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Episode 215: Sticky Rib Relief

Video Highlights

- Mid-back mobility.
- Mobilizing rib restrictions.
- Specific drill sequence for relief.

Today we’re talking about a simple solution for sticky ribs.

We’re not really talking about sticky ribs from a barbecue sauce perspective or anything like that today. We’re actually talking about areas of your mid-back that become stuck or a little bit irritated based on activity. It could be from bending over, it could be rotating.

A lot of times what we’ll see, people come in, they’re doing some kind of pull up exercise, and they go, “Ah, I feel some pain,” down in what they consider to be their lats, or maybe they feel like a lat strain.

Very often, what we see here, is that you’ve gotten some restriction in one of the rib joints. I’m going to show you a really, really easy way to work on this.

A few months ago, I showed some other mobilizations for the mid-back. We got some feedback that they were a little complicated, or a little difficult, so I’m going to show you literally, the easiest thing that I can show you to do in a standing position, to work on the sticky ribs.

What we’re going to use for this particular exercise, I’m going to use a rope. Now, the reason I’m using a rope rather than a stretchy band, is that in order to do this properly, we really need some resistance that doesn’t give.

If I were to use a Jump Stretch Band, or some kind of exercise band, you probably won’t get the type of resistance that is best for accomplishing what we want.

What we’re going to do, is we’re going to imagine that I’ve got some stickiness in a rib underneath my left shoulder blade. We’re going to step inside the rope, and obviously it’s tied off here.

Person in button up checkered dress shirt holding their ribs.

If you don’t have a rope, you can use a belt, you can use a towel. If you don’t have something to tie it to, you can find someone to tie it to.

Basically, what we want to do is place the rope on the area that is uncomfortable, or the towel, or whatever. You want to make sure it’s not biting into you.

Once we’re in this position, we just want to secure the rope, and get into an upright stance, lean back into it so that we’re somewhat stabilized. All that we’re going to do, is try to rotate the spine above the area that has a restriction.

I’m just going to keep rotating into it. Once again, if the issue’s on my left side, I’m going to rotate to my left. In essence, what’s happening, is the rope is countering the motion that’s occurring as I go through this rotation. I’m creating this localized mobilization between the restricted area, and the areas above and below it.

Once again, place it on the problem area, rotate above that area, and then you can also just try a full rotation, which is going to involve all the ribs both above and below.

Generally what you want to aim for is about 20 repetitions, nice and slow and controlled. Don’t make it painful, it should be comfortable. Then relax, step out, release the tension, take a couple breaths in and out, and then retest your movements that were uncomfortable.

Very often, stuff that would have stuck with you for days before, will be gone in a matter of minutes.

Hopefully that works for you.

If you have any questions about this, please let us know.

Otherwise, good luck.

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