Back in April, a few weeks before her second child, Sienna, turned 1, Ciara revealed that she had been dealing with a condition called diastasis recti. It’s when the large abdominal muscles separate, and tends to occur after women have multiple children, deliver a baby of a higher birth weight, or are over 35. A study found that up to 60 percent of women may have to deal with diastasis recti during pregnancy and after it. The condition causes a pooch to form that can mess with the confidence of a new mom.
“I have Diastastis Recti from both of my pregnancies, so I have to work extra hard to regain my core strength,” the 33-year-old singer wrote on Instagram with a picture of herself in high-waist workout pants and a sports bra. “Determined. Let’s Go Mammas!”
Less than a year after revealing her efforts to fix it, she has actually had a lot of success according to a new interview with Vogue. While diastasis recti can’t necessarily be cured, core training can help to change the appearance of your abs and work on that pooch.
“I have diastasis recti, which is when your stomach muscles split post-pregnancy,” she told Vogue when speaking about her ambassadorship with Equinox, as well as health and fitness for the new year. “I had it after my first pregnancy, and could feel a difference compared to my abs before I ever had a child. But the second time it was really noticeable because my muscles were actually laying differently.”
Ci Ci said she decided to stay focused on building up her abdominal muscles again, making her midsection a priority during workouts.
“Immediately, I changed my workout to focus on that and the gap between my muscles began to get tighter and tighter,” she said. “It was a tried-and-true testament to the [benefits of honing in] on a specific area.”
Key moves that she likely incorporated, and that everyone should try even before and after having kids, include crunches, bicycles, oblique twists, planks and exercising on your back and knees. And don’t just do core work every once in a while. You have to be consistent. That has been the key for Ciara, who would workout, sometimes, two, maybe three times a day once her body was ready for the intensity.
“I would wake up, breastfeed, then get Future ready for school. Then after I take him to school, come back and work out,” she told PEOPLE last year. “Then after I work out, breastfeed and go back and get Future from school. Come back and breastfeed, then go work out again.”
Her efforts helped her lose 50 pounds of baby weight and regain the strength in her abdominal muscles.
“I have to work even harder. That’s a bit more intense,” she said at the time about focusing on her core to fix her diastasis recti. “A lot more effort goes into it because your muscles bulge out differently, and you’re trying to reconnect the muscles and retrain them.”
And now that the mother of two has been able to “Level Up” when it comes to her abs and will continue to put the work in, she’s on to the next project.
According to the star, “at the moment, I’m all about the glutes [laughs].”