Why do you always say 'contain your ribs', 'don't flare your rib cage', 'pull your ribs down'....
What we want to avoid is a big curve in the lower back and ribs/chest sticking out. As always, listen to your own body, take what I say and adjust it to work for you.
Stops you over arching your lower back. The lower back isn't meant to move too much, its mainly for stability. When it is overused is can cause back, knee, shoulder etc pain.
You may find it easier to activate/engage your core. However this isn't a prerequisite, you can 'contain your rib cage' without activating your core.
It promotes increased mobility in our shoulders & upper back. This one is a bit of a trick because ensuring you 'don't flare your ribs' when your arms are overhead might mean that any tightness in your shoulders/upper back stop your arms going straight up. But identifying this allows you to work on your tight shoulders/upper back.
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