Technique Tip - Are you a rib-flarer?

Have you ever heard an instructor say 'draw your ribs in' but you're not fully sure what they mean, why it's important and how exactly to do it?


This tip dives into it all!


The action of drawing your front ribs in results in better alignment of your spine and recruitment of your core. When the ribs 'flare out' the lower back is arched and the core cannot serve as a strong support system for the body. Ideally, the rib cage should align directly above the pelvis.


Common causes include lack of awareness when it comes to postural habits, tight lower back muscles, weak core muscles, limited shoulder flexion (arms reaching overhead), and ineffective breathing. Rib flaring is common in aerial when utilizing a straight arm position, during Windmills and Stars along with many other skills. It can also make or break your handstands!

Now this concept doesn't only apply to skills in the air, it's important for all sorts of different movement practices. I know first-hand how important yet difficult it can be to achieve correct ribcage placement, I'm definitely a rib flarer and have to be ultra-aware of it all the time! The aim is to drop your front ribs down toward your hip bones to align your spine, recruit your core and efficiently support your body. If we don't do this during skills (while we may get away with it for a while) over time, you'll encounter roadblocks in your training, difficulty controlling and achieving certain skills and possible injury.


See below for a video and corrective exercises!


Lateral Thoracic Breathing: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Inhale, allow your ribs to expand outward like an accordion. Exhale, draw ribs together in the front as you pull your abs in & up. Repeat 5x. Now breathe while keeping your abs in & ribs pulled together, channel your breath into your upper back area (I know, easier said than done). Wall Angels: Stand with your back flat against the wall. Step feet forward as much as needed to do so. Draw abs in and your low front ribs down toward hips. Open arms out to the sides in a goal post or cactus position. Without allowing your ribcage to flare open slide your arms up and down the wall. This exercise is also a great shoulder opener. Repeat 10x. Hanging Rib-Flares: Stand between the silks, reach hands high, grab silks and step feet forward. Sit hips back into a chair position. Align your ribcage directly over your pelvis and allow shoulder blades to upwardly rotate. Think about your ribcage drawing back toward your spine and down toward your hips. Move between a 'naughty' ribcage and a correct ribcage position so your body gets used to what's incorrect and what's correct. Repeat 10x. Hollow Body (aka Dish): Lie on your back. Extend legs upward & lift shoulders off the floor. Drop ribcage toward hips as you pull abs in. Gaze toward your belly button as you lower your legs down as much as you can without arching your lower back. Once you find your point of control, begin to reach your arms by your ears. Pause and breathe for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2x. Being more aware of rib-flaring and working on exercises to correct it, can be a game-changer! It will help you gain more control of your body and take you to the next level skill-wise. In addition, it's an important postural concept to be mindful of.


If you resonate with rib-flaring when it comes to handstands I have good news!


Our online Handstand Method course reopens for enrollment this Thursday, May 19th through May 26th. Achieve a solid handstand foundation and learn how to press to handstand with ease. Keep an eye on our site for details!


With encouragement, Jill

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