Rib Flare During Pull-ups| Ep. 28

Yesterday we imagined our shoulder was an excavator. We came to the conclusion that if the excavator was anchored into concrete instead of sitting on mud it would be more sturdy.   The sturdy platform would allow better better energy transfer, reduce stress, and increase overall efficiency.

Today imagine that excavator anchored into a ship.  If the excavator was pulling something heavy enough the entire apparatus would move toward the heavy object. Now, imagine the ship was struck by a torpedo. The crane would still work but the force applied to the ship would no long be dispersed evenly.  Instead stresses would center near the weakened area, eventually causing the hull to break.

Our body (thorax) is the ship. Yesterday we learn to anchor our shoulder to the thoracic cage (hull of the ship) by activating our scapular stabilizers.  Who cares though if we are not anchoring it to a stable core. No one would anchor a good excavator to a ship with a hole in it.  Bracing the core allows even distribution of stress (The ship before it was shot).

Rib flare is the torpedo in the hull.  Notice below, picture 1 shows even distribution of thoracic extension. We call this global extension. Picture 2 shows rib flare.  Instead of evenly distributed extension we have a small area of excessive extension, called focal hyperextension.

Rib flare represents core weakness. It creates areas of focal hyperextension. Stress accumulates in these areas and will eventually cause injury. Tighten that core and lock down those ribs to reduce stress on the lower back during your pull-ups.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 5.47.45 PM

Today’s Prescription:

1. CONTINUE 30 day Pull-up Challenge. — This is a quest to add 10 pull ups to your max!!

**Focus on sequencing of pull-up movement as shown in video. REMEMBER TO LOCK DOWN RIB CAGE!!!

**Turn on scapular stabilizers by externally rotating shoulder to begin pull-up (as shown in video).

How To Begin The 30 Day Pull-up Challenge:

  • If you’re using a band: Use a band setting that allows your max effort to be 8-9 reps (you found this yesterday) and begin at week 1.
  • If your strict pull-up max is above 9 rep: Subtract 3 reps from your max effort and begin at the corresponding week (max effort 17 reps – 3 = 14; Begin at week 12: Rep scheme 14,9,8,8,7)
  • Perform 5 sets separated by a comfortable rest (1-3 minutes).
  • Perform each day, Everyday.  CONSISTENCY IS KEY!!!
  • If you are failing consistently (2+ days in a row): DROP BACK 2 WEEKS and continue.


Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.09.13 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.09.27 PM


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