“Stop sticking your ribs out!”
Does this correction sound familiar to you??
There are many reasons a dancer may demonstrate “rib flaring." but one of the most common reasons is simply not having a good understanding of how to fix it. As dancers, we are told “keep your shoulders back, but also don’t stick your ribs out, now stand up straight”…. to be honest, it just gets confusing!
Keep in mind, not all rib flaring is bad. There are absolutely times where techniques and choreography warrant it, and limiting your movement too much is certainly not what we are going far. The problem comes when you don’t understand how to control it and it becomes excessive.
Why does excessive rib flare happen?
Having proper muscle control of your abdominals is key to reducing excessive rib flaring. I find that in most dancers, muscle strength alone isn’t the issue. Dancers already have strong core muscles, because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to do all the things you do! Understanding how to control your strength is where the secret lies. Especially if you are a dancer who has a super bendy back, learning how to properly control all that flexibility is key!
The best exercises to help correct rib flaring incorporate both strength AND motor control. When learning how to activate the core, its best to think of it like a canister. The top of the canister is the rib cage/diaphragm, and the bottom of the canister is your pelvic floor. You want to keep the lid on your canister (ribs slightly depressed) without rounding your spine or tucking your butt under. The simplest way to put this is keep your ribs stacked directly on top of your pelvis. This will make sure you stay in a neutral spine position, while still having good core activation. (If you haven’t yet watched my video on abdominal bracing, take a minute to watch it here first and it will better explain all of this!)
And now for the real reason you are here… How do you fix it?
Here are my TOP 3 exercise to help correct rib flaring:
1. Overhead Reach
2. Overhead Press with Band
3. Pallof Press
And don't forget- watch my video on How to Brace before you try these exercises to make sure you are doing them correctly!!
WANT TO LEARN MORE TECHNIQUE TIPS & TRICKS!?
Check out my new 4- week virtual technique masterclass--
Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to the ELITE INSIDER for your weekly dose of all things dance medicine!