One of the most common mucked up postures we take on is shoulders shoved back, chest forward and front ribs splayed. This creates a habitually overextended thoracic spine and an increased lordotic ( lower back) curve. This destroys the birthright convex curve of our thoracic spine and the just right concave curve of the lumbar. This organization changes pressures within the body and we lose the intended shock absorption that the natural curves of the spine accommodate us with.
I think we have all been told “Stand up tall. You are slumping.” It is pretty much imprinted in our brains. When we present our best selves to the world we want to be our fullest and bravest self and this posture usually does the trick. However, it is a shortening of the spine because we are closing off the back of our body.We take the easiest way to look like we are standing tall and shove our shoulder blades together to try to bring our chest forward. The shoulder girdle, however, is suppose to translate and take cues from the spine and not the other way around.
In this posture the spinal muscles and the Internal Oblique abdominals are tight and the External Oblique abdominals, Transverse abdominals and Rectus are weak. A less known muscle, the Transverse Thoracis muscle also gets very weak. This structure lies on the inside of the thoracic ribcage. Its fibers attach to the lower borders and inner surfaces of the coastal cartilages of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th ribs. The lowest fibers of this muscle are horizontal in their direction, and are continuous with those of the Transverse abdominals ( our core abdominals). Strengthening this structure inside the ribcage helps to synchronize all the tissues of the ab wall and create a balanced ribcage. It eliminates the splaying forward of the ribs and the overextended thoracic spine.
Below is an easy sequence to get you started.
Supine Rib Stands:
You need a mat, a pillow and a yoga block.
With a yoga block or half foam roller between the hands, send the long arms over the head ( shoulder flexion) without lifting the mid back ribs off the floor.
At first, most will have to have an inclined pillow and knees will be bent and feet flat on the floor. After one strengthens this area, the incline can be reduced or eliminated and the legs can be long on the floor.