Rib Flare


Rib Flare
a.k.a. Upper Respiratory Breather

Rib flare is a condition that’s caused by poor training and bad habit, where the bottom ribs protrude rather than being tucked into the body. There’s no pain or injury associated with this condition, but the habit itself can inhibit an athlete’s performance and make them more susceptible to injury. When we’re working with athletes at MOTUS, we put a lot of attention on proper alignment, good posture, and safe movements. Fixing a rib flare is key to all of these.

You’ll know that you have rib flare if you can see your bottom ribs sticking out from your torso. The protrusion might get worse when you lift your arms over your head, and it might be more obvious on the left side of the body.

Some people develop rib flare because of genetics, but in a lot of cases rib flare has to do with breathing. The breath is essential to movement and our overall health, but many people don’t know how to breath properly. Without a complete exhale, the lungs get stuck with old air, which makes the rib flare more extreme. Then, when the ribs are flared it makes it difficult to fully exhale. Proper rib alignment and good diaphragmatic breathing go hand in hand.

At MOTUS, we treat the body as a whole. One isolated issue can have an effect on other parts of the body, which can lead to more problems in a chain reaction.

A rib flare has the potential to create issues not just with breathing, but with the back as well. When the ribs are flared, the thoracic spine stays extended which weakens the shoulder muscles, in turn compromising shoulder health. It also pulls the lumbar spine into excessive extension, and creates an anterior tilt in the pelvis, which causes imbalance between the hip flexors and back extensors, and the abdominals, hamstrings, and glutes.

In order to fix rib flare, we start with breathing. Learning how to do proper diaphragmatic breathing is essential, and takes time and practice. We will teach you exercises that can help you work on your breathing, as well as exercise to strengthen your core. Not just any ab exercise will do. You need an exercise that lets you focus on rib positioning and pelvic tilt during each rep. Through breathing and exercises, you can become more aware of your rib flare and what it feels like to correct it in your regular workout.