Centerworks® “Secret” Training Tips for Mobilizing the Ribcage Part One: Spine FlexionWhen we bend into forward flexion for Pilates exercises like the Hundred, Roll Up or Teaser every segment of the spine has to move individually to open the back ribs and bend the spine. In the front of the body, the ribs are attached to the breastbone (which is a solid piece) so the same bending can’t occur. The breast bone must “slide down the front of the body” to bring the front ribs closer together. If the Pec muscles in the front of the chest are held tight, the front ribs & breastbone cannot move causing the “bend” forward to happen from either the neck or the waist, but not segmentally through the upper spine. Each rib is attached in the back to the spine and in the front to the breastbone, and they need to bend or “rotate” individually to fully articulate the spine, mobilize the ribcage and bend the body forward. Here are a few helpful training tips to make movement of your spine and Ribcage happen more easily:
- Relax the chest muscles to open the back and release the ribs for movement.
- Allow movement bending forward to initiate from the head and neck, then the collar bones through the front of the body to bend every rib like you are turning a rotisserie to curl forward.
- As the Pecs relax feel the breastbone slide down the front of the body and drop backwards towards the spine.
- While the breastbone slides down, the backbones are bending forward “up and over” the breastbone.
- Use your breath to facilitate freer movement. Inhaling helps elongate the spine and creates space for movement, exhaling allows your movement to “ride the breath.”