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8 Rib Stretching Exercises to Improve Your Posture Instantly

If you have been sitting at your desk a lot lately, you may need to do some rib stretches to release the tension in your neck and back. Not only is your back sore, but you may also experience neck and shoulder pain. Fortunately, you can correct rib tightness and improve your posture by doing the stretches in this post.

Benefits of Stretching Ribs

Your rib cage has two major sets of muscle layers: external and internal intercostals. The external intercostals lift your rib cage in order to increase lung volume. Internal intercostals, on the other hand, depress the rib cage to aid forced exhalations. When you regularly stretch your ribs, you can help counteract the tightness you create by hunching or slouching. Additionally, you use rib stretching to help increase your chest expansion potential and respiratory muscle tone. 

Best Rib Stretches

Tight ribs can make you feel constricted. The good news is that you can take five to 10 minutes out of your day to relieve muscle and joint pain with the following rib stretches. Remember to take your time during these stretches and avoid stretching beyond your comfort level. Make sure that you feel a stretch, but don’t injure yourself either. 

8. Child’s Pose

The great thing about Child’s pose is that you don’t have to worry about slouching. In this pose, you naturally spread your shoulder blades and stretch your chest. The deep breaths also help you expand your ribs. 

  • Step 1: Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your knees directly under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
  • Step 2: Bring your toes together and sit back onto your heels. Spread your knees out to the sides and stretch your arms out in front of you. 
  • Step 3: Try to bring your forehead to your yoga mat and then breathe deeply for about 10 breaths. Feel the tension release and then return to the starting position.

7. Cat Cow Stretch

Cat Cow pose is an excellent pose to perform whenever your body needs a break. It works to improve posture and balance by stretching your ribs.

  • Step 1: Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  • Step 2: As you inhale, move into the “cow” position by lifting your sit bones up upward and raising your gaze to an upward angle. Pause here with your chest forward and shoulders relaxed, and hold your breath for a moment. 
  • Step 3: Release your breath and transition to the “cat” portion of the sequence by rounding your back, tucking your tailbone to draw your pubic bone forward. Remain in this position for a moment before you repeat the cycle. Continue the cycle for about 30 seconds, making sure to align the poses with your breath. 

6. Sphinx Pose

Because your abdominal muscles bring your ribs towards the pelvis, you have to stretch them to relieve any tightness that results from compression, i.e. sitting. Move the ribs back into a neutral position with this yoga pose. 

  • Step 1: Lie on your stomach and keep your legs hip-distance apart. 
  • Step 2: Place your forearms on the mat in front of you, keeping them in line with your elbows, which should be directly under your shoulders. 
  • Step 3: Inhale deeply and press down into your forearms. Expand your chest and remain here for 10 deep breaths, aiming to elongate the spine during every inhale. Pull the abdominals in during every exhale. 

5. Seated Side Bend

Stretch and lengthen the muscles between the ribs and your pelvis with this rib stretch. In doing so, you help to improve mobility and relieve pain. Plus, you can do this pose sitting or standing!

  • Step 1: Begin in a comfortable seated or standing position. 
  • Step 2: Take a big breath in and reach your left arm up above the shoulder. 
  • Step 3: Exhale and lean to the right, placing your right hand on the floor for support. Remain her for five deep breaths and then repeat on the other side. 

4. Head-to-Knee Bend

Counteract the effects of prolonged sitting with Head-to-Knee Bend. It can be helpful after a day at the office, or as part of your recovery period after a workout. In addition to stretching your ribs, you may feel a gentle stretch in your lats

  • Step 1: Sit down and extend your legs out in front of you, keeping your back straight. 
  • Step 2: Bend your right knee to bring the sole of your right foot high on your left inner thigh. 
  • Step 3: Inhale deeply and then on your exhale, hinge at the hips to lean forward over your left leg. If you can reach your left foot with your hands, then that is great. The goal should be to get your forehead to your knee without overly rounding or straining your back. 
  • Step 4: Hold this position for about 10 deep breaths before sitting up straight and repeating on the other side. 

3. Bridge Pose

Bridge pose aims to stretch the neck, chest, shoulders, and spine. In addition to reducing stress and calming the mind, Bridge pose helps you stretch your ribs to allow for better mobility.

  • Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground so that your heels are about six to 12 inches away from your butt. 
  • Step 2: Press the soles of your feet into the mat, engage your glutes, and lift your hips toward the ceiling. If you want, you can interlock your fingers on the mat to help establish support. 
  • Step 3: Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then release. You can do it as many times as you like. 

2. Thread the Needle

This stretch aims to open the shoulders and chest, allowing you to release tension in the upper back. As a result of this stretch, you can increase spinal mobility. 

  • Step 1: Come to all fours in a tabletop position, keeping your hands close together and knees slightly wider than your knees. 
  • Step 2: As you inhale, reach your right arm up to the ceiling for a twist. Exhale and thread your arm under your left, lowering your right shoulder and temple to the mat. 
  • Step 3: Remain here in this stretch for about 10 deep breaths before returning to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. 

1. Three-Part Breath

Three-Part Breath is a very calming and grounding breathing exercise. It helps you focus your attention on the present moment to get in touch with the physical sensations of your body. It also involves deep breathing, which helps you stretch the muscle layers of the rib cage. 

  • Step 1: Lie down on your back and close your eyes. You can keep your legs bent or outstretched, whichever is more comfortable for you. 
  • Step 2: Before you do anything, observe your natural breathing pattern. If you feel distracted by thoughts, try not to engage with them; rather, let them come in and out like the ocean up a sandy beach. 
  • Step 3: Inhale and exhale deeply through the nose, taking your time during the inhale and exhale. 
  • Step 4: During every inhale, feel your belly expand with air before releasing that air through your nose. On each exhale, draw your belly button toward your spine to ensure that your belly is fully empty.
  • Step 5: Repeat this cycle for about five breaths, which is part one. 
  • Step 6: On the next inhale, fill your belly with air. When you feel your belly full with air, intake a little more breath and allow that air to expand into the rib cage, which will widen that area. 
  • Step 7: During your exhale, first let the air go from the rib cage and let the air from the belly follow it out. Repeat this for about five breaths. This is part two. 
  • Step 8: On the next inhale, fill up your stomach with air and then draw in a little more into the upper chest. Feel your heart sink down and let the ribs slide closer together.
  • Step 9: Let the air go, releasing the chest air before the belly air. Continue to complete five deep breaths. 

Improve Your Posture Today

Stretching your ribs is great for improving your posture and relieving back pain. Combine this with ab stretches and chest stretches and you'll feel more mobile than ever.