In my experience, the best way to prevent an injury from happening in the first place is by having a simple warm-up routine. I’m not talking about an hours-long ordeal; something that takes just 10-15 minutes of your time before you work out or play your sport is all you need. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. In this post, I’m going to outline a warm-up routine specifically for rib sprains, since those seem to be especially common.**Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such! If you’re experiencing any pain, please consult a doctor immediately!**
Rib sprains are surprisingly more common than you think. When Dr. Danesh was training, he was always told ribs and the chest thoracic space are bulletproof. So much so that most insurers won’t even cover very typical treatments for thoracic and rib pains commonly experienced.
He had a rib sprain once and it was excruciating. He had a hard time breathing. To him, it felt like there was a knife just stuck in his back and his rib was dislodged with it. He was a bear to be around because he couldn’t sleep either. We’d see him the next day very cranky. We don’t want that to happen to any of us, don’t we? We need to keep the ribs strong.
Warming Ups could be so underrated
The number one rule before starting any type of exercise is to warm up.
When we were kids, especially in PE class, we would always do warmups and cool-downs. As a kid, we may have thought: “This does nothing for me.” But now as an adult, we understand better why they’re necessary. When you’re a kid, you’re practically made of rubber, so it doesn’t matter. In effect, it doesn’t matter if you warm up or cool down. However as an adult, we lose elasticity to our ligaments and tendons, and they become more brittle, becoming easy to break and tear.
Warmups and cool-downs help get the blood flowing to your muscles. This is important because it helps to move the tendons and fibers. The connective tissue between the fibers also needs lubrication. This happens with hyaluronic acid, which is present throughout the body. Warming up can help prevent injuries from happening.
Warmups for the Ribs
These are some warmups for your ribs. Not only that, if you’ve had rib injuries and you’re thinking, you just don’t want this to happen again, you could incorporate just one of these exercises once or twice a week into your routine, and it can help prevent your rib frame from happening again.
The easiest way to find out which one is right for you would be by trying them all. The ones that feel most difficult and stretchy are usually your winners, or if motivation isn’t an issue at all just do what feels easier on the beginning levels; then move upwards from there as needed.
Stretching the Lower and Upper Ribs
In a half kneeling position, place your left leg forward and the right leg down. This is going to help you be in a stable position as a rectangle will form your legs from the floor to your hips. Make sure your head is straightened over your shoulders and tucked back a little bit. Check your posture as your shoulders be aligned over his hips and the ribs are nice and tight. The hips should also be aligned with the knees.
This position is locking your body down and is good for your SI joint too.
Now, the next part is doing a basic range of motion.
Start off by assessing to see how can the lower ribs move. You can do this by crossing your arms, and making sure your legs and knees are stable and not moving. With them locked in tight, slowly rotate your chest and sternum to the right.
Rotate your body slowly until you reach a spot where you feel you can deeply breathe through your nose. You should feel the ribs on the sides, not your shoulders, coming up and down as you go to that position. Then, slowly come back to position.
Repeat this step and It should be a little bit easier to go a few bits further. Every single time you’re taking a deep breath, you’re stretching the ribs from the inside out in that position, allowing you to go further.
The next part is done for you to check out your upper ribs.
You need to have your arms support the back of your neck for this by raising them there with locked fingers. All of the lower part of your body where the legs and hips are stays in the same position. By having your arms up, you’re going to lock down these ribs a little bit further down, forcing these higher-up ribs to go. These are the ones you often hear if people had a car wreck and a seatbelt was in that position and caught them. They’ll have pain in the front and in the back.
From here where you have all this tight stabilization, slowly rotate to the right, and take deep breaths through the nose. Make repetitions as you feel comfortable with these warmups.
Expanding the ribs to the sides
For this routine, we do this on our hands and knees. In this position, we can use our trunk to help stabilize the lumbar component of our spine. We need to lock it down so it’s not moving and try to force the upper part of our body to move. The arms will help to rotate the body.
Place the right hand behind your head. Now in this position, you’re to make sure your pelvis doesn’t move as you to start to look up just a little bit as you rotate to your right, nodding your head back. The left arm, which is staying on the floor, is pushing downward to assist in the rotation. Then after making sure you’re comfortable with this position, take a deep breath through the nose., feeling your ribs expand to the sides. Slowly come back down as you exhale. Do this a few more times, making sure your eyes are looking up when rotating to the side. .
You can use this stretch to loosen up the muscles in your upper back. To do this, take a deep breath and hold it while you stretch.Doing this before any other exercise is a good way to make sure your upper ribs stay loose and can help you feel better. If you don’t do this before, then you might get a sprain.
Kettlebell Arm Bar (a variation of it)
You need to be lying on your back for this routine. Technically it’s called a Kettlebell Arm Bar, although there are a lot of other variations.
While holding on to something sturdy, position one leg straight while the other is flexed. For example, if you’re right-handed, lying on your back, use that arm as leverage so it points out 90 degrees from its side. Your left hand goes stretched up, making a fist. You will need something not too heavy to place on the fist as you continue with this exercise, a shoe, for example. Then, bring the left knee up towards his elbow.
But why not do it with a weight? Why the shoes? If you are doing this with a weight, which is something you can progress to, the shoulder can be challenged and it gets put into a weird range of motion that if you try to muscle it there instead of moving smoothly, you could injure your shoulder. We don’t want it to happen. If you have a nice balanced shoe, you’re going to keep your eyes on it and move smoothly.
Next is for you to take your flexed knee and slowly rotate it to the floor, not letting your eyes out of sight of the shoe on your extended fist. From here, start to turn further on towards your belly and straighten out your left leg, still looking at the shoe. Turn as far onto your belly as you can, keeping the shoe straight up in the air. If your right arm gets in the way, it’s okay for you to bring it a little bit higher up so that it’s out of your way, making it easier for you to get onto your belly.
Go as far as you can, holding this position for two deep breaths through your nose. As you breathe through your nose, you’ll notice you breathe differently through your ribs. Then, slowly flex your left knee, slide it up towards your stretched arm, and then straighten the back out again.
This exercise is hard, but if you learn how to do it with a shoe, you’ll learn how to keep everything moving through your trunk and your ribs. This will help create better stability through your rotator cuff. You can progress by using a small weight in your hand until you can use some pretty substantial weights over time. But this should be a graceful motion and not be some kind of brawny, heavy thing.
Everybody who does this well seems to have fewer injuries to the shoulder area. It is highly recommended this routine if you’re a little more intensive athlete or want to get there.
There’s a cool study that just came out where they say, by simply doing breathing exercises and working your ribs can lower your blood pressure as much as blood pressure medications do. It’s safe to say these warm-ups can be a prevention of rib sprains and heart attacks at the same time.
It’s time to start giving your warm-ups the attention they deserve. A good, comprehensive routine can help reduce the risk of injuries like rib sprains and keep you healthy and active all season long. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to prevent rib sprains, or want a custom routine designed specifically for you, contact us today. Our team is excited to work with you and help make this your best season yet!
You can learn more about measures to counter the pains and aches you have or get help with these exercises for rib sprains by scheduling a discovery call with us. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional