Thursday, October 15, 2009

STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles: Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement

Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement

*THE ABDOMINAL WALL ATTACHES to the lower ribs. The abdominal muscles must often be recruited to maintain the rib cage, and indirectly, the thoracic spine, in proper alignment. Often the rib cage will tend to lift up in the supine position or deviate forward in a sitting position, extending the thoracic spine. Pay particular attention while inhaling or elevating the arms. When supine in neutral, maintain a sense of the weight of the ribs resting gently on the mat, neither lifting away nor pushing into the mat. Emphasize breathing three-dimensionally into the rib cage during inhalation. neutral Allow the two sides of the rib cage to close toward each other during exhalation. Avoid overly depressing the rib cage, which will flex the thoracic spine, possibly extending the cervical spine and may deactivate the transversus abdominis. When flexing, the rib cage will slide toward the pelvis anteriorly. When extending, allow the rib cage to open to facilitate thoracic extension. It is important to not completely relax the abdominals during extension, otherwise a loss of spinal stability will result.

Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart on the mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.
Inhale Reach arms to the ceiling, palms facing one another.
Exhale Reach arms overhead, only as far as abdominal connection and contact between the rib cage and mat can be maintained.
Inhale Reach arms to the ceiling.
Exhale Lower arms down by sides

***picture below shows ribs popping, always avoid this position!

The Introduction of the Five Basic Principles
Principal 1 Breathing
Principal 2 Pelvic Placement
Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization
Principal 5 Head and Cervical Placement

Article by Moira Merrithew, STOTT PILATES® Executive Director, Education
(taken from

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