How To Fix Flared Ribs

What are Flared Ribs?

If you are wondering “Why do my ribs stick out?”, it is likely that you have Flared Ribs!

Flared Ribs is where the lower portion at the front of your rib cage protrudes forwards and outwards.

flared ribs

Flared Ribs Vs Normal

In the ideal position – The rib cage should directly align with the pelvis.

With the flared ribs position – The rib cage is tilted backwards relative to the position of the pelvis.

In this blog post:

Causes of Flared Ribs

There is a combination of factors that can lead to the development of ribs that flare outwards.

(These factors will be addressed specifically in the exercise section of this blog post.)

a) Weak Abdominal Muscles

The abdominal muscles are responsible for tilting the lower rib cage region downwards and inwards into a more neutral position.

(Muscles involved: Rectus Abdominis, Internal Obliques and Transversus Abdominis)

If these muscles are weak and/or inhibited, the lower part of the rib cage may flare outwards.

b) Tight Muscles

flared ribs

Tight muscles in the lower back can cause an excessive arch in the lumbar spine.

This can cause the lower part of the front ribcage to protrude forwards resulting in the appearance of having Flared Ribs.

Tight muscles include:

  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Erector Spinae
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • External Obliques

c) Ineffective Breathing

The Diaphragm is an important muscle that is located at the base of the rib cage.

It serves as the primary muscle that is responsible for normal breathing mechanics.

If this muscle is not functioning optimally, the body may compensate by flaring out the ribs in an attempt to assist with inhalation.

(Note: An altered breathing pattern may be adopted to compensate for a tight rib cage that can not expand in all directions.)

d) Limited Shoulder Flexion

shoulder mobility and flared ribs

If you experience flared ribs whilst your arms are in the over head position, it is likely that your shoulder lacks full range of motion.

This is due to the lower back extending backwards as a compensation for the lack of full movement in the shoulder.

(If you would like exercises to help improve your ability to reach your arm over head, check out this blog post: Best Exercises When You Can’t Reach Your Arm Over Head.)

e) Pectus Excavatum

This is a congenital chest wall deformation which is characterized by a sunken chest appearance.

As this is of genetic/structural origins, there is going to be a certain limit as to how much the rib cage can be influenced.

 Test for Flared Ribs

Not sure if you have Flared ribs? Try out this quick test to determine if you have it or not!

test for flared ribs


  • Stand up.
  • Place both hands slightly below the lower section of the front of your ribs.
  • Proceed to push and drag your hands up towards your chest.

Results: If you can feel your lower ribs significantly protruding outwards, then it is likely that you have Flared Ribs!

How to Fix Flared Ribs

Note: Please make sure that you perform all of these exercises in a pain-free and gentle manner. 

STEP 1: Releases
STEP 2: Stretches
Core Activation
STEP 4: Rib Cage Expansion
STEP 5: Rib Cage Tilt

STEP 6: Strengthening Exercises For Flared Ribs
STEP 7: Improve Function
STEP 8: Address Thoracic Spine
STEP 9: Flared Rib On One Side

1. Releases

The first step is to release the tight muscles which are associated with the flaring of the ribs.

a) Lower Back

(Muscle targeted: Erector Spinae, Quadratus Lumborum)

flared ribs releases


  • Place a massage ball underneath the muscles of your lower back.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight on top of the ball.
  • You may perform gentle circular motions of your body to help cover more areas.
  • Do not place the massage ball directly underneath bony areas.
  • Aim for 2 minutes on each side of the spine.

b) Latissimus Dorsi

Latissimus dorsi release


  • Make sure you know the exact location of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.
  • Lie down on your side.
  • Place the Latissimus Dorsi muscle directly on top of a foam roller.
  • Position your arm in an outstretched position.
  • Apply as much body weight onto the foam roller as comfortably tolerated.
  • Make sure to cover the entire length of the muscle.
  • Continue for 2 minutes.

2. Stretches

Following the Releases, the next step is to stretch the following tight muscles.

a) Lower Back

(Muscle targeted: Erector Spinae)

stretches for flared ribs


  • Sit down on the edge of a chair.
  • Bring your legs apart.
  • Collapse and fold your torso between your knees.
  • Keep your torso completely relaxed.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in your lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

For more stretches: Erector Spinae Stretches

b) Latissimus Dorsi

lat stretch


  • Assume the position above.
  • Hold onto the corner of a wall with your hand.
  • Whilst anchoring your legs as shown, aim to bend your mid section as much as possible.
    • Use your body weight to sink into the stretch.
  • Twist your pelvis away.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

For more stretches: Latissimus Dorsi Stretches

c) Quadratus Lumborum

ql stretch for rib flare


  • Stand with your feet wide apart .
  • With arms outstretched, start to bend all the way to your side.
  • Aim to reach your upper arm as far to the side as possible.
  • Do not rotate your body.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your spine.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

For more stretches: QL Stretches

d) External Obliques

torso twist stretch


  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Collapse your torso forwards slightly.
  • Tilt the torso away from the side that you are trying to stretch.
  • Hook your elbow around the chair backing.
  • Twist your torso towards the side you are trying to stretch.
  • Take a deep breath into your stomach.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the side of your ribs cage.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

3. Core Activation

Before you start any strengthening exercises to address your Flared Ribs, it is ESSENTIAL to understand how to engage your core muscles.

The “core” is a group of muscles that will help position and maintain the neutral position of the rib cage.

This will place the diaphragm (i.e. the main breathing muscle) into a more optimal position to function… which is important for the breathing exercises mentioned below.

a) Core Activation

how to activate the core muscles

Starting Position:

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent.
  • Keep your neck completely relaxed throughout this exercise.
  • Take a deep breathe in.

Step 1:

  • Begin to slowly exhale through your mouth.
  • Aim to slowly push out ALL of the air out of your lungs.
  • As you are exhaling, engage your core muscles by drawing your belly inwards and gently tensing your abdominal muscles.
  • Allow your lower rib cage to drop downwards as you are exhaling.
  • Aim to flatten your lower back completely on the floor.

This is what I will refer to as “Activate your Core” in the exercises in the Strengthening Exercises section.

Step 2: 

  • Whilst locking your rib cage in this position, take a deep breath in through the nose.
  • Imagine the whole circumference of your lower torso/abdominal region inflate.
  • Do not allow your rib to flare out as you breathe in!
  • Restart Step 1.
  • Perform 3-5 cycles.

Note: This specific contraction MUST be performed throughout all of the following exercises in the next section.

4. Breathing Exercises

As you breathe air into your lungs, the rib cage should ideally expand in all directions.

If there is any tightness/restrictions in the rib cage, this may affect the ability for the rib cage to fully expand as the air enters into the lungs.

(Note: A tight fitting of a bra strap may also limit rib cage movement!)

The body may compensate by flaring out the bottom of the rib cage in an attempt to get more air into the lungs.

Let’s try to loosen up the rib cage with the following exercises:

a) Posterior Expansion

This will help the back of your rib cage to expand.

posterior rib cage expansion


  • Whilst standing, wrap your arms around an exercise ball as much as you can. (see above)
    • Try to get your fingers tips to touch.
  • Round your upper back forwards.
  • Take a breath in and slowly exhale all of the air out of your lungs.
    • You should notice the bottom of your rib cage should start to depress downwards.
  • Whilst holding this rib cage position, take a slow and deep breath in.
  • Aim to feel a specific stretch between your shoulder blades.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Perform 3 sets.

b) Lateral Expansion

This will help the sides of your rib cage to expand.

lateral rib cage expansion


  • Lie down on your side.
    • (The side of the rib cage that will be targeted will be closest to the floor.)
  • Prop your torso up with your forearm resting on the floor.
  • Make sure to keep your upper arm perpendicular to the floor throughout this stretch.
  • Sink the weight of your torso into the shoulder.
  • Keep your shoulder completely relaxed.
  • Bow your torso towards the floor.
  • Take a breath in and slowly exhale all of the air out of your lungs.
    • You should notice the bottom of your rib cage should start to depress downwards.
  • Whilst holding this rib cage position, take a slow and deep breath into the side of your rib cage.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your rib cage.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Perform 3 sets.
  • Repeat on the other side

c) Anterior Expansion

This will help the front of your rib cage to expand.

anterior rib cage expansion


  • Assume the 4 point kneel position.
  • Place your forearm onto a chair.
  • Pull your shoulder blade backwards.
  • Lean your torso towards the floor.
  • Take a breath in and slowly exhale all of the air out of your lungs.
    • You should notice the bottom of your rib cage should start to depress downwards.
  • Whilst holding this rib cage position, take a slow and deep breathe in.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the front of your chest.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Perform 3 sets.
  • Repeat on the other side.

5. Learn to tilt your Rib Cage

You will need to learn how to tilt your rib cage into a more neutral position to perform the strengthening exercises in the next section effectively.

a) Downward Rib Tilt


  • Sit down on the edge of a chair.
  • Lock your pelvis into a neutral pelvis.
  • Maintain a tall posture.
  • Whilst keeping your chest up high, tilt your lower ribs downwards.
  • You should feel a gentle contraction in the abdominal muscles.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 30 times.

6. Strengthening Exercises For Flared Ribs

I have arranged the following strengthening exercises in order of increasing level of difficulty.

(Note: You do not need to do all of them. Try them all but choose 1-3 exercises that feel the most effective for you and progress as appropriate.)

a) Dead Bug (with arm drop)

Core flared ribs


  • Lie on your back.
  • Keep your knees lifted with hips at 90 degrees.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Lower your arms down behind you as far as you can go.
    • Breathe OUT as you do it.
    • Breathe IN as you return your arms to the starting position.
  • Keep your lower back completely flat on the ground.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • To progress: Hold onto a weight

b) Dead Bug (with leg drop)


  • Lie down on your back with knees lifted up.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Slowly lower your leg as far as you can go.
    • Breathe OUT as you do this.
    • Breathe IN as you return your leg to the starting position.
  • Keep your lower back completely flat on the ground.
  • Alternate legs for 10 repetitions each.
  • To progress: Drop both legs together.

c) Dead Bug (with arm/leg drop)

dead bug exercise for flared ribs


  • Lie on your back with both of your knees bent in the air.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Keep your pelvis rotated backwards throughout this exercise.
    • This is to flatten your lower back.
  • Slowly lower the opposite arm/leg.
    • Lower the better! (… but only if you can keep the lower back FLAT!)
  • Alternate sides.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

d) Shoulder Flexion With Band

over head movements


  • Stand up.
  • Hold onto the ends of a resistance band.
  • Gently pull the band apart.
  • Roll your shoulder blades backwards.
  • Keep your chest wide and open.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Bring your arms over head as far as you comfortably can.
  • Keep your neck relaxed.
  • Do not arch your lower back as you bring your arms up. (Keep the ribs DOWN!).
  • Repeat 20 times.

e) Wall Angel

wall angels


  • Stand with your back to a wall.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Keep your back and arms pulled backwards as to remain in contact with the wall throughout movements.
  • Place your arms in the ‘W’ starting position.
  • Slide your arms up the wall:
    • Breathe OUT as you do this.
    • Breathe IN as you return to the “W” starting position.
  • Do NOT let your ribs flare out as you raise your arms.
  • Keep the lower back flat on the wall.
  • Repeat 10 times.

f) Plank

core exercises flared ribs


  • Get into the plank position. (see above)
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Make sure that your lower back does NOT sink in.
  • Your ankle/hip/shoulder should be aligned.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

g) Pull Downs

advanced exercises rifb flare


  • Anchor a resistance band at above head height level.
  • Hinge forwards so that there is slight forward lean of your torso.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Pull the resistance band down towards your knees.
  • Slowly let your arms recoil to the over head position.
    • Breathe OUT as you do this.
  • Your torso should not move during this exercise.
  • Pull the resistance band back to starting position.
    • Breathe IN as you do this.
  • Repeat 10 times.

h) Pull Overs

exercise for flared ribs


  • Lie on top of an exercise ball.
  • Hold onto a weight above your head.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Slowly lower the weight as far as you can go.
    • Breathe OUT as you do this.
  • Bring the weight back to the starting position.
    • Breathe IN as you do this.
  • Do not let your ribs flare upwards.
  • Repeat 10 times.

i) Roll Outs

core exercise


  • Grab an exercise ball.
  • Whilst kneeling, place your forearms onto the ball.
  • Activate your Core to keep your rib cage lowered.
  • Proceed apply your body weight onto the ball as you roll it as far forward as you can.
    • Breathe OUT as you roll forward.
    • Breathe IN as you return to starting position
  • Repeat 10 times.

7. Improving function

Throughout the day, make sure that you are consciously maintaining your ribs in a neutral position… But keep relaxed!

(Note: As you get better with the suggested exercises, the aim is to get your ribs to NATURALLY adopt this position.)

a) Use This Cue

A helpful cue to remember is – “Chest Up, Shoulders Wide, Ribs down.”

b) Perform Exhales

The muscles which are responsible for exhaling the air out of your lungs will also help with reclaiming the normal position of the ribs.

Throughout the day, perform a prolonged exhalation through your mouth with pursed lips as you Activate your Core.

8. Address Thoracic Spine

If your posture appears to get worse after placing your ribs in a more neutral position, you will need to check to see if you have Thoracic Kyphosis.

Thoracic Kyphosis

This is where the upper back is LOCKED in a rounded position.

(If you tend to slouch on a regular basis, you probably have this problem!)

thoracic kyphosis

If you have Thoracic Kyphosis, your general posture will actually get worse when you correct your rib flare!


Since the upper back is already rounded forwards, dropping the rib cage down will cause your posture to slouch even more!

To address this issue – You will need to do exercises to specifically loosen and straighten your Thoracic spine.

Here is a complete guide on how to do that:

See Post: Thoracic Kyphosis

But for now, here is a simple exercise to get you started:

a) Thoracic Extension

thoracic extension over foam roller


  • Place a foam roller underneath the most curved point in your thoracic spine. (see above)
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight onto the foam roller.
  • Lean backwards without letting your lower rib cage to flare outwards.
  • Aim to feel the foam roller pushing into your back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

9. What happens if the Rib Flare is more on ONE SIDE?

It is actually very common to have a more prominent rib flare on one side.

(In the clinic – I tend to see more rib flares on the LEFT side.)

To fix a rib flare on one side:

a) Focus more attention on keeping the rib cage down on this side whilst performing the strengthening exercises.

b) Address Pelvis Rotation

rotated pelvis

If your pelvis is twisted towards one side, the torso will counter twist which can lead to one side of the rib cage flaring outwards.

For a complete guide to address this issue:

See Post: Exercises for Rotated Pelvis

c) Address Torso Rotation

Due to the asymmetrical position of the torso, a twisted spine can result in a flared rib being more prominent on one side.

For a complete guide to address this issue:

See Post: Exercises for Twisted Spine


Flared Ribs is a postural issue where the bottom part of the rib cage protrudes outwards.

It is related to weak abdominal muscles and over extension of the lower back.

A poor rib cage position makes it difficult for your main breathing muscle (the Diaphragm) to function optimally.

Perform the suggested exercises on this blog post to help fix your Flared Ribs.

If your posture gets worse as you fix your rib position, you will need to check to see if you have Thoracic Kyphosis.

What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. Consult a healthcare professional before attempting any exercise. For more informationMedical disclaimer.

257 thoughts on “How To Fix Flared Ribs”

  1. Hi Mark,

    I was in a kickboxing match and was kicked in my ribs several times giving me pain in the intercostal muscles. I have had this before and it recovered over time. My ribs were in the normal position for a few days after the fight. However several days later I was doing a kind of “thrusting” motion and felt a sharp twang in my ribs like they “popped out.” I have now learnt this is rib flare. I also have some tightness in my lower back. Is the approach different given it was caused by physical trauma to the ribs/intercostal muscles or is it the same? I don’t know if they muscles need to just recover and it will go back to normal or I should begin these exercises (this was around 4 weeks ago now and it’s still flared.) Any advice would be helpful!

    • Hi J,

      Which part of the rib is sticking out? This blog post will help with when the lower part of the front rib cage flares up and out.

      With any direct physical trauma to the ribs, you will need to make sure that there is no fracture. Fractures to the ribs can cause the ribs to poke outwards. It is also possible that you may have strained the rib cartilage which joins the rib bone to the sternum.


  2. Hello Mark! How do I keep my ribs down throughout the day naturally without using abdominal muscles, because I can only bring my ribs down with the use of abdominals and when I want to bring them down without them I can only round my back and do it. I can’t maintain the ribs down with tensed abdominals for too long because it makes me hard to breath due to my abdominals tensed, do I just get used to getting into the position or am I not bringing my ribs down right?

  3. Hi Mark,
    I believe I have developed rib flare from lack of exercise and core muscle. Now my ribs hurt, and I have lower back pain. Will these exercises help build strength and get my ribs back to the way they were? My doctor doesn’t even know what’s wrong with my ribs, I had to tell him and he still has no answers for me. I’m a 46 year old woman and I feel hopeless and I feel like crying often because of how this makes me feel and look. My body just hurts due to lack of muscle. Can you offer any advice? Or at least let me know that if I start and continue your exercises above, I can return to the way I was and become stronger? Thank you.

    • Hi Christina,

      The exercises mentioned in this blog post will help get those flared ribs into a more neutral position.

      From here – you can start to gradually do more strengthening exercises in a more neutral position.


      • Hey mark I’m 18 year old boy. I noticed that my left rib flared 2 months ago and before 2 weeks I noticed this, I had trouble with my breathing. Thwre is no pain and nothing else but rib flare just suck.I got chest x ray and it says b/l Hilar prominence. what doies that mean. please reply

      • Hi,

        This refers to a lung structure. Unfortunately – this falls outside my realm of knowledge so you might need to consult your doctor on this one.


  4. Hey Mark,

    I have a very mild scoliosis. My pelvis slightly rotates to the left. when i straighten out my pelvis and rotate it slightly to the right to keep it straight, the right side of my rib cage flares out on the front and side of my core area. Now if I flex the right side of my abs / obliques my muscles seem to put the right side of my rib cage into the proper spot and my rib cage looks symmetrical.

    So my question is, should I mainly focus on doing ab and oblique exercises only on that right side that flares out? Or should i work both sides evenly?

    Thanks Mark!

  5. Hello Mark!
    Thank you so much for this information, you are for sure changing people’s lives with this information!
    I have super tight rounded shoulders from childhood, which has compensated into a ribflare where I am pretty much pulling my whole upper body forward and hyperextending/locking my knees. From that point, it seems like my left side scapula (my levitator scapulae) muscle has tightened and my left side of upper body is much higher than my right.
    X-ray shows that the rotation of my body indicates that the right side of the rib is much more flared than the left, but my tight left shoulder is providing another layer of rotation up top (my head is also rotated due to this)
    My physio has stated that I am unable to effectively breathe with my diaphragm and using my chest muscles to breathe (expansion of the rib is much greater than the stomach when breathing).
    I know there is a lot going on, but was wondering if you had any ideal how I would go about releasing that tight left shoulder. I have thoraic outlet syndrome type pain on the left shoulder and arm, and no matter what I do, I cannot let that left side to loosen up and hit the back muscles.
    That left shoulder seems to cause my whole body to rotate, and I am having problems all the way down to my ankles.

    Thanks alot for reading my problem, it has been a struggle for the past couple of years trying to find out what is going on with many medical professsionals.

    • Hey Mark, nice name.

      First things, I would recommend check to see if you have any rotation in your pelvis and/or spine. (as they can dictate the position of your shoulder)

      Make sure to check out the following 3 blog posts to see if they relate to you:

      1. Rotated Pelvis
      2. Twisted Spine
      3. Scoliosis

      In terms of how to release the left shoulder, simple trigger point, massage and stretch to the trapezius will help. But if you don’t correct the underlying issue, the tension will return.

      For your Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, please feel free to have a look at this post.


  6. Hi Mark I’m suffering from a winged scapula, medial winging upon internal rotation of my shoulder, can winging scapula cause rib flare?
    Which exercise should I do to correct the winging?

    • Hi Pranaav,

      If you only have winging when you internally rotate your arm, check to see if you have full internal rotation in the shoulder joint.

      If it is limited, you can try stretching the back of the shoulder (posterior cuff stretch).


  7. Whats up Mark,

    When doing dead bugs and lifting my arms back as far as I can go, my right arm doesn’t go back as far as my left. Any suggestions as to why? Thanks!

  8. Hi Mark,
    I found your rib flare article last month.I have been suffering flare rib and hunchback kyphosis posture last 4 years.Now I am doing kyphosis and flare rib exercises together regularly. My flare rib is improving day by day but my kyphosis is not improving. At this moment I want to take your advice what I will do right now.

    • Hey Jack,

      I’ll be very honest with you in saying that addressing Thoracic Kyphosis is not easy. This is mainly due to the fact the joints have be in this hunched position for so long that they are almost locked together.

      The exercises mentioned on the Hunchback posture blog post will be the ones to persist with! If you are having issues mobilizing your thoracic spine with exercises, it might be an idea to visit a health professional to help loosen them up for you in conjunction to the exercises.

      Best of luck!


      • I did hunchback posture exercises before doing rib flare exercise.But I did not get any positive result I mean my kyphosis posture don’t improve. Then I started rib flare exercises.I want to ask you a question is rib flare mainly responsible not improving hunchback posture because I did hunchback posture exercises. Another question is how many days need to completely remove flare rib.

      • Hey Jack,

        I encourage you to persist with the Hunchback posture exercises as the thoracic spine is such a crucial area of posture!


  9. Hello,

    I’ve spent a lot of time on your website and it’s been really eye-opening for me. Thanks for providing such clear info! Without being officially diagnosed, I think that I have a number of postural issues and I’m curious about the connections between them (if any).

    I definitely have ribcage flare AND winged scapulae. I’ve read that these are commonly associated with _anterior_ pelvic tilt but in my case I clearly have been engaging in _posterior_ pelvic tilt for most of my life (it’s really evident in most candid photos of me for instance). Given what I’ve read about swayback and flat back postures it’s possible that I have some issues with these too.

    I was a serious swimmer for many years so I feel pretty good about my general core strength but obviously something is off given that I have ribcage flare. Swimming is also super breathing-focused, so it surprises me to think I’ve been doing that wrong. Any suggestions?

    As I start to develop a regimen for correcting these issues I want to be sure that I understand whether and how they are related. Any insight you could give would be highly appreciated!

  10. Hello Mark

    Should I avoid push ups and dumbbell lifting? Will they make my rib flare worse ?
    My current plan Is to do those weight related exercises three times a week, while I will keep doing all the other posture exercises every day ( except rest day).
    What do you think ?

    • Hey Jake,

      You can still do push ups and dumbbell workouts. If you are concerned about the flared ribs, make sure to engage to abdominal core to bring the ribs down.

      Your mentioned plan sounds good to me.


  11. Hey mark

    I have rib indents and rib flares but they are all different shapes and sometimes are grouped together to flare. Are those still considered flared ribs? I am a very active teenager who trains a lot with my glutes and abs. However my rib flares and hyperlodosis hasn’t changed one bit. How long does it take for my flared ribs to disappear and how often will I need to do your stretches and exercises for these results to appear?

    • Hi Laura,

      Results should be fairly quick for non-structural causes of flared ribs.

      Some people report improvements even after 1 session of doing the exercises.

      If you have persisted with the exercises and still have a prominent rib flare, make sure to rule out any structural issues such as Pectus Excavatum.


  12. Hi, Mark!

    I just wanted to reach out really quick to see how long you should typically expect it to take to see some kind of results! I plan on doing some of these exercises and stretches once a day! Thanks!

  13. Hello there!

    I got one simple question.
    Will (upper) ab exercises help to fix my rib flare? I am a teenager with mild scoliosis and kyphosis , my left rib is the one sticking out more by the way.
    My flared ribs make me really self conscious and since I want to have a nice body, i fear that by training other parts of the body my rib will get worse. So what’s your advice?

    Can’t wait to hear back from you !

      • Thank you very much for your reassuring answer.

        As for my spine, it’s not much of a worry, since I have been seeing a physical therapist since the day I got diagnosed and I according to him, my posture keeps getting better and honestly I see it too!

        Now only my ribs are my biggest concern but I hope I will sort it out.

        Cheers !

      • Thanks for answering!

        I have one last question, from a quick search I found that some good upper ab exercises are crunches and sit ups, but I also know that this two are bad for your posture and since I have kyphosis and scoliosis I must be careful with what i am doing.
        So what else do you suggest on doing ?

      • Hi John,

        Crunches are completely fine to do.

        If you are concerned about the posture, I would follow it up with a good abdominal stretch.


  14. Hi Mark, is it flared ribs when my ribs are rubbing against my abnominals? The last rib is rubbing against my abdominals when I flex and bend my spine to the left. My abs are really starting to get really painful and inflamed. What could it be?

    • Hi Philip,

      Perhaps what you are referring to is inflammation of the costal cartilage that joins the ribs to the sternum. (I’m thinking Ribs 8-10)

      Have you been doing a lot of slouching whilst sitting? This can squash this region and cause it to become irritated.


      • Thanks for the reply mark. Appreciate it.

        I’m not too sure since I don’t sit a lot. I’ve had a bad back injury before and I kept on stretching it which I think was the worst thing to do for relieving it and I think is also the cause for this. I’ve then strengthened my back and core then only the back pain started to dissipate, but the sort of snapping on my ab-rib area remained. Sorry I think I wrote a wrong description. when I flex my abs and bend right, there’s like this rubbing sensation. No, it’s more like snapping. I’ve done some simple searching of the rib thingy, and I feel like it pinpoints at rib 8-9.

      • Hey Philip,

        It sounding more like an issue with the cartilage in that area. Does it feel even as compared to the other side?


  15. Hey Mark. I have flared ribs and feeling better after doing these exercises. However, I can’t perform the wall slides and I never have. My shoulders just stops, I’ve been working heaps on my shoulder and Thorasic mobility. Could that that be the cause of my restrictions? Shoulders, pecs and Thorasic? Feels like it takes forever to release them.. thanks!

    • Hi Frida,

      On top of having very tight shoulder muscles which tend to pull the shoulders forwards (serratus anterior, pectorals, subclavius, anterior deltoid, lats), the other main factor to check is the shape of your thoracic spine.

      If there is a prominent flexion in the upper back, this can prevent the shoulders and arms from being in direct contact with the wall.

      For exercises to help with this: Hunchback Posture.


  16. Hiya,

    Thanks so much for this post – I’ve started doing the exercises and I am using muscles that I never knew I had! I wanted to ask – I have round shoulders and rib flare (despite years of practicing ballet) – and I saw you mention that as the ribs start coming down, the shoulders might be pulled forward too. As my shoulders are already fairly rounded, would you recommend I start following the rib flare exercises first, or start with the exercises in your post about fixing round shoulders? Or find some way of working on the two issues together?

    Thanks so much for any advice you are able to give!

    • Hey Rosie, if you can address both, I would do that.

      If you can only address 1 at a time, I’d start with the area that would help fix any symptoms associated with it. For example – if your shoulders hurt, probably best to start with the rounded shoulders.


  17. Hi
    I have diastasis recti and have really weak core and tend to hunch with bad posture. Hopefully I can get muscles repaired this year. But I noticed know I have low back pain and tight hip flexors and hamstrings. I believe it is all because a poor core. Where do I start. I have no idea. Right now I just walk and do stretches. Because everything hurts. Any tips.

    • Hi Manay,

      It is common for the hip flexors and hamstrings to be more active if you have a weak core.

      You can start with very gentle core exercises. I have posted some here: Core activation exercises.

      Just pick 1 and start from there. Most important thing to consider is to make sure that you can feel the core contract.


  18. Thank you very much for the exercises Mark, but I don’t know if these exercises would work for me because my problem is similar, but it is only on the left side of my rib in the MIDDLE not down, and it is like it is a little dented “( “It would be very helpful if you could tell me how to treat it. This happened to me in an accident where I put a lot of pressure on the left side of my rib.

    • Hey there,

      It is possible to have a flared rib just on the one side. If I were to guess, it might be in response to a rotated pelvis.

      However – given that you have had direct trauma to the area, injury to to the ribs and/or costal cartilage in the area is a possibility.


    • Hey Mark again thank you for the response, is there a solution to get my costal cartilage on the left side of my rib to its original shape?
      And can pectus excavatus excercises solve the problem of my left rib even though is not what I have but a bit similar.

      • Hey Jhosue,

        Cartilage is malleable so it is possible that it can improve. However – as you have mentioned it changed shape due to direct trauma, the structure may have already been permanently changed.

        In regards to pectus excavatum exercise, it’s hard to say but it might help? But I personally haven’t seen someone do pectus excavatum exercises to fix flared ribs.


  19. Injured my ribs ,when it healed it’s sticking out what kind of different rib wrap should I put on my rib or is there a special one it’s painful when I sleep on my stomach

    • Hey Paul,

      If your ribs are sticking out after a traumatic injury, I would suggest that you get an xray to screen for any fractures.

      In regards to a rib wrap, if you feel that compression will help with the pain, you might benefit from compression bandaging the area. (don’t go too tight though)


  20. Hi Mark!

    I am a bit over my weight but I can still feel my flared ribs. While losing weight regularly also help with the flared ribs? How long does it take for them to go back into its correct posture?

    Thank you!

  21. Hi! I was literally in physical therapy today and was told to exhale all the way and keep my ribs down like that while breathing into my stomach. I could not do it. I can’t figure out how to keep my ribs down and still breathe. I just tensed up my back and shoulders and everything trying so hard. I have lordosis, kyphosis, rounded shoulders, anterior pelvic tilt, rotation, the works (due to a condition called EDS, which definitely makes things complicated so I promise I’ll talk with my PT before trying anything). I’m wondering if you could explain how exactly you should be keeping the ribs down while still letting your stomach move enough to breathe. I’m guessing I’m using the wrong muscles.

    • Hey Cherie,

      It sounds like your body is used to breathing with flared ribs. This will make it difficult to breathe with the ribs in a downwards position. (This is fine as it will get better with practice).

      If you have difficulty performing this exercises on your back, you can try it whilst on all 4s with you completely rounded back. This position will be easier to avoid the rib flare whilst inhaling.


  22. Hi Mark! This write-up is fantastic and I had used it about a year or so ago to correct my posture. Lately, my ribs seem to be a problem again and I have not kept up with the exercises. However, I’m having a lot of trouble activating the breathing complex now to perform my exercises. For some reason, it’s really difficult to expel all the air out of my lungs and I feel like the air is truly stuck in my sternum. If I continue to exhale, I almost get a sense of panic and my face gets hot. By chance do you have any advice? I’m not sure if my breathing’s become really dysfunctional and if I need to seek some sort of specialist.


    • Hi JP!

      Are you a smoker or have any lung issue? This can limit the amount of air you can fully exhale.

      If not, perhaps aim to expel 70-80% of your total lung volume and build it up from there.

      Try not to overly force the breathing!


  23. Hello Mark.

    I have been looking at reading your blog for about an year. Doing the exercises that I think I need to do. I have right shoulder pain since I was a teen and I am 41. I have had physio and chiro for over 10 years and had seen many specialists and had surgery performed on my scapula to get rid of scar tissues. Nothing had helped. Spine structure and muscle tissue wise there is no issue as far as looking x-ray, mri, and so on.

    I have narrowed it down to the obvious physical appearance associated with my symptom I can find from your blog is that I have minor (1cm) left pelvis tilt and right scapular wings with inflamed right trap/shoulder region. Is there a way for me to get a release/stretch/strengthening for particular symtoms I have instead of following exercises for an indivdual part of the body?

    Thank you.

    • Hello Mark,

      I am interested if you or anyone else on here suffers from acid reflux associated with this condition. I have had unexplained GERD for about 8 months and the only thing that makes since is a shoulder-rib injury that comes and goes from years ago?!?

  24. Hi! first thanks, i just found this amazing information.
    I have genetically caused ribs like that, they have been this way since i can remember and my doctor told me so.
    However im in excrutiating pain inbetween my shoulder blade area. Ive been told I have Hypertonus of the whole Back.
    My Lats are overdeveloped and always have been, yet i always thought i needed to do pullups or rows to fix my problems.
    I always thought I had rounded shoulders, but after doing your posture checks, i realised this is my posture problem.
    Will your exercise help with the tight/sleeping back muscles?

    • Hi Nurda,

      Addressing your flared ribs can help relax the muscles at the back.

      If you would like some direct symptomatic relief to the region between the shoulder blades, consider having a look at this blog post: Shoulder blade pain.


  25. Hey Mark. Two questions;

    1. I’m 51 in great shape but have had flared ribs my whole life. Can these exercises still be effective at my age?

    2. Is there any type of vest or something similar that can be worn to help correct the issue?

  26. Hey Mark, i am 14 Years old and my lower ribs stick out a little bit. However, when i force my muscles they don’t stick out. Does this mean i have another problem? And can i fix it?

    • Hey Finn,

      1. Hard to say exactly how long it will take. It is possible to fix it in 6 weeks but most people take months.
      2. You don’t need equipment. More that one way to do the same exercise.
      3. If you have a thoracic kyphosis, then you will also need to address this.
      4. Do you mean the bottom of the ribs do not flare out?


  27. 1 how long does it take cus I wanna have fixed ribs by 6 weeks
    2 I don’t have all the equipment to do the excersises do I need them
    3 I don’t wanna get a hunch back can u stop that from happening
    4 my ribs stick out LOADS even the unflared bottom bits is there anyway to decrease that

  28. Hi Mark,

    I caused my left rib cage to flare out while pushing too much weight. At the same time my left shoulder became elevated And kinda stuck -I assume from my left rib cage position. A few of my ribs hurt a bit, I assume from nerve impingement at the rib heads . My pelvis is fine and my back isn’t twisted. X-ray MRI CT says all okay and no scoliosis. My left breast has became a lot larger since I did it, I assume the muscle due to the stuck elevated shoulder. Do you think this plan can correct my rib position and in turn allow my left shoulder to fall somewhat back into position? Also should I spend some time doing breathing exercises before starting this plan or include it like you have? Do you put any merit into PRI? Thank you for all your work. Kind regards.

  29. Hi Mark,
    I’m doing stretches and AB exercises a few Times in a week for a 1 month, but unfortunately my whole Belly is still protrouding about 2 inches over my chest (im not FAT) also I corrected my ATP a few months ago. What can I do with it?
    PS my left rib is sticking out and in different shape than the right one
    Best regards and thank you for your blog

    • Hey Mat,

      If your left rib is flaring out, it may be in a response to a rotated pelvis.

      See this post: Rotated Pelvis.

      If you have tried the mentioned exercises and not getting the results you want, you might need to look at other areas that might influencing the ribs.


    • Mark, can I get a consultation with you? So I can send you my photo and talk about my problem. Of course I can pay

  30. Hi Mark,
    How long will it take to fit rib flare I have been trying to fix it by just sitting at a correct posture on my seat and it has been 3 days and only a slight movement of my ribcage has been made

    • Hey Presley,

      I would recommend the exercises mentioned in the blog post to help you fix this problem.

      Might take longer if you just practice sitting with correct posture.


  31. Hi Mark

    When I’m lying on my back working on breathing (and even sometimes standing up), I seem to be unable to let my ribs drop down AND pull my belly in to activate my core at the same time. As soon as I pull the ribs in, my rectus abdomens engage and the stomach sticks out. If I try to let my stomach sink down to activate my core, my ribs stick out. One seems to negate the other. Do you know why this is? Am I just doing it wrong?

    Thanks for your help!

  32. Dear Mark

    Question regarding diaphragmatic breathing:
    Am I supposed to stomach breathe all the time or just when doing exercises?

    Kind regards

    • Hey John,

      The breathing exercise mention in this blog post is an exaggerated way of using your breathing muscles.

      In terms of relaxed breathing, you still want to think about the rib cage expanding laterally, keep the neck relaxed and ribs in a lowered position.


  33. Hi mark,

    I have flared rib/hyperlodosis as well as right side pelvic rotation and rounded shoulder.

    I am thinking to work for pelvic rotation and flared rib/hyperlodosis on alternative day. As you mentioned, flared rib exercise makes little haunch back. So I can do later for haunch back and rounded shoulder.

    Please suggest whether it is ok or advice how to organise my workout?

    Also please advice after the correction of right side pelvic rotation, can I start weightlifting exercise?

    • Hi Jawadh,

      Yes – you can work on pelvis rotation and flared ribs at the same time.

      You can keep doing weight lifting exercises, however, keep in mind, if addressing your posture is your main goal, it will be more challenging to maintain your posture under load.


  34. Hi Mark,

    I have a flared rib on the left side of my body. I hope these exercises work.

    My ribs were perfectly fine before I started taking birth control pills.. which I only took for 2 weeks! And that’s what it did to my rib. It was on both sides before but I feel like my right side looks a lot better now. It’s just the left side that’s super prominent. At first I didn’t know what it was, I thought it’s either hormonal or water retention.. but now I know, after doing some research.

    Thank you so much for these exercises.

  35. Hi mark

    I am 21 and very thin(185cm/65kg). I want to fix my ribs for good looking purpose only. My ribs aren’t in a too bad condition. Can these exercises completely fix my ribs visually or they are more focusing on make your body healthier? And how long do you think it will takes to see some changes if i do my best every day?

    • Hey Jack,

      They will help with aesthetics also.

      If you are not tight, you could see improvements within the first few exercise sessions.


  36. I never started researching this until recently.

    I’ve always had flared ribs even as far as I can remember. I would be made fun of so I would rarely take my shirt off.

    I’m in my 30s now and it’s just something that I’ve wanted to fix. Read about surgery… which I don’t think I would go to that extent. Possibly find some sort of corset like thing to wear to bring down my ribs… I don’t know…

    I am going to give these exercises a try, I have nothing to lose. Below is a picture of my ribs. Do you think it’s even a possibility to fix is I was potentially born like this and not something I developed throughout time?

    • Hey R,

      If that are structurally in that position, there might be some limitations as to how much you can improve the appearance.

      Give the exercises and go.

      All the best!


  37. Hi! Hi! I have scoliosis too. I was diagnosed at the age of 18, but the doctor ingored my problem. Now I decided to fight for myself. I started exercising at home every day. I have about 40 degrees in the thoracic segment and 42 in the lumbar region. I have a right shoulder blade and left pelvis. I saw that my body looks like rotated to the right. Can I somehow correct this via exercise and body correction to the left?

  38. Hello Mark,

    I’ve been checking your website out and have identified practically every position problem in my body (I could send you a pic if you think it would help somehow). It’s overwhelming. All my life I’ve tried to do sports, but I’ve always felt limited by my body, and now I understand why. I’m now 30yo, and as you may guess, work keeps me enslaved to a desk. I started training using the Recommended Routine from the Bodyweight Fitness subreddit, and I’ve been feeling great. Notwithstanding, I’ve progressed slower than your standard newcomer, which made me curious about my posture as a whole (that and the fact that I’ve lost neck length due to Forward Head Posture).

    Now….I don’t know where to begin, how to tackle everything at the same time whilst still having the time to do bodyweight and work as a programmer.

    Is there some path you suggest for this?

    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Henry,

      Honestly- I would just pick one area and work on that to begin with. (It’s very easy to become overwhelmed)

      Once you feel you have achieved as much as you can in this area, move onto the next.

      I see that you mentioned a Forward head posture. Start with this!

      Sometimes addressing the head first can lead to other areas automatically improving as well.


  39. Hi Mark,
    I have been feeling this rib pain sharp spasms for past few months after i had my baby. I think alot of it is due to me twisting my back at night to keep checking up on baby. My doctor checked it two months ago and said stiff midback muscles. I have been doing streches daily which helps to releive the pain but it doesnt go away fully! So frustrating because i have to take care of baby and deal with this. Do you think post pregnancy can cause this due to weaker core and back muscles? Please share thoughts!

    • Hello Aisha,

      It could be a combination of a weak core/instability/laxity and adopting certain positions that you normally wouldn’t place your body in.

      (Very common when you are nursing the baby, carrying the baby for prolonged amount of time, twisting in bed etc)

      Best way to go about it is to identify those exact aggravating activities and try your best to modify.


      • Hey Nishanth,

        You can try these exercises to see if it helps.

        You can see your doctor if you are not sure.


  40. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and your explanations! I have this problem since my first pregnancy (38 years ago) and always wanted to fix it. :)
    May your life be good and full of joy and health.
    A big hug from Brazil <3

  41. Hi, i have a pectus carinatum which is not at all severe but it’s there and i have flared ribs. Is there a chance for me to fix that flared ribs with this exercises even a little bit?

    • Hello Stefan,

      The cartilage around your sternum is quite flexible so I feel that there should be at least some improvement.

      Is this something you were born with? Or has it developed over time?


    • Hi, i strongly believe i developed it because i can’t remember having it before my 11th or 12th birthday, i only started to notice that then. But i must say, i’m not 100% sure.

  42. Hi, I’m 18 years old and i have flared ribs especially my left one. Doctors said that exercises won’t be that effective. Is it worth it to continue exercising? Will I see any difference?

  43. Hey mark! I tried contacting you everywhere as i have visited no of doctors but still got no sol….when i walk my right leg seems to be short and when while walking right leg comes back it seemes that there is a great tightness from groin region…..when i stand my right side of stomach seems forward and on right side, below the breast the rib bone is rotated and protruded as it is more forward…..please tell me solution what should be done or any exercise so that ly problem could become alright.

    • Hi Amanat,

      “when i stand my right side of stomach seems forward and on right side”
      This sounds like a pelvis rotation to the left.

      This could also explain the groin tightness when your hip extends backwards during walking.

      A right Rib flare can arise as a result of the torso counter-rotating to the right on a left rotated pelvis.

      Where to start? Hard to say with the information you have provided, but I would start with the pelvis.


  44. Hi Mark,

    I have just found this page – I have flared ribs and the anterior pelvic tilt as well as some scoliosis – to which when I bend over one side of my back sits a lot higher than the other .

    How long would you recommend doing these exercises for? And how often?

    Also will doing normal exercise be good for me?

    Thanks :)

    • Hi Charlotte,

      You can do these exercises 2-3/week and see how your body responds.

      From here – you can adjust the frequency accordingly.

      Normal exercise is fine to do as well!


  45. Hi Mark,
    I want to star doing exercises for my flared ribs, but I do not know how many times a week or which exercises.Also, I am a basketball player, and i do a lot of physical activties on a weekly basis, and I want to know does that effect my posture.Also does consuming some vitamins increase my muscle strength or is that just a myth.
    Thank you very much

  46. Please could you reply i have rib flare and rounded shoulders and postier pelvic tilt please could you help i have difficulty breathing and back pain most the time

  47. dear Mark, im Brazilian and cant write well in english Sorry.

    Hoping to receive an answer about my problem: my ribs are outward when im erect, but If i hide them like the floor exercise i have tô crouch too much só my back and Head curves forward, If i try tô align my Head and back, the oposite occurs and ribs show (my tshirts always seem that i have a bulge in stomach when im erect, and its seems wrong and ugly because im a slim guy)

    thanks If tou could read that message. god bless you for your awsome work

  48. Hi mark,

    I have a dipped chest as well as flared ribs (i think they’re flared ribs) and i was wondering if i will still be able to fix it with these exercises. i am also still quite young so i don’t want to develop an hunch from the exercises like you said might happen. do you have any tips to prevent this like maybe going slow so the ribs can adapt?? i’m not sure.

  49. Hi Mark. I’ve been reading several of your blog posts because I recently learned — as a middle-aged female — that I have pectus excavatum and mild scoliosis. The diagnosis explains a lot. I know that with my flared ribs and the tightness in my chest and back from sitting at a computer all day (add chronic anxiety to that) that I need to address a situation that is worsening. But as you say in the post, there isn’t much you can do about genetics. Nevertheless I am finding by doing some of the stretches and exercises you recommend that I am opening up my chest and feeling relief. The irony is that I was a yoga addict and did way too much power yoga for years until I ended up with really sore lats and serratus anterior muscles (from a lot of chaturangas). I’m trying to be more gentle with myself and really focus on breathing as well. In so many of us who are wired to be anxious, there is chronic shallow breathing. I wish there was more useful info out there for adult women with pectus excavatum. It’s more common in men. I really appreciate your posts. Thank you.

    • Hi Ann,

      Thank you for commenting. Great to hear that you feel your chest is opening up with some of the exercises.

      Pectus excavatum may not be able to be completely reversed, but I do believe it can be improved!

      Also – If you wanted some exercises for the mild scoliosis, check out this blog post: Scoliosis Exercises.


  50. Hi,
    My name is Benjamin. I have a ribflare. I personally caused it when i was little by expanding my ribs to its limits, till it took the shape(like 5yrs ago).
    Now i seriously hate it but i don’t know how to get it fixed, help me out.
    The worst part if it is, ribs didn’t expand evenly, one is outer than the other.
    please, help me.

  51. Hi Mark,

    I’ve attached some pics of my little daughter. It seems that she has a flared ribs. Do you think it’s related to the increased arch of the lower back in this particular case? Are those exercises work for kids as well?

    Thanks. Jim.

    • Hey Jim,

      It’s hard to tell from the photo angle, but it looks like she might have minor “pectus excavatum”. Have a quick google search to see if it fits with what your daughter is presenting with.

      She also has a degree of Scoliosis in the spine, Winged scapula, and downward rotated scapula.

      The rib flare can be influenced by hyperlordosis as well.

      Exercises are great for kids, but compliance is usually the issue!


      • Hey Jim! have you considered taking your daughter to a Pilates studio? Pilates is focused around corrective posture exercises and really jives with dancers. I don’t know how young your daughter is but pilates is for every age!

  52. Hello mark

    I am from the Netherlands and i am 17 years old. I have on the left side a flared rib and i hate it. I have almost a sixpack and i do fitness. How long do i need to say bye at my flared rib with your exercises?
    Please let me now and also a thanks for the exercises.

  53. Hello Mark, I am recovering from a Pectus Excavatum surgery and I am wondering what the best exercises are for completely getting rid of this rib flare

  54. Hi mark, I’ve had flared ribs for a long time and never knew what it was until I saw this article. So helpful and seeing what caused it it’s my lack of true shoulder flexion, but I have a few questions. I have scoliosis and I was born with fused vertebrae‘s in my lower back so it’s very hard for me to get that true Flexion that causes the rib flares. Are these exercises still recommend? I’m just afraid that I’ll try to work on it but it’ll just come back.

    • Hey Jordan,

      You can still do these exercises to address your Rib flare.

      On top of doing shoulder exercises to help improve your shoulder mobility, I would also recommend:
      1. Stretch the chest wall.
      2. Regaining control of the scapula (Google: Scapula CARs)
      3. Stretch out the latissimus dorsi and triceps


  55. Hey mark, ive noticed my rib flare as I’ve gotten older and I was wondering by doing these exercises everyday, how long will it take? In other words how long did it take you because I’m 15 years old.

  56. Hi Mark,
    Have you ever heard of flared ribs causing digestive problems (like reflux) or problems with appetite/eating?

  57. Hi there! I messaged you in private on Facebook, but got an automated message which redirected me to under the blogs (aka the comments).
    I’d like to ask for advice.
    I’ve got APT (Anterior pelvic tilt), which I’ve somewhat changed from severe (former overweight PC gamer and current digital artist) to mild, sagging shoulder, one-sided neck immobility, 1 flared side of the ribs (which I thought was muscullar imbalance, but I learned more about flared ribs) and winged scapula. I’ve read that every group of stretches should be done 2x a week or more, but having to spend 2+ hours a day is very hard to fit in my schedule. Any tips or advice. Which should I prioritize until at least the summer vacation? Thank you in advance!

    • Hey Hey Mario,

      My recommendation is to try out all of the exercises first.

      From here – you will need to determine which exact exercises are helping you out the most.

      As everyone is different and needs to focus on different things, it is a bit hard to tell you which ones are the best to prioritize.

      I would pick one postural deviation that is affecting most of your symptoms, and focus on that for now. Tend to the others ones once you are happy with the your progression with the one you are currently working on.


      • is it possible to have a rib flare on one side only and still have it be intierly muscular and not be a malformation or the bone or cartilage ?

    • Hi Mario, It sounds like I have similar issue as well. I would like to connect with you if possible. My email is I am not a health practionare but i’s important to connect with people that have similar things they are trying to heal

  58. Hi Mark!

    I have been dealing with very tight ribs for so long and Im so happy I found your post! I was a dancer my whole life, however I got badly injured and herniated my disc. Even before my injury, I remember my ribs always protruding out. I have a problem now, that whenever I workout or do any type of exercises, my ribs become so tight and overwork so much that I have to stop and stretch. Additionally, my upper back is always tight and in spasm. Im not able to do any type of work out or exercises because my upper back gets really tight and begins to pinch. When I try to do exercises for my core, I find that I still only use my ribs. For example when I do a plank, my ribs and upper back overwork so much that they both begin to hurt and I have to stop. Any suggestions?

    • Hey Tal,

      Hard to say exactly what’s happening without seeing you, but my first guess would be to check your anterior abdominal strength.

      This area helps pull the lower ribs down.

      This is especially important during the plank.

      You might need to regress to an inclined position (eg. forearms on a bench) to allow you to engage the appropriate muscles properly.


  59. Hi Mark,
    I wanted to let you know how helpful this article has been in solving a problem I’ve had regarding how to sit during meditation. When sitting quietly and focusing on breathing, I would do my best to “sit up straight “, but what ultimately happened was I would take a deep chest breath and push the bottoms of my ribs forward . I would keep that same posture throughout the meditation and ended up feeling tense and short of breath. It was making meditation a very stressful experience. The reason I found your article is that I’ve had realizations from running and walking that I can move more easily when the muscles right below the ribs are contracting so i was curious as I love knowing how things work. When Googling about the muscles below ribs, I found your post and it also mentioned breathing, which made me even more curious. I think that having my ribs up and out was keeping my abdominal muscles in a continuous stretch that didn’t allow me to breath comfortably. I was automatically breathing just fine in every day life, but when I was making an “effort” to sit up straight, I made things worse. I’ve changed my meditation posture and am able to sit comfortably and breathe easily without effort. I’ll also use your recommended exercises to keep strengthening my body. I was really struggling to breath during meditation and couldn’t understand why! Thank you so much for your excellent article.

  60. Hi Mark,
    I’ve seen you’ve answered to a few people about rip braces, but my question is related to flared ribs due to paralysis. On one side of my body I have flared ribs because I dont have as much core strength, the other side is fine because i have miniscule core strength.
    Would braces be a good strategy to get my ribs back in place due to lack of core function? If so, how often should i wear the brace?

    • Hi Davis,

      I generally haven’t had to prescribe a brace for flared ribs before.

      I usually find that the appropriate exercises are able to address this issue.

      However – if you really wanted to wear a brace, I would only wear it when you are loading your body more than what it can handle.


  61. Hi Mark,

    I’ve had flared ribs for some time now, and by reading all these posts I can see why! I’m a 52 y o mom of 2 and I’ve recently (2 1/2 months ago) had spinal fusion from L5 to T10 to correct scoliosis. I was an athlete all my life, but back pain over the past 6 months, and then recuperation from the surgery has left me WAY out of shape, as you might imagine. I’m also a sloucher and have to work hard just to remember to stand up straight. I work on the computer all day for my job so that doesn’t help. Are there modifications for some of these exercises for my situation?

    • Hi Joanna,

      You should be able to do all the exercises. (But if there are doubts, you should ask the surgeon)

      There may be some limitations on how far you can push your spine due to the fusion. Focus on getting as much movement as you can throughout the exercise, but also make sure you aren’t forcing your spine into positions that fusion won’t allow.


  62. i had restarted circuit weight training after a gap of nearly 1 year and after few weeks i started getting on the lower rib cage on sides sections of both right and left … although it started with lower back pain initially for a week but that ok now but its shifted to both of the lowers rib sides and its been nearly a week as well.

    is there any exercise which can cure this pain

  63. Hi,
    I came across your post while I was searching for my problem and I guess I have a flared rib. I would like to start treating my self and I would really appreciate your advice on What to begin with first. It is also would be useful if u could post a video for all the exercises related to this post.
    Very much appreciate your assistant

    • Hey Rana,

      I would start doing the exercises mentioned in the blog post. From here, see what exercises benefit you the most and stick with those.


  64. Dear Mark, I am so glad I have found yoir page of invaluable information.
    I had 4 x 10 pound baby boys in 2 yr spacing. My youngest is 10 and I feel my body has taken a toll. Most notably is my rib flare and general bad posture.
    I love to exercise (mostly cadio) but I am going to also add the above exercises.
    I am thinking if I do them 3 x a day? I was wondering if you think pilates might help also?

      • Hey mark i didn’t know where to post. I have this wicked scapula tension that is causing me serious pain. It has been with all day. Normally i can warm up and stretch it out. Been trying all day. Nothing. So I went for the ibuprofen. Still… nothing. I was born with out a right pectoral muscle. I have the minor but not the major. How would that affect me when I do my weights/yoga/etc?

        I am over this. Thoughts?


      • Hey Zazhary,

        If you have pain between the shoulder blades, I would check this blog post out:

        Shoulder blade pain

        If you do no have a pec major, your shoulder may not be as strong when it come to weights/yoga. (But – the good news is that the body will learn to adapt to the stress!)


      • Hey Mark, is there something I can do if I can’t even put my full back flat on the wall while standing? And also how do you keep your ribs down?

      • Hey Carson,

        The exercises (esp. the stretches) are designed to help it make it easier to keep your ribs down and back flat.

        However- it does take time for your tight structures to release to allow this to happen.

        Try your best to keep it flat. Don’t worry too much if it is not 100% flat. Do the best you can, and over time, it should become even flatter.


  65. Hi Mark!

    Just about exactly 2 years ago I was in fantastic shape working out for many years I am a female 5’5” 120 lbs I have a solid core very toned and muscular with a lot of the weight that I carried because I am very slender by nature. A few years back I lifted a very very heavy box moving my office for my business and at the same time as being very careful with my lower back and I know I injured something because I haven’t been the same since. From what I can tell I may have back rib flare. If I lay down on my back it feels like my right rib is elevated a little bit more than the left rib and if you tried to put an arm underneath my back lower back just below my rib cage you can do it easily on the right side but not the left. I have very limited motion because my muscles from what I’ve been told from my normal chiropractor he’s never seen such tight muscles and I also get very limited range of motion trying to put socks on or getting out of bed it’s like I have no bend at all or flexibility . . it’s like I am stuck in an upright position with no give at all. I also get at time some numbness in the right hip pelvic region and with some discomfort and tightness in that area of it also at times will come down the front of my right quad . And to add, I can’t even sit down on the couch and lay back and relax because I have what seems to be a crooked stance and it causes my muscles to get so tight and uncomfortable . I can’t lay back and have my back just fall into the couch because the muscles are so tight there is no give and it’s very uncomfortable. I have to sit upright in a chair I can’t lean back or relax because like I said the right side below my rib cage has a big concave indent And the left side is just straight now and right side doesn’t seem to maybe be in line with my pelvis. I am at my wits end and I know that there’s got to be a way to get myself back so I can work out again and feel good because I can’t do much at all even driving in the car sitting back is uncomfortable. I am desperate for some answers to get my life back I can’t even tell you how uncomfortable this is. I took some xrays and back looks ok with no ruptures or bulged disc issues. I know I must have pulled something out of alignment. This is my guess. Please can you help!? THANK YOU KINDLY!

    • Hi Diega,

      The first thing you should prioritize is getting your normal movement back. After this – you can go for your postural issues.

      It sounds like the muscles on the right side of your spine are locked in EXTENSION up which could be as a response to how you picked up the heavy box.

      As there is no significant findings on your scans, there should be no reason why you can’t get your back moving again :)

      Here are some exercises that might help:

      1. Knees to chset

      2. Cat camel
      3. Sit slightly slouched and try to breathe into the area where it hurts. This will help reduce the tone of the muscles.

      Make sure that these exercises are pain-free and comfortable to perform.

      (If in any doubt, please consult with your chiropractor)


  66. Hi Mark,

    I’ve been a long-distance swimmer for over 15 years now and have just recently retired and am happily maintaining a normal active life. As I’ve been adjusting, I’ve been really trying to improve my posture as I think overuse has contributed heavily to my pain and discomfort over the years.

    I have pretty heavily flared ribs and slumped shoulders, which I’ve attributed to 5+ hours of freestyle over the years. My shoulders are only comfortable above my head or resting higher up, similar to how I use to swim. No matter how hard I try, I sleep better on my stomach and often end up so. If I try to correct my rib flare, my shoulders slump further. If I try to fix my shoulders, my ribs flare out worse than ever.

    Additionally, I have an anterior pelvic tilt. I used to have imbalanced hips as a result, but with a shoe lift and some strengthening exercises, theyre back in alignment. But basically, as a result, I have trouble keeping my spine aligned and can’t kesp my muscles loose no matter how hard I try. I’m trying to run and such, but my hip flexors, calves, and chest/shoulders get so tight so easily.

    Essentially, what I’m asking is, where do I start? There’s a lot of moving pieces and they’re all connected. I’d say my rib flare is most prominent and easy to spot right on. Where do I start?

    Tight + confused

      • Hey mark!! I have posted many times but my reply is not visible when i check after few days…mark my one aide of shoulder is forward it doesnot go back and same side of breast is pull forward and bone below the breast is more forward…same side of butt is too forward when i walk i feel that same aide of leg seems short and some of spine goes to left side

  67. Hi. I am a 47 year old woman with three kids. I was a gymnast, and when my kids go to the trampoline park, I bounce with them. I have re-learned a lot of my old tricks. Yesterday I was there doing a trick I’ve done a million times- jump off block, bounce into “barani” then directly into a back layout- but after it I started to jump again and had sharp pain in my lower left ribs with every bounce. The trick itself did not hurt, just after, which was weird. It has continued to hurt since then, the type of sharp sudden pain that makes you catch your breath and stop. When I look in a mirror and raise my chest a bit, my ribs on both sides pop out like in the first image in your post (without the muscles!) as they always have as long as I can remember, since earliest childhood. However now, on the left, one rib is very prominent and appears distinctly “out of place”. Even my husband could see it, which is saying something.

    Background- I was born with a clubfoot, had surgery at age 3 after casting and Dennis Brown shoes didn’t work, and am left with a left leg that has a skinny calf (“stork leg deformity”) and is anatomically a full inch shorter than my right. This caused a 10° functional scoliosis, and in my 20’s I began wearing a 1 inch lift in my left shoe. That was after my gymnastics career had finished, and yes I had low back pain and began seeing a chiropractor, which helped. I then became a chiropractor myself!

    Reading your excellent article shed so much light on all kinds of things for me, despite the fact that I myself have some training that is more PT-like than the average chiropractor and I am very aware of the importance of spinal stability training to prevent re-injury, etc. My question to you is, can these exercises be done in an acute situation like mine? I highly doubt that I broke anything, no direct impact to my ribs and no breathing issues, and no osteoporosis that I know of. I am generally very fit for a 47 year old, normal weight and very flexible. Thoughts? Thank you in advance.

    • Hello Amy,

      If the pain is distinctively along the lower left ribs, it may possible be a strain to the muscles that attach that area (I am leaning towards your obliques as they control your torso rotation. Perhaps even intercostals but less likely if your breathing is fine)

      If it isn’t that, then my next guess would be referred pain from the spine, maybe around T7-9?

      Any changes to the tone in the muscles around the area can cause a rib to “go out of place”. If you try to slide it back into place and take 5 deep breaths, is there any tension?


  68. Off topic, but how did you get you legs to be that thick ? I want that. Do you have a specific lower body routine? Talking about both calves and thighs.

    • Haha! This is the best comment yet!

      I do a lot of unilateral work with my legs.

      Eg. split stance dead lift, lunges, calf raises (standing and sitting), leg press.

      All the usual stuff for legs!

      Good luck.


  69. I have weak hip flexors caused by neuropathy in my lower legs. I attend Barre Class 5 days a week. I cannot master the roll up while laying down. One of the members is a nurse and showed me how my ribs should be (she had me lay on my back and pulled them inward). The sensation was incredible. I had no idea my ribs were flaring but did notice they protrude especially when laying down. The member also commented that she watched my hip raises and that I arch my back too much which can add to the ribs sticking out. My abs are weak but not for lack of trying on my part. Do you have any insight? I just can’t get over the feeling of someone closing my ribs for me. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off my body and my mind.

    • Hey Meems,

      Regarding the rib flare:

      On top of weak abdominals and a hyper extended lower back, I would also check if you have:
      1. an exaggerated thoracic kyphosis.

      2. Tight hip flexors

      3. Forward head posture

      All of the above can make the rib flare more prominent when lying on your back.

      Having weak hip flexors will make the roll up exercise quite difficult as you rely on both the abdominal and hip flexor muscle group to control the torso. If you are having difficulty with this movement, I would suggest that you hold onto a resistance band in front of you so that you can use your arms to help pull yourself up/lower down.

      As you get better, use a thinner resistance band. And then eventually, no band at all.


  70. Heyy Mark,I having problem with my misplaced ribs due to an accident several years ago.My front ribs seem to be likely sank inwards.It doesn’t look normal to me.

  71. I found your page searching for a solution. Currently I’m under acuupunture therapy due to gallbladder meridian issues. I’ve observed that the ribs on the left side come outside like swelling. Same with the first bone from the cest box. On the same time another swelling but at muscles level on the pelvis area. If you have some posture solutions would be good. Thank you.

  72. Hello mark.
    I saw one commenter stating that his flared ribs make it hard to see results from his abdominal workouts. I have flared ribs so im wondering is it because it makes your stomach stick out more? Also i was born with my flared ribs. Will they exercises help me or do they only help with someone who has developed them over time.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Dempsey,

      If your ribs are genetically and structurally that way, then there might be some limitations on how far you can improve them.

      That being said, making a few adjustments in the posture with the above exercises might help you out.


  73. Hello Mark,

    I have horrible rib flare which is also making it hard for me to see results from my workouts on my stomach. I know my posture is bad as well. I have a slightly rounded back and feel like my shoulders are always hunched which I try to correct. I work on a computer 10 hours a day. My question is do I do all those exercises everyday to correct the rib flare?

    • Hey Necia,

      You don’t need to do ALL of the exercises mentioned…but it’s a good idea to try them all out first to see which ones you feel your body responds to the best.


  74. Hi, Mark. I had a twisting accident/trauma that dented in the ribs on my left side and flared out the lower ribs. Round about from true rib 3 to 7 is indented and the false ribs kind of flare outwards from beneath the dent (the floating ribs kind of stayed where they were below). I feel like the dent wants to repair itself over time but the flared-forward lower ribs keep a sort of tension on the true ribs and prevent healing. Is this flare fixable through exercises and which of your exercises would you recommend for this? Thanks.

    • Hi Charlie,

      I’m having some difficulties visualising what you are describing.

      Is there a photo?

      Any rib flare at the front of the lower ribs will benefit from the mentioned exercises.


      • Hi Mark,

        Thanks. I uploaded a photo here

        As you look at the photo, the dent is just to the left of the lower sternum/xiphoid in the costal region. The flared-forward ribs are visible beneath.

        Would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again.

  75. Hi Mark,

    So glad I came across your page on all these useful workouts. Atop of all these, do you recommend a brace as well? I’ve read conflicting reviews about them.
    Thanks a lot!


    • Hi,

      I am not a huge fan of braces purely because people get too reliant on it.

      I strongly believe that if you really focus on the exercises and posture awareness, you will not require braces.


  76. Thank you for posting the information on rib flare. It is really helpful. I am having a bit of a problem and I have been to see my primary care doctor and a spine specialist both are saying the problem is muscular and doesn’t need surgery to correct. About two years ago I took a job the required that I work at computer for long hours ( up to 18 hours a day ) I got up and stretched up when I could, but it never seemed to help much. My problem started with my shoulders winging out to the side and hunching up . My clavicle has popped out of place on my right shoulder, and my left shoulder in stuck in a forward position, My chiropractor tells me I have rather sever forward head posture and my ribs in the front are crushed together . My thoracic spine is bent forward perpetually and my left side in twisted in up and my right side is twisting inward towards my back. I have three bi lateral bulging discs in my back at l3/l4,l4/l5, and l5/s1. My low back is stuck in a posterior tilted position I can’t seem to get it out of. My sacrum is stuck in a posterior position as well , my right ilium is severely twisted inward as is the rest of my leg. my right femur is rotated out and suck in an anterior superior position and my right foot’s arch has completely dropped. The entirety of my right leg is rotated inward and stuck in an anterior position including my knee. My right leg is stuck in a position where it looks longing then my left but it is not. My right hip has completely locked up and walking is extremely difficult as my pelvis is stuck in this position and i keep pulling muscles and spraining tendons when I try to walk. My left ilium is stuck in a forward position with my femur stuck rotated in ward my left leg is locked in a bent position and the muscle are guarding so much I cant fully straiten it. Both sides of my pubic bone feel like they are posterior making my leg twist inward and both my legs feel like they are bowing outward with all of my weight going on the out side of my legs and I am stuck walking on the out side of my foot on both feet. My muscle spasm all the time and the muscle guarding get so severe that I i am perpetually suck in a bent forward position ever when walking, I cant sit at all now, and I AM PULLING muscles and injuring ligaments and tendons just by standing up or walking. My leg and back muscles have gotten so tight that when I try to walk. I am stuck walking on the ball of my foot every time i talk a step I am missing the heel strike. I am in pain all of the time and this has pretty much destroyed my ability to lead a normal life. I have had a lot of blood work done and an MRI. I have ligament thickening on the ligament flavour around l4/l5 and l5/s1. Just laying down has become painful and I has become extremely;y difficult for me to move. i live in a rural area and the closest PT is 250 miles away advice would be appreciated as to what I should do excessive wise/ self corrections for my hip problems etc. or how I could sleep with out being in pain. I have gone to a massage therapist before and my muscles relaxed but It just made my pain worse, it felt like my joints just collapsed and my muscles would not support them.

    • Great post! Question for you, what do you think is the cause of this outside of genetics/ Pectus? Would you say inhaling from sport/ fitness and the correlation from inhaling a lot from the high intensity eventually could make the rib cage stuck in inhalation? Or do you think it’s more or a weakness in the obliques that eventually just let the cage drift up from the battle of scalenes? Do you also think this is a cause of forward head and having the fhp be a compensation?

      • Hey Mike,

        You are right. A lot of people with prominent rib flares are stuck in the inhalation phase.

        As a result, certain muscles are going to make the rib flare up/out and other muscles aren’t going to be able to resist this motion (eg. your obliques).

        In regards to breathing, your accessory muscles such as your SCM, scalenes (esp. the anterior) tend to be overworked. This can cause the head to migrate forward due to the muscular pull and/or the head will translate forward to help the accessory muscles work more efficiently.


  77. Hey Mark!
    Thank you for this amazing help! I understand that it will take quite a while to fix this issue but I’m wondering how long until I see some results? Just so I can check and make sure that I’m doing everything correctly and am on the right track. Please let me know,
    Thank you!

  78. Hello,thanks for sharing these exercises with us! I would like to know whats your opinion about Pectus Carinatum, is there any way to get rid of it with exercises or the only two possible ways is surgery and building muscles to cover it??

    • Hey Stefan,

      Pectus carinatum is a structural issue so there may be some limitations on how much you can affect it.

      Building up your chest muscles is a good way to reduce its appearance.


  79. Hi Mark,
    Im quite young and have had a flared rib for as long as i can remember is this normal? They kind of go apart from eachother and stick out a lot. When i lie in bed my back raises and towards my lower back it doesn’t touch the matress, my ribs also stick out when lying down and I don’t know how to fix it as i also have a shoulder problem! This page is useful and i have only been doing the exercises for a week now but thabk you so much!

  80. Hello. I have flared ribs (mostly on the left side) and I’m starting these exercices. Are there any other things one can do throughout the day to contribute to those exercises (besides keeping good posture).

  81. hey Mark, I really like your page and hope that it will help me.
    I have two questions, 1: I kinda have flared ribs but under them i have like an indentation, what is that ?(more on one side) and this makes me wonder if my ribs are broken.
    second question, while i’m performing these exercises and use core breathing complex, I can sometimes hear a strange noise in my rib or in this area.
    Thank you.

    • Hey Mat,

      The ‘indentation’ that you refer to is usually due to the flared ribs causing the lower ribs to flare outwards.

      Have you had any past injuries to the area ? Or born with a structurally different shaped rib cage?


  82. Sir . I realized that I have rib flare recently this year , I’m Fourteen Years old. Will my ribs be go back to normal structure if i do these exercises

  83. Hi Mark, came across your articles earlier this year, and they are very informative! I have flared ribs due to incorrect breathing and have been doing some of these excercises for a bit, along with some attempts to strengthen my back muscles. How would you force yourself to breathe correctly when sleeping? Once I’m not cognitively engaged, my upper back tense up to anchor my rib cage, and I’ll be breathing with a relaxed core again. This causes a lot of pain in the morning, and since my back muscles are unable to rest, they can’t really develop. Thank you!

    • Hi Meerkat,

      You will not be able to force yourself to breathe properly whilst sleeping as this is all under the unconscious control of the autonomic system.

      If breathing is your goal, a better way to achieve more efficient breathing is to get your joints and muscles to get you to assume a more neutral sleeping position to allow for the breathing muscles to naturally do their function.

      You may need to have a browse through these posts to help you out:

      Anterior pelvic tilt


  84. Hi i am Ashish i have sunken chest and i have consulted the doctor cor which he says it caused due to lack of calcium i asked him if my chest can be corrected as i m 19 now for which he surgery is solution but don’t do that i am unsatisfied with his answer so can u tell me exercises to correct my sunken chest

  85. Hello , i have a ribflare that is only one my left side. i have heard this could be due to a (forwardly rotated left hemi-Pelvic) . Just wondering as you mentioned another post at the bottom of this one.

  86. hey, my left rib is flared and I’m rather young, so I was wondering on average how long it would take to shift it back into place, and if some type of tension around my ribs would contribute to the shifting of my flared rib back to normal.

    • Hey Tim,

      In terms of how long it is going to take – this really varies from person to person.

      The best thing to do is to get started on those exercises asap!


  87. Hi thank you for the post.
    I’ve only recently heard of titled rib cage, after seeing a physiotherapist who diagnosed me with this.

    I have hyper mobility and so hyper lordosis, which I’ve been activity trying to fix but to no avail for over 12months.

    I currently do whole body workouts and concentrate on stretching all my muscles but maybe that’s not enough?

    Would you recommend to stop exercising certain parts of the body, in order to correct the titled rib/hyper lordosis and then once it’s fixed, go back to regular exercise?
    If you think this is a good idea, which muscles in particular should I avoid exercising??

    Thanks Mark

    • Hey Christine,

      You can continue your normal work outs, but I would perhaps prioritise anterior abdominal strengthening (eg. dead bugs exercises)


    • Hi Ankit,

      I’ll be 100% honest with you and tell you that I haven’t really seen anyone specifically for this issue.

      Although, there may be limitations on how much you can change a structural issue such as pectus excavatum, I am sure that it can at least be somewhat improved.


    • @Ankit, Athlean-X(Jeff Cavaliere) has some good exercises for Pectus Excavatum. I have read many different ppl who have done exercises to greatly improve this condition. Though the structure I imagine would stay the same, but the muscles surrounding it with certain exercises greatly improve it. I too have it, though not one doctor ever mentioned it to me. Many years ago I had a generic chest X-ray (check up) and when I got the paperwork on it, that’s when I saw I had this. Things are made worse when your posture is bad and the muscles are weak. Anyways, you should go on youtube and look up Athlean-x and put type in pectus excavatum.

  88. What if I have rib flare along with posterior pelvic tilt, even when my arms are down?

    It does get more noticeable when I raise my arms (I have rounded shoulders)

    • Hi Max,

      You can still do the above exercises, however, you will also benefit from doing exercises specifically for the posterior pelvic tilt.

      With the dead bug exercise, you can also add a slight forward tilt in the pelvis if you are concerned that you will make your posterior tilt worse.


  89. Hey Mark,
    This was really helpful. But I am still confused because apart from the rib flare I feel one particular rib on my right side protrudes more than the others. Is it something I should get checked with the doctor? I noticed little protrusion over the area around a year back and since then I’ve been pressing it to check for any abnormality. I wonder pressing that rib has made it protrude so much more now.

  90. Hi Mark,
    I am 17 yrs old and I have my left rib inflated than the right so when in tighten my abs only the inflated sided abs are visible,what should I do to correct it ?

  91. Hi mark I’m 14 years old is it normal for me to have rib flare and I have abs but that my core muscles do not seem to be the problem

    • Hey Hayden,

      If the muscles are not causing your rib flare, then the only remaining reason would be that your bones have formed in the flared position.

      Please also note that having strong 6 pack abs does not equate to a strong, functional core.


      • What would you do in this case then? I feel I also grew up with uncorrected flared ribs, how could I fix it? Because I just found out that this is a real thing and not just my ribs being strange all my life.

  92. Hi Mark,

    I was diagnosed with scapular dyskinesis and I the orthopedic believes I have a pinched nerve after shoulder and neck pain. Now where my ribs meet starts to hurt and I bought an abdominal binder and it makes the pain go away. Any suggestions while I wait for my physical therapist appointment? Also I ordered a posture brace on Amazon because I think it will help? Please let me know!



  93. Hi Mark,

    I am so glad I came across this post. Currently a college student, I was diagnosed with thoracic scoliosis in elementary school (it’s at 40 degrees now, not expected to worsen according to my doctor). Unfortunately, at the time, none of my doctors addressed the fact that I also had leg length discrepancy. My left leg is longer than my right, and as a result, my spine is also tilted to the right. After reading this, I realized that I have flared ribs and have problems with breathing and constipation. As a child, I always thought that those issues weren’t really issues. But I’ve been dealing with it for so long and as time passed, I’ve noticed the symptoms affecting my everyday lifestyle more and more. I plan on visiting a doctor again once I’m on break from school and addressing these concerns. However, I wanted a quick input from you. Based on the information I’ve provided, do you think a surgery is the only solution to fix my problems? To be honest, I don’t feel significant pain in my back. It’s just the rib and how it’s associated to my breathing and constipation problems. Thank you!

    • Hey Josh,

      A combination of rib flare and scoliosis +/- pelvis issues can indeed impact your breathing and constipation issues. (but I would always consult a doctor to determine if there may be other causes)

      Having a rib flare already tells me your main breathing muscle (the diaphragm) is flattened out. This means it does not work efficiently to draw air deep into your lungs.

      A poor positioned rib cage may also be related to a poorly positioned pelvis which then can affect the toilet muscles.

      IF your issues are due to your posture and you can get your posture in a more neutral position, you should see improvements by correcting postural deviations.

      Addressing your rib flare is a good place to start. But I would consider see what is happening with your pelvis too!


      • I have a ribflare on only my left side, i have looked online and heard that i may have a forwardly rotated pelvic on that side. Could this also be a internally rotated hip and externally rotated hip causing this flare to occur. I also have a slighlty high hip on the side of the flare if that has any connection.

  94. Hey Mark,

    Just wondering if this is something that can be fixed at any age. I’m 28 and want to start correcting my posture. Also, how long would you predict for me to start seeing results if I did this every other day?


    • Hi Josh,

      Yes – as long as your rib flare is not structural, then there is always something you can improve on.

      It takes at least 6 weeks to learn how to do these exercises efficiently, but it can take longer for it to be fixed.

      In terms of seeing any/some results, you should be able to see some improvement straight away once you can engage the right muscles.


  95. Hello Mark, I’ve been checking out your tips for anterior pelvic tilt (amongst other things), and after a visit to my GP yesterday, discovered that I have flared ribs which account for a range of issues – tight hip flexors, jammed hips with limited external rotation, forward head posture, tight rib cage etc!!! These exercises are fantastic, thankyou. Your instructions are clear and i can easily visualise that which is not displayed. I will begin today… I’ll let you know how I get on. Cheers Catherine

  96. Hi, I wanted to wear corsets due to my posture, but can they fix this issue as well?
    Of course, still doing the exercises, but wearing a underbust corset for tight lacing, do you think it will help?

      • Btw Mark,
        As the rib flare goes down, hunchback and rounded shoulders has been getting worse as you said. Would it be more effective to do the rounded shoulder stretches/exercises 2x/week or the hunchback stretches/exercises daily along with the rib flare exercises? I noticed there’s some overlapping info, but not sure which is more effective in this case or how often to do the exercises.
        Thanks again :)

      • Hey Cara,

        If you have all the postural issues mentioned, then I would do all of the different exercises for them!

        As to which one to focus on, I feel that addressing the hunch back should take priority in most cases. (but not all!!)


  97. Hey Mark!
    Why are my comments not showing? I commented on this article and on the Knee Valgus one. It showed that its waiting fr moderation and then disappeared? Help pls.

  98. I just want to say HI and Thank you ;-)
    All your posts are so awesome, I been following you for a while now and learn so much from you.

  99. Great article. When you activate the core complex e.g. on wall angels why do you flatten your back? This outs you in posterior pelvic tilt also or is it neutral no?

    • Hey Dave,

      Great observation!

      Ideally, you want a neutral pelvis (maybe even slight posterior pelvic tilt) with the ribs coming down.

      The focus would be on getting the back flight by depressing the front ribs as opposed to tucking your pelvis.


  100. Hello Mark , thank you for publishing all this information and knowledge of yours on the internet I really apreciate it . I just discovered your blog today while searching for metods of fixing my rounded shoulders , anterior pelvic tilt and flared ribs (seems that when I search for one I find I have another ). And it seems I’ve found the right place , I will definittely start doing all this exercises . Altought I want to ask you something if you are kind to answer me , How long does it take to fix my problems or atleast to se results , and if I manage to fix my problems can I stop doing the exercises or should I continue with them ? Also if I don’t have a massage ball is there anything I can use instead ? Thank you again for your help .

    • Hi Victor,

      It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take to completely fix it. You want to make sure that you see at least small improvements (either in your posture, or with ease of the exercise) each time.

      Once fixed, you should still continue to do them. (But you won’t have to do them as regularly.)

      If you don’t have a massage ball, anything that is firm and can press into your muscles will be fine.


      • Highmark my name is James Idol from Wilmington North Carolina I have a tight hip left side I have problems trying to stretch and getting it loose also my lower back on the left side I can never get it Loose where I can do squats every time I do a squat it ends up hurting me more is there anything different that I can do to make it stronger so I can do squats thank you

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