Rib Thrusters Unite!
Hey to all the rib thrusters, are you out there, I’m here, I’m with you, and I’m thrusting pretty hard core. First of all, let’s get clear on what the hell a rib thrust is, and what it means. Rib thrusting is determined based on the position of your ribcage in relation to your pelvis. By looking at this we can determine certain alignment issues that contribute to a compromised core and pelvic floor. If your ribcage is lifted in the front, if it lays higher than your pelvic bones in the front, the ASIS, when you lay down, if your bra strap doesn’t touch the mat when you lay down, or when you stand against a wall, you my friend, are rocking a solid rib thrust. I can explain in detail these tests in a moment.
Now I’m using myself as an example because I am a chronic rib thruster, and I have been my entire life. I’ve always been aware of my “posture” and in the past I thought it was all about my tight lower back, my short waist, and the structure of my lumbar spine. I see similar patterns in my family members, many of us are “sway backed”…booties out, bellies out, ribs out, bam! A recipe for a compromised core. I always thought this had to do with me tilting my pelvis, spilling all of my oranges out the front. (Imagine your pelvis as an orange filled bowl and you want all of the oranges to stay in, so it should be neutral not tipped forward or back) This is also an issue BUT, the rib thrust is one to consider first.
So these are three photos of me laying on the mat. In the first I just laid down and this is my relaxed position. This is me mid-day after teaching a few hours, but I haven’t done anything for my own body, I haven’t demonstrated much either, so this is just regular old me after a morning commute and work. Now in this photo you can clearly see my ribcage, it is higher than my pelvis. There is also A LOT of space, from my bra line to my butt, between my body and the mat. In fact I could probably fit my arm under there!
In the next photo I’m bolstering myself. This is when you raise your head and shoulders enough off of the mat to allow your ribcage and your bra line to settle, now notice that my ribcage is in line with my pelvis. This is optimal alignment of the “trunk”. So I like to work my basic core exercises in this position, with the bolster, to allow my core to engage within proper alignment. I also just like to settle here, in a resting position, which is what I did in these photos. I didn’t do any engaging of my core, I just let my body settle, and for only 4 minutes!!! I like to try for longer but I was in between clients.
But, as you can see in the 3rd photo, I am now off the bolster. After only 4 minutes of allowing my body to settle and my psoas to release, my rib thrust is significantly better!! It is a visible change right there. Now, what I should have done was take a photo after finishing my day to see if that 4 minutes stuck with me. My guess would be no. BUT!!! 4 minutes! Can I do 4 minutes a few times a day? Or a longer stretch at the end of the day, well hell yes I can. There is no excuse for not getting into this position while binge watching my latest show from 9-10pm at night, I can give my body at least 10 of those minutes to settle, release, and feel where proper alignment is. Sometimes doing something passive is SO HARD for the movers and shakers of the world. I have become someone who has a very hard time settling. But, I can tell you from experience, you can work that core to death, but if you don’t address your alignment issues your core will never truly be strong, and more importantly functional.
What exactly do I mean by functional? Well, I mean we want to avoid leaking while sneezing, coughing, laughing, working out. We don't want that feeling of all of our insides pouring out of us, this is the result of a diastasis and weak connective tissue. We want to have good digestion, and we want to feel really strong, not like we will be injured or in pain. We want to care for this body we are in so that these issues don’t persist or present themselves later in life. Let your core learn to do its job, retrain your core! So, my friends, it is never too late, and it is never too early. Get to work and check for that thrust, if you’re with me I’m here to help. But get started with a bit of bolstering, let your body settle, and try some simple core exercises in the bolstering position. Maybe some toe taps or a ball between the knees and squeeze, try anything. Do it on the bolster and do it off, see how it feels different. Do you get a better connection with the bolster? OR JUST LAY THERE! I mean it, just let that body settle, let the tension of the day exit and let those ribs find their home again! I promise small simple changes will get you to your larger goal. I'm here with you, I'm working on my rib thrust. I'm not perfect, and I'm still working on a lot of things. But, I can absolutely tell you that I am living with a stronger more functional core and that to me is amazing. I can run, play, dance, and pick up my really heavy kids without discomfort and fear of injury. I am strong again. I am a strong mama!