RUA Rib Thruster?

If you’re interested in reading more on ideas presented in the article below, I suggest reading Alignment Matters. If you’d like movement instruction via video, start with this Alignment Snack.

I think it’s the perfect time, in this political climate to ask: Where do you stand?

Try this.  Stand with your heels three to four inches from a wall. Press your thigh bones toward the wall, letting your tailbone relax. Next, bring your shoulders, arms, and back of the head against the wall. You should have a small space underneath your waist where your low back naturally curves in, but your middle back (the ribs/bra strap/heart rate monitor area) should also be touching the wall.

Ahhhh! A rib thruster!
Ribs are all fixed. Notice the pelvis DIDN’T tuck when fixing them? That’e because they are different body parts!

If your middle back is not touching the wall, drop your ribs (allow your head and shoulders to move forward if you need to) until your mid-back touches.  If your head has to come off the wall in order to get your ribs back, this is how much excessive curve you have in your thoracic spine (called kyphosis.)  Many people “hide” their kyphosis by thrusting their ribs forward, but it is better to keep your ribs down and work on stretching these tight muscles (instead of manipulating the skeleton to hide them!)

If your waist is entirely on the wall, you are a tucker and are overly tucking your pelvis under, pulling the lumbar spine and the pelvic floor out of alignment.  Adjust this by tilting your tailbone out toward the wall until the space reappears, and follow the above directions to notice the curvature in your upper spine.

I’d like to point of that a very large amount of people are told in physical therapy, the orthopaedist’s office, and by their chiropractor that they are “sway backed” (see picture on the left) and to fix it by tucking the pelvis forward, i.e. bring it forward to match the ribs.  Using the wall as an alignment marker it becomes clear (hopefully) that what most people are doing is THRUSTING the ribs, not overly sticking out their bottom.  While the curvature of the spine looks excessive (cuz it is!) and the pressure on the low back feels painful (because it is!) this is an UPPER BODY ISSUE.  Tucking your pelvis under to decrease the pressure is a short-term solution that will give some relief but end up creating foot, knee, hip, and pelvic floor issues.  Mother Tucker!

To decrease lumbar disk degeneration, keep your perfect pelvis neutral (not tucked) and using an objective alignment marker (like a wall) introduce yourself to the real alignment instigator, your shoulder girdle.  And then do this:

Only work on dropping your ribs as you stretch your chest muscles, OK?


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19 thoughts on “RUA Rib Thruster?

  1. Oh my gosh! A bad posture habit I DON’T HAVE!! Thanks, Katy, you made my day. I must say, however, that lying on a foam roller like that looks kinda comfy; I might try it anyway. I must say, your PHOTOS are incredibly helpful. So many times I can’t quite grasp this alignment stuff when it is described in words but a photo makes me say ” aha!”

  2. More AWESOME information, Katy! WOW! I am amazed at how much I am learning and changing my own body with your critical, essential direction. I am using currently focusing on “Down There for Women” and “Smart Digestion” and these have made a world of difference, even for my patients who are beginning to employ your exercises!

    Keep it coming!!

  3. Thanks Katy for all your great help. I have been using the “Down there for Women” for help wiith my prolapse but the bonus for me was that my chronic hip pain has disappeared! I can sleep at night and am back to walking everyday!! Thank you.

    1. Carole! You made my day. Yes, PF issues are actually whole-body issues, so when you address PF stuff from the feet up, you fix it all! Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi katy I’m very interested in. your article. I am a kyphotic 20 year old male with mild scoliosis . I am a rib thruster. what advice could you give me, thinking of my posture really depresses me. And I want to fix it

    1. Jeremy, Read through some of the blogs – there is a lot of information here on how to get started changing the way you load and accelerate different pieces of your body, which all have an affect on your spine! – Katy

  5. Katy, it’s fantastic to see these pics against the mirror as you can really see the difference in two postures.

    When you say ‘drop your ribs’, do you mean pull them back towards the wall? And is it possible (and even desirable) to practice this exercise sitting down as well?

    I had to do a web search for ‘rib thrusting’ because I’d heard of the term from a teacher. I couldn’t find the article in your blog though. Is it possible to bump it so it’s more easily accessible? The pics alone are so informative!

  6. Katy, I have a bit of a problem doing this exercise. I don’t think that I have a traditional swayback/lordosis, but my posterior sticks out more than it does on the average person! This pushes me away from the wall a bit more, and when I do the exercise, I think that my lower middle back is maybe just off the wall. Do you have any suggestions for me?

  7. I have Scoliosis–getting worse–where do I start with your exercises? I have lots of back and right knee and hip pain. Really have to start exercising and change my way of walking, standing and sitting. What should I star on first. I thought my feet???

  8. Hi I am really concerned about the information you are giving. I have a Bachelor of Health Science and I have studied posture extensively myself. Through my study I believe that being a rib thruster is NOT kyphosis. Kyphosis is when your throracic spine is in excessive flexion (slumped posture) resulting in rolled in forward shoulders, a depressed ribcage which restricts the diaghram and a pokey out chin which puts your upper neck out of alignment. Tight muscles are sternocledomastoid, pects, upper abdominals. Long mucscles are erector spinae, lower and middle traps and rhomboids. In the picture to the left she is not in kyphosis. She has thoracic extension and her shoulder and head posture is quite neutral. The position she is standing is simply horizontal forward extension of the thoracic vertebrae. She is in fact the opposite of kyphosis because she is contracting her postural muscles (erector spinae) and since her shoulders are back in a retracted position she is working her lower and middle traps and rhomboids. I cannot give a reason for the cause of her posture with out assessing it myself, but it could be the fact she is bigger busted which may pull the rib cage forward or it could be the that her centre of gravity is slightly forward, this can be caused by the fact she is tight in lumbar spine &/or she does not use her glutes to centre her body when standing upright (pushing her general centre of gravity forward). I also wouldn’t recommend the upper stretch as it is only pushing the ribcage forward more and this women by looking at her posture does not appear to have tight pects. I would recommend working on spinal mobility to loosen the tight areas of the spine to bring it into a more neutral posture. I would also recommend assessing the normal standing posture of this person with a plumb line to see if in standing in a normal position if the hips and posture in general protrudes anteriorly. Could you please explain your reasons for saying the picture on the left is kyphotic.

  9. Hi I re read your article and had a friend explain her interpretation and I am sorry I don’t think I quite understood your concept so my apologies about that! I thought you were saying either that rib thrusting is kyphosis or people use kyphosis to hid rib thrusting (which I am thinking huh – how can this be?). My friend explained to me that rib thrusting is a way some people hide kyphosis – which totally makes sense to me. Any way apologies for jumping the gun on this one and obviously not reading thoroughly!

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