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How To Fix Rib Flare: 12 Corrective Exercises, And Healing Timelines

- Written By

DR Maheen Sohail , BDS

Updated on

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument. This article contains scientific references. Read more about our process.

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Many people suffer from postural issues that can lead to discomfort and even pain. One common postural problem is rib flare, where the ribcage protrudes excessively, causing the front of the ribs to flare outward. Various factors, including sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and structural issues, can cause flared ribs.


Have you ever noticed your ribs sticking out? This article dives into rib flare, what it is, and how it can affect your body. We'll break down the science behind it and show you specific exercises to help bring those ribs back in line.

Before engaging in any exercise program, individuals should consult a healthcare professional or qualified fitness expert, especially if they have pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.

What is rib flare?

It is a common posture issue that many individuals unconsciously adopt, and it can lead to problems such as discomfort, back pain, and difficulty breathing. If left unaddressed, this condition may result in further health problems.

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Understanding Causes and Consequences of Rib Flare

It is characterized by an outward expansion of the lower ribcage, creating a visible arch in the midsection. It can be more pronounced in specific individuals, depending on their body composition and lifestyle habits.

One reason why flared ribs cause issues is that they can put excessive strain on the muscles and joints of the lower back and rib cage. When the lower ribs stick out, they can pull the spine and pelvis out of alignment, causing muscle imbalances and contributing to pain and discomfort in the lower back.

There are 6 possible causes of rib flare in human body please read all them carefully if you want to get rid of them.

  • Poor Posture
  • Muscle Imbalance
  • Weak Muscle
  • Tightness in Chest or Boobs
  • Join Issue of Spine
  • Structural Issue
Illustration By Trend Of Health

1) Poor posture

Slouching, hunching over desks, and other postural habits can disrupt the natural alignment of the spine and ribs. Over time, this can contribute to rib flare, as the muscles responsible for maintaining proper posture weaken.

2) Muscle imbalances

Imbalances between the anterior and posterior trunk muscles can also contribute to rib flare. The abdominal muscles’ weakness and lower back muscles overactivity may lead to ribcage misalignment.

3) Weak core muscles

Weak core muscles are a condition where the muscles at the body’s center, specifically the abdominal, lower back, and pelvic muscles, are not strong enough to provide adequate support and stability to the spine and surrounding structures.

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4) Tightness in the chest and shoulder muscles

Tightness in the chest and shoulder muscles causes tension or discomfort in these muscle groups. Several circumstances, such as poor posture, stress, anxiety, overuse of the muscles, injury, or certain medical conditions, can lead to this condition.

5) Joint dysfunction in the spine or ribs

Joint dysfunction in the spine or ribs is a condition that develops when the joints in the spine or ribs move or align abnormally. Numerous things, such as bad posture, injuries, degenerative changes, or specific medical conditions, can contribute to this.

6) Structural Issues

In some cases, flared ribs can be related to structural abnormalities, such as scoliosis or certain rib cage deformities. These issues may require medical attention and specialized interventions beyond exercise.

Identifying Rib Flare

Are your ribs flares out and causing discomfort or pain? Rib flare is a postural issue that occurs when the lower ribs protrude outward, lifting the front of the rib cage up and out. It is a common issue that affects many individuals and can cause a range of physical problems.

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Identifying rib flare in oneself or others can be a crucial first step toward addressing the issue. Here are some methods to help place flared ribs:

1) Visual Observation

Stand in front of a mirror and observe your posture. Pay attention to the alignment of your ribs, particularly the lower rib cage area. If your ribs appear to jut out prominently, especially when viewed from the side, your ribs are flared.

2) Tactile Examination

Gently run your fingers along your sides, just below your chest. If there’s a space between your fingers and your ribs, it could be a sign of rib flare.

 3) Movement Assessment

Perform basic movement patterns, such as bending forward, extending backward, and rotating side to side. Notice if the flaring of your ribs changes during these movements. Rib flare may become more apparent when bending back.

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Muscles That Correct Rib Flare

Correcting of flare in ribs involves engaging and strengthening specific muscle groups that are pivotal in supporting the ribcage and promoting better alignment.

Transverse abdominis: The deepest layer of abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis, acts like a corset around the waist, providing stability and support to the ribcage.

Obliques: The internal and external obliques are abdominal muscles responsible for rotating and side-bending the torso. Strengthening these muscles helps maintain proper ribcage alignment and improves core stability.

Rectus Abdominis: The rectus abdominis, commonly known as the “six-pack” muscles, contributes to core strength and helps support the lower ribs, aiding in ribcage alignment.

Erector Spinae: The erector spinae muscles, located along the spine, play a role in maintaining upright posture and supporting the back.

Hip Flexors: The hip flexor muscles connect the spine to the legs and help support the lower back and pelvis, influencing ribcage alignment.

Individuals can correct rib flare, improve overall posture, and reduce discomfort associated with this postural issue by performing targeted exercises that engage and strengthen these muscle groups.

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How to fix rib flare in just 12 easy steps?

There are several exercises and techniques you can use to fix flared ribs and restore balance to your body. Here are some strategies you can try.

1) Diaphragmatic Breathing

This deep breathing technique, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is a great way to train your diaphragm and help those flared ribs settle back into place. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, or place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, letting your tummy inflate like a balloon. As you breathe in, try to feel your lower ribs gently expanding outwards.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall as you release your breath.
  • A few minutes of belly breathing every day can make a big difference. It’ll improve the way you breathe and help your ribcage move more freely.

2) Pelvic Tilts

Not only do pelvic tilts strengthen your core and muscles around your lower back and pelvis, but they can also help straighten out your spine and ribcage. Here’s how they can help fix flared ribs:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Gently tilt your pelvis backward, like you’re tucking your tailbone under you. Press your lower back into the floor for a deeper stretch.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, engaging your core muscles.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the movement for several repetitions.

3) Side-lying windmill

  • Begin by lying on your side, legs straight, and head resting on your arm.
  • Lift your upper leg gently and place your foot in front of you on the floor.
  • Next, raise your upper arm towards the ceiling while keeping your shoulder blades down and away from your ears.
  • Exhale by rotating your torso and reaching your arm across your body to the floor.
  • As you come across your body, allow your ribs to open.
  • Return to the starting position and do the opposite side.
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4) Scissor kick

This easy exercise strengthens your abs and helps pull your ribs back in for better posture.

To perform the scissor kick.

  • Lie down on your back, feet flat on the ground.
  • Inhale slowly as you raise your head and shoulders off the ground. To keep your ribs from flaring out, keep them pulled down.
  • Lift your legs up and down in a scissoring motion, reaching for your toes with each lift (but don’t force it!). Keep your head and shoulders comfortably off the ground throughout the exercise.
  • Inhale as you return your legs to the first position, and exhale as you return your head and shoulders to the ground.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

This exercise isn’t just about kicking your legs – it’s a secret weapon for better posture!

5) Bird dog

This exercise strengthens your core, which acts like a natural brace for your spine and ribcage. Here’s how it can help fix your flared ribs:

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Extend your right arm forward and your left leg backward, maintaining a flat back.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, engaging your core for stability.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.
  • Perform several repetitions on each side.

Think rib flare is a pain in the, well, back? The Bird Dog exercise can be your new best friend!

6) Cat-Cow Stretch

The Cat-Cow stretch is a fantastic way to increase your spine’s flexibility, which can be key to correcting rib flare.

  • Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • urve your back gently, like a happy cow looking up at the sky. Lift your head and tailbone a bit too, feeling a nice stretch in your belly.
  • Exhale as you round your back and tuck your chin toward your chest (Cat position).
  • Transition smoothly between the Cat and Cow poses, letting your breath guide you. Inhale as you arch your back (Cow!), exhale as you round it (Cat!).
  • Repeat the sequence for several rounds.

7) Pilates Roll-Up

This Pilates move isn’t just about getting toned abs, it can also help fix rib flare! Here’s how:

  • Stretch out flat, legs extended like you’re reaching for the toes (but don’t force it!), and raise your arms straight up overhead.
  • Inhale as you engage your core and roll up one vertebra at a time, getting your hands toward your feet.
  • As you breathe out, slowly reach your fingertips further towards your toes, one vertebra at a time, like you’re slowly peeling yourself up off the mat.
  • Inhale again at the top, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  • Exhale as you reverse the trend, rolling back down one vertebra at a time.
  • Repeat this roll-up a few times, keeping your movements smooth and controlled. Remember, it’s all about engaging your core muscles!

8) Super man

This exercise isn’t just about feeling powerful, it can actually help fix rib flare by strengthening your core and lower back. Here’s how to become your own posture powerhouse:

  • Lie flat on your belly with your arms stretched out straight in front of you, like you’re flying (but don’t worry, we’ll keep you grounded!). Keep your legs straight back too.
  • Lift your arms and legs slowly off the ground while pressing your hips and lower back into the floor.
  • Keep this Superman pose for 6-9 seconds, feeling strong and powerful. Then, slowly lower yourself back down to the ground.
  • Repeat 12-18 times.

Move with control throughout this exercise, no jerky movements or bouncing allowed. Remember to keep your core muscles tight and breathe regularly – nice and easy!

9) Plank

  • To begin the plank, get into a push-up position.
  • Gently lower yourself down until your forearms rest comfortably on the ground. Imagine you’re a superhero landing in a perfect plank – your body should form a straight line from your head all the way down to your heels.
  • Maintain this position for 30 to 1 minute. If you want to increase the difficulty, try raising one leg off the ground or holding the place for a more extended period.

10) Squeeze the abs

Exercise is fantastic for your health, but for rib flare, a strong core is key throughout the day, not just during workouts. Here’s why: strong core muscles act like a natural girdle, holding you up straight and helping to pull those flared ribs back into place.

The core muscles, which include those in the abdominal and lower back regions, are essential for spinal stability and proper posture. Engaging your abs throughout the day is an effective way to strengthen these muscles.

This can be as simple as contracting and holding your stomach muscles for a few seconds and repeating several times throughout the day.

11) Ab Exercises

Feeling a little “out of whack” with your ribs? Don’t worry, these core exercises can help! By strengthening your core muscles, you’ll improve your posture and naturally pull those flared ribs back into alignment. Let’s get started:

Pelvic Tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Tilt your pelvis backward, engaging your core and pressing your lower back into the floor. Hold briefly, then release.

Leg Raises: Lie on your back and lift both legs off the floor, engaging your lower abs. Lower them slowly, maintaining core engagement.

Planks: Hold this high plank position for [set time] with your forearms and toes supporting you. Remember, a straight line from head to heels is key! Engage your core to feel strong and stable.

Bicycle Crunches: Lie on your back, hands behind your head. Bring the opposite elbow to the knee while extending the other leg.

12) Arm blasters for flared ribs

An arm blaster can be used to repair rib flare. An arm blaster is a piece of exercise equipment that assists you in keeping your arms in the proper position while exercising. It allows you to concentrate on using the correct muscles and achieving a good range of motion. The arm blaster also prevents you from swinging the weight with momentum, which can result in injury.

The DMoose arm blaster is a straightforward piece of equipment that consists of a strap that wraps around the chest and another that attaches to the arms. It is an excellent tool for improving upper body strength and correcting rib flare.

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How Long Does It Take for a Rib Flare to Heal?

Here’s the good news: consistent exercise and posture awareness can make a real difference in rib flare! For some folks, milder cases might improve in just a few weeks to a couple of months. But for more stubborn cases, it could take several months or even a year to see significant progress. Remember, everyone’s body heals at its own pace.

Factors that can influence the healing timeline include:

Consistency: Regular practice of exercises and techniques to correct flared ribs is essential. Those who commit to a consistent exercise routine will likely progress faster.

Severity: The time it takes to fix yours depends on how severe it is and any muscle imbalances that might be contributing to the problem. Basically, the more “out of whack” your ribs are, and the tighter or weaker your muscles, the longer it might take to get things back in line.

Individual Differences: People’s bodies respond differently to exercises and corrective measures. Some individuals may experience faster healing due to their body’s adaptability.

Adherence to Lifestyle Changes: Improving posture during exercises and daily activities can contribute to faster healing.

Sure, fixing rib flare can improve your posture and make your core stronger, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Here’s the real win: better breathing, improved flexibility, and a boost to your overall well-being.


Flared ribs can be corrected through targeted exercises, posture correction, and muscle strengthening. With consistent effort and proper guidance, individuals can improve ribcage alignment and reduce the appearance and discomfort associated with flared ribs.

Yes, seeing a doctor for a rib flare is advisable, especially if you experience persistent pain and discomfort or have concerns about your condition. While exercises can help correct mild cases of flared ribs, it’s essential to rule out any underlying medical issues or structural abnormalities that may require specific interventions.

A doctor can conduct a thorough examination, diagnose accurately, and recommend appropriate treatment options. Additionally, if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are unsure about the cause of your ribs, seeking medical guidance ensures you receive personalized advice and appropriate care.

An out-of-place rib may appear visibly elevated or, more prominently, on one side of the ribcage, causing asymmetry. This can create a noticeable bulge or lump, and individuals may experience localized pain or discomfort in the affected area.

A chiropractor may help address rib flare by utilizing spinal adjustments and manipulations to improve the alignment of the spine and ribcage. They can also advise on posture correction, exercises, and stretches to target the muscles involved in rib flare.

Waist trainers do not correct flare in the ribs. They may temporarily compress the waist area but do not address underlying muscle imbalances or posture issues that cause rib flare. Targeted exercises, proper posture, and core strengthening are more effective methods to correct your ribs

It is not considered rare. It is a relatively common postural issue due to various factors such as sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, muscle imbalances, and structural problems. Many individuals experience some degree of rib flare during their lifetime.

The bottom line

Ever notice your ribs sticking out a bit? That could be rib flare, a common issue that can mess with your posture, core strength, and even your breathing. But the good news is, with a little awareness and some targeted exercises, you can fight back and feel better overall!

The exercises you learned here are a great starting point to improve your rib flare. Remember, the key is to stick with it! Consistent effort is what gets results. And of course, listen to your body – it will tell you when to push a little harder or take a rest day.

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