(sorry, guys, we’re not talking the BBQ kind; although that does sound yummy…)

There are a few movements we do in the gym, like lunging, where we’re changing levels (aka going up and down) while keeping our torso in a straight position. A common mistake that often occurs is an improper rib cage position – that is, we either flare our ribs out, opening up the front of the body too excessively, or we cave forward, collapsing the torso toward the hips.

The negative consequence of flaring out or collapsing forward is that it doesn’t provide sufficient alignment for the proper muscles to fire, creating instability in the core and hips. A core that doesn’t support the rest of the body can result in plateaued strength gains and, in a worse case scenario, injury.

Instead, we want you to, as fitness guru and coach Tony Gentilecore says, “own your rib cage position” – that is, lock your rib cage down and make it act as a support brace.

Here’s an example of Owning Your Rib Position: if I drew a straight line from my sternum to my belly button, this line wouldn’t get any longer or any shorter during the movement. I’ve locked it in and have contracted or braced my abs.

Below is an example of a rib cage that’s flared out excessively during a reverse lunge; notice the line getting longer. Remember, the human body is one big kinetic chain, so if the ribcage protrudes in front of the hips, we cannot properly engage the rectus abdominis (one of the abdominal muscles), and, thus, the function of the muscles around shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles will be compromised.
And below is an example of a rib cage that’s collapsing forward during a reverse lunge; notice the line getting shorter: Again, the core isn’t going to fire this way, so all the joints above and below it are negatively affected.
Members, did you know many of your RAMP drills act to help you own your rib position? Forearm wall slides, breathing drills, dead bug exercises, and rollouts all help que the ribs to bear down and brace the core. Training this movement of ‘owning your ribs’ properly can mean safer, more effective results!

Keep an eye on that line next time you’re lunging and own your rib position!

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