensate for this forward hip position, they then throw their shoulders back and ribs outward to “look” like they are standing up straight. 

This causes strain to the weak spots of the core and can prevent a diastasis from healing.

Over time, it can even make a diastasis worse. 

Focus on: 

Work to correct your alignment patterns.

Stack your hips over your heels, stack your ribs and shoulders over the hips. You may feel like you are slouching at first because you are so used to the old alignment pattern.

Over time, it will start to feel normal and your core will be so much better for it! 

This video gives more guidance on standing properly. 

C: Core Engagement

Why it matters:

Pregnancy weakens the deepest muscles of the core, known as the transverse abdominals. 

These corset muscles provide support for the entire body and help draw the two sides of the abdominals together. This helps close a diastasis. 

Reconnecting and strengthening these muscles is a key step in healing a diastasis and protecting your core from ongoing damage. 


What it means: 

Turning on the deepest core muscles is different than doing traditional core work. 

And if those muscles have been turned off for a while, it can take some practice to get them consistently firing. 

To get the transverse muscles firing, the adage “less is more” can help. 

You want to find a gentle engagement that makes you feel taller and longer through the torso. 

Too much engagement and you will bypass the transverse muscles and recruit the rectus abdominals (6-pack abs) instead. 


Focus on: 

In a seated or standing position, take a deep breath in and let your belly muscles relax as much as possible. 

As you exhale, gently draw the belly toward the spine. It is a subtle movement and should make you feel taller and longer through the torso. 

If you engage too much you will feel like your ribs are crunching down onto your torso. If that’s what you feel, you’re engaging too much. 

Bonus: Finding these muscles is easier when your body is in proper alignment. Try finding good alignment BEFORE engaging these muscles and see how it feels! 

This video walks through some simple core strengthening:

E: Everyday Movement

Why it matters:

Every movement you make is an opportunity to reinforce your core strength or work against it.

Often, people focus on core healing while doing core exercises.

But what about the other 23.5 hours in the day? 

Every reach, stretch, and turn is an opportunity for you to work on strengthening your core. 

And likewise, every poor movement is an opportunity for you to UNDO the good work you have been doing for your core.

We don’t want that! 


What it means: 

You want to start paying attention to the way you are doing everyday activities like picking up kids, washing dishes, sitting at your desk. 

Notice where you are out of alignment…and try to bring good alignment into those movements. 

Notice opportunities to find deep core engagement.

Focus on: 

Finding proper movement in simple actions.

A good example is when you lift something heavy. Breathe out and engage your deep core muscles as you lift that thing up. You’ve turned that lift into a core strengthening movement. 

Try not to become too obsessive about this. The goal is not perfection. It’s to replace some of your less-than-ideal movements with better ones.

This video gives a good example of safely picking things up. 


The 3-part ACE Framework details the 3 key elements necessary to strengthen your core and heal a diastasis: Alignment, Core Engagement, and Everyday Movement.

Incorporating these 3 principles into your life can help you strengthen your core, heal a diastasis and get back to living life! 

If you are looking for a systematic way to correct your alignment, connect to your deep core muscles, and modify your everyday movements, the Heal Your Core with Yoga program can help you with that process! 


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