Keeping our ribs up out of our tummy is always a challenge! We’re usually pronated forward (also known as “slouched” or “hunched”!) at computers, steering wheels, grocery carts, caring for children….just about anything we do has us walking, sitting, or standing with shoulders slumped forward.
Not only is this not good for the lymphatic drainage in the chest area (click here to read my notes on the T-Tapp forum about Teresa’s fabulous woman’s health talk in Chicago last year), it will lead to a poochy tummy, tight pecs and eventually, a dowager’s hump and back fat.
One day shortly after hearing Teresa’s talk, I had been at the computer more than usual, working on a project, and I needed a break! I wanted to take a walk, but I needed to stay with the project. I went outside for a bit for some fresh air, and as I was walking to one of our outbuildings to get some herbs stored there, it felt really good to stand up nice and tall! I was imagining a string pulling through my spine all the way up to the top of my head–kind of like a marionette puppet. I realized, as I had this visual, how my head and neck were pulling up out of my shoulders, shoulders out of my ribcage, ribs out of my tummy, and tummy out of my hip area.
It was nearly automatic that I tightened my tummy and pulled it up and back to my spine a bit. It felt really good, too!
Teresa says that ribs up helps inch loss in the arms, tummy and thighs! Wow! What a powerful little form tip!
I think many times, when we think of “shoulders back” we try to do it “military style”. I explain it to my classes that it is more a gentle movement, and the string analogy really helped me to feel it without getting overinvasive. We don’t want to overdo it and encourage inflammation! That’s what we’re trying to get rid of!
The other problem I see is tilting the ribs to get them “up”. We want the whole ribcage–front and back–to lift!
Thinking of your spine elongating vertically helps keep the spine in alignment as you “lift ribs”. Not only does this help lymphatic drainage and spinal alignment, it also helps bring the hips back in alignment, too, which in turn tracks the femur (thigh bone) out a bit to equalize the weight on your knees!
From Teresa’s talk: ”Tilting your hips during your workouts is hard on your knees. It is so important to get that core curled and ribs UP!”
If you’re having a hard time with the ribs up picture, perhaps just thinking of a string pulling your head and neck up so you are sitting or standing really tall will help. Did you ever pretend to be a model and put a book on your head when you were younger?! It’s the same principle–only be careful to not hunch up the shoulders to “help out”! Keep the shoulders down by tightening the lats vs. pushing them down with your traps.
Good posture starts with getting those ribs up!
This will give a more graceful and youthful appearance–and make you feel better about yourself!
Ribs UP–for better health, a better body, and a better outlook!
For more help, here is a really wonderful video by trainer Kayla Howard that helps get that mind-to-muscle connetion!
Picture credit: Perry McKenna