Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lift Your Ribs to Activate Your Core

3/1/2015 - In THIS POST  I mentioned feeling compelled to update older posts on this blog. This is one of those posts!
The jist of my update is that I've fallen out of love with the cue "lift your ribs." It's fine to lift your chest up if your rounded shoulders have allowed it to slump forward. Using the cue "lift your ribs" usually achieves this quite quickly but sometimes at a price. If you get all over enthusiastic and lift your ribs beyond normal position you are then thrusting your ribs and that can create an entire bundle of issues in and of itself!

Thrusted ribs are often hiding a kypnosis and tend to make your abs look flatter - but the price you pay is steep! Rib thrusting will increase lumbar disk compression and pelvic mal-alignment. It's also going to weaken your core over time.

So long story short, lift your chest and ribs into proper position but never thrust you ribs forward. Oh! You'll know you're thrusting your ribs if the are sticking forward (front ribs not the sides) and you can run your fingers down over them and poke under them a little bit. When they're in proper position they're flat (even if they're bony) and you really have to dig - thrust them - to get under them.

Before you read on down to the original post check out the picture. Those are Sweet Williams from my back yard. Right now there's a blanket of snow out there that's several feet deep. <sigh> Spring is sounding really good right now.

In case you didn't notice from my posts, I'm quite taken with T-Tapp lately. :) It's only natural since I've been doing the 60 day challenge. I'll update you on that in a couple of days.

If I had to choose one form tip that I most value it would be the concept of "lift ribs, set lats".
It's such a simple form tip and yet it gets to the heart of muscle activation.

You can try it while seated in a chair.

Sit on the edge of your chair with your knees in front of hipbones and heels right below your knees. Place your shoulders over your hips - this will be further back than most people think it is so it's great if you can have a loved one or office bud check your alignment.

Now lift your ribs. If you lift them high enough you will feel a corresponding tightening in your outer mid-back. That's your lats! You really want to lift high. Imagine that you're trying to gain 4" of height through your midsection.

Don't worry if you don't feel those lats right away. Just keep practicing the rib lift several times a day. It's possible that your core is so tight that you aren't able to lift your ribs high enough to get the lats to kick in.

This is a great exercise for anyone who sits in a chair for a living. I'm not telling you to necessarily hold it all day - just practicing holding it for short periods of time throughout the day.

Once you get good at it try lifting your lower abs up and in at the same time that you lift your ribs and set your lats. Now poke around and notice how tight your entire core area is!

This is just one piece of gold I mined from Healthy Hormones and Senior Fit.

My challenge to you today is to give this a try and see what you think!


Dayna Talbot said...

Good Morning Lannette
I tried this ....and feel it working!

Thanks for all your great info!

Lannette Madden said...

You're welcome Dayna. It's really quite amazing that something so simple can work so well, isn't it? I'm really glad you were able to feel it so quickly.

Gloria A. said...

Do either of the DVDs mentioned above show the Lift Ribs, Set Abs exercise being done with instructions? I would like to actually see it done by an instructor. I have only read about it. If there is a DVD that does show it, would you please let me know?

Thank you for your help and for your inspiration....

Gloria Adams


Lannette Madden said...

Yes, in those DVDs Teresa does repeatedly have you lift your ribs. Just be sure you aren't doing what I was doing - old ballet habit - and thrust your ribs instead of simply lifting.