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Rib Mobility Exercieses

Rib Mobility Exercises! What if You Had Better Rotation and Rib Mobility?

exercises and drills female runners rib mobility exercieses rotation strength training Jun 21, 2023

In a previous Instagram post, I addressed the 3 key components all runners should include in their strength training:

1- Emphasis on organizing your center of mass over your stance leg

2- Emphasis on rotation & counterrotation

3️- Co-Contractions

Then I posted a poll in my stories asking which one everyone wanted to learn more about first. It was close but rotation/counter-rotation won out narrowly over organizing your center of mass over your stance leg. I’ll definitely expand more on the latter soon though. So let's jump into Rotation, counter rotation, and rib mobility exercises.


Running requires rotation!

All the way up and down the kinetic chain (we’ll focus on hips and torso here). Not too much, not too little… just right. Running is a forward motion, but rotation is key to effectively loading and propelling through every step of your stride.

This part is super cool when you think about it:

At toe-off, your pelvis is rotated as far to that side as it’s going to go. Then in the float phase (both feet off the ground) the pelvis already starts rotating back towards the other side. By the time the foot strikes the ground, you can ride that rotation, so to speak, which reduces the negative impact of the ground reaction forces* on the body and helps store the energy for an effective toe-off.

*read that last bit as ground reaction forces are good, we can use them to help move forward IF we rotate efficiently*

The rotation happens at the pelvis and the torso in opposite directions to balance the momentum.



Rotation of the Pelvis

At the pelvis, you need to be able to internally rotate to stay strong/stable through midstance and you need external rotation to propel you forward. All too often we drive external rotation (clamshells, lateral band walks, etc.) and forget about internal rotation. You can’t effectively use external rotation if you can’t internally rotate too. In other words, you can’t effectively propel without loading. AND if you can’t load it makes it harder for your body to handle ground reactive forces overall. This series first helps you load through internal rotation then efficiently extend/externally rotate to propel from there!



Counter Rotation of the Torso:

This piece is less often talked about but just as, if not more, important…. Rotation of your torso requires your RIBS to move! How do we train rib mobility? We breathe! First, check in with your rib mobility. 

 Wrap a towel around your body as shown below. Take a few inhales and exhales. Thing diaphragm, contracting down, pelvic floor relaxing down on the inhales. You should feel your ribs expand out into the towel in the back, sides and front. All of the air should not go out of your belly.

(note I still use a lot of my accessory muscles in my neck to inhale, something I’m working on)

Lots of people end up compressed in the torso and the ribs "lock down" for one reason or another (posture, pregnancy, stress, etc.). We talk a lot more about this in my Women’s Running Academy Mentorship because it's so important, but here’s a quick gist. 

If you need more movement in your back ribs try this Rockback Breathing w/ Supinated Hands (palms up). 

If you need more movement in your front ribs try Hooklying Breathing w/ Goal Post Arms - Great for getting more movement in the front ribs.⁣

There are tons of different options for integrating rib mobility into your workouts. It's not always just lying there and breathing.

Here are a few examples:

Tempo Pushups 

  • For overall rib mobility move on the exhales hold positions (top and bottom) and inhale. Move slowly with complete breaths. For more mobility in the front, inhale down, and exhale up.
  • For more mobility in the back, do the opposite (push all the way through at the top).⁣

Alternating Chest Press 

Great for addressing asymmetries. For example, inhale as you press the left (left back mobility), and exhale as you press the right (right front mobility).⁣


Play with some of these things and see how they feel!


What's on the horizon for Women’s Running Academy:

If you’ve had your eye on any of my self-paced courses, keep your eye out for promotions as we run them often. (psst this rotation stuff is a big part of all of them) I have a start date for the next Women’s Running Academy mentorship penciled in keep an eye out on my Instagram to find out the release date! 

Phew, that was a lot, I know. Thanks for sticking with me!


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