Ribcage Placement

On to the ribcage placement.  Once you have found pelvis neutral while lying down and knees up, try to keep your 12th rib on the mat.  This may be difficult for people who want to live in imprint (flat back).

The other thing to notice is whether or not your ribs are shifted or twisted.  While standing and, preferably naked, look in a full mirror and imagine a plumb line dropped down from the ceiling and bisecting your face.  It should continue through your chin, the little V at the base of your neck, line up with the breastbone, belly button, and crotch.  If you happen to notice that, say, your belly button is off to one side, you have what’s called a “rib shift”.  Experiment with what you have to do to line everything up again.

You might also notice if your head is not on straight!  Maybe it’s tilted to one side or twisted to one side or both.  What do you have to change to get your head on straight?

Back to the ribs (feet and hips, too).  Look down your body and look at your feet.  Are they parallel?  Are they lined up so that one foot is not a little behind the other?  Fix that if necessary and look at your thighs.  Is one thigh in front of the other?  How about the hips?  Is one hip farther forward than the other?  How about your ribs?  Is one side of your ribcage farther forward?  If you can’t tell by yourself, enlist a friend.  But you can have your clothes on for this part!  :)Your friend will have to gently hold your hip bones (really the ASISs) with their thumbs and then look down along your body to check the hips.  Or maybe your friend can tell by looking straight at you if they have a really good “eye” for distance.  For the ribs, your friend can gently place the back of their hands to your ribs.  Try to judge this by “eye” alone and no looking down the body.

There could be more than one twist going on in different parts of the body.  Usually the thighs go with the hips, so they’ll be twisted the same way.  But the rib cage can differ from the hips.  And the shoulders can differ from the ribcage.Again, looking in the mirror or with the help of a friend, look at the shoulders from in front and notice which one seems to be higher.  Also look at the elbows and notice which one seems to have more “air space” between it and the ribs or the waist.  More air space here indicates a “collapse” on that side of the ribcage and usually goes with the dropped shoulder.  However, there could be two “collapses”, one lower and one higher.  This is going to indicate some lateral bending or shift in the spine.

Sometimes looking at the back is more helpful, but you’ll need a friend for this.  Again, check the shoulders to see if one is higher than the other.  Also have your friend look at you from the side to see what your spine is doing.  Is it really straight at the waist or does it have some forward curve there or a lot of forward curve (lordosis)?  Look at the spine between the ribs from the side.  Is the thoracic spine really straight or too flexed (curved backwards) or about right?  Too curved backwards is called “kyphosis”.  Is there a spot (about even with the bra strap) where there’s more curve and the rest of the spine is too straight or flat?

The ribcage and the part of the spine it’s attached to can be doing all sorts of things you never noticed before.  The more out of ideal alignment it is, the harder it will be to improve and the easier it is to be injured.

About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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