Is It Normal to Have a Large Visible Rib Cage

Many weightlifters commonly want to develop a wider upper body relative to their lower body to help them develop a Dorito build. However, some persons instead have a wider upper body because of large visible ribcages.  

Many persons with large visible ribcages have often felt insecure about them, believing them to be abnormal. However, this article helps to answer the question. 

What are ribcages?

Your rib cage includes your ribs, sternum, and spinal column, surrounding some of your vital organs, including your lungs, heart, liver, and stomach. The rib cage commonly contains several tissues that consist of ligaments, muscles, and tendons.

a man flexing his stomach to show his ribcage
a man flexing his stomach to show his ribcage

The ligaments, muscles, and tendons work together to ensure the ribcage’s stability and movement. As a result, the vital organs and tissues may be affected if the rib suffers from dysfunction or strain. 

The rib cage has various functions, each affecting your body differently. Some vital functions include breathing enhancement, protecting vital organs, and offering the necessary support to the shoulder girdle. Your lungs and diaphragm expand and contract whenever you take a breath.

What is flared rib?

A flared rib occurs when the frontal lower region of your rib cage protrudes outwards or sits unevenly, resulting in a visible ribcage. A flared rib may be characteristic of weak abdominal muscles, ineffective breathing, tight muscles, or absent optimal shoulder mobility.

a man with a flared ribs
a man with a flared ribs

Some people develop protruding ribs due to their genetic makeup. However, in several other cases, rib flare is often a result of improper breathing. Your breathing is vital to your movement and overall health, but several persons are unaware of proper breathing techniques. 

The lungs may be stuck with old air if you fail to completely exhale, making the rib protrusion more extreme.

The abdominal muscles are generally an essential part of the rib cage. For example, they ensure your rib cage is rightly positioned. However, the weakening of the muscles on the side of your body may result in such a side of the rib cage protruding through your skin or sitting irregularly.

Are visible rib cages normal?

There is typically no associated pain or injury with flared ribs. However, the condition may inhibit general body performance, especially if you are into sports, making you more susceptible to injury. Furthermore, flared ribs also make it challenging to fully exhale as good diaphragmatic breathing and proper rib alignment influence one another. 

A rib flare may also cause issues other than breathing, as it can also affect the back. This is because your thoracic spine remains extended when your ribs are flared. As a result, it weakens your shoulder muscles and compromises your shoulder’s health and stability. The phenomenon also causes the lumbar spine to excessively extend, resulting in an anterior tilt in the pelvis. This causes an imbalance between the back extensors, hip flexors, hamstrings, abdominals, and glutes.

Fixing flared ribs

Because of the potential issues it can result in, it is essential to address your flared ribs promptly. You should know that flared ribs do not resolve overnight; as such, you require consistency and dedication before seeing results. Here are some steps you can take to address protruding rib cages: 

Weight loss

Losing a substantial fat layer directly under your skin may make your rib cage appear smaller. Weight gain typically results from a high-calorie consumption that the body does not eventually expend or utilize for any activity. As a result, the body stores excess calories in fat deposits, influencing the rib cage’s circumference.

Weight loss typically does not necessarily alter the size of your rib cage. Nevertheless, it gives it an appearance of a smaller rib cage. When you actively carry out a healthy and effective weight loss regime, you reduce your overall body, as evident in your body measurement. 

Proper breathing techniques 

You can also address your flared ribs by adopting proper breathing techniques. Breathing efficiently and adequately allows you to engage your core muscles. You may inhale deeply to feel how your ribs expand. Ensure you pay attention to your ribcage’s movement. Next, breathe out or exhale forcefully, pushing out all the air in your lungs.

a woman performing a breathing exercise
a woman performing a breathing exercise

As you exhale following this pattern, your abs are engaged, and your ribs will start closing naturally. This pattern may be slightly difficult to maintain at every point, so you may want to take a break. 

While doing this, identify a middle ground where you can hold a comfortable breath, activate your abs, and keep your ribs closed. Likewise, ensure you remain in a proper standing position with a straight posture while breathing to enable you to breathe correctly.

Develop core strength 

Your abdominal muscles are responsible for pulling your rib cage downwards and inwards into a more neutral frame. As a result, flared ribs may result from weak abdominal muscles. You can subsequently begin suitable core exercises to make your abdominal muscles stronger. 

Basic core exercises include situps, abdominal crunches, planks, obliques, and ab rollers. You can also buy and try out the Ab Ripper X program, as it can help you develop your cores fast. However, because the program may be challenging for beginners, determine an appropriate tempo for yourself and progressively increase your rhythm as you get used to the current one. 

Core exercises are very flexible as you can perform them anywhere, including at home. However, you may also set up a home gym to develop other body parts. You can set up a home gym with a barbell, a few dumbbells, a squat rack, a pull-up bar, and perhaps a cable machine if you can afford it.

Yoga and ballet rib cage pose

Engaging in Yoga or ballet can help make your rib cage appear smaller, ensuring you stay stable and strong. This, in turn, allows you to remain in the best position and achieve and keep the suitable body alignment during workouts. During these classes, try to keep your ribs closed, ensuring your core remains strong throughout the program.