Functional Patterns

In this video, I cover some myofascial release and an FP band feedback technique for the rib-cage.

These tools will help to improve your capacity for oxygen intake and provide feedback to the often constricted tissues of the ribcage.

Whether you practice the Wim Hof Method or just need to improve your breathing, give these techniques a GO!

For my Wim Hof breathers out there, this is a tutorial for you.

Today we’re going to be focusing on trying to open up our rib cage, so that way we can get more oxygen into our lungs when we are practicing our Wim Hof breathing.

I am still an advocate for the Wim Hoff method.

It did help me through some very, very tough times, and I highly suggest that you guys try out the breathing as well because it will probably help you out substantially, coupled with the cold therapy.

It’s a great way of reconditioning your body to just really navigate this life better overall from a physiological and psychological standpoint.

Get the rib cage to expand

The thing we’re going to be focusing on today is trying to do whatever we can to get the rib cage to expand, so we’re going to emphasize some myofascial releases to break open the front portion of the body and break open the back portion of the upper body.

So we’re going to break open the chest region, the thoracic region so that we can begin to breath.

As a consequence of people sitting at a desk all day, generally they’re going to tend to hunch their shoulders forward, and that’s generally going to begin to create a kyphosis.

As humans become aware of the damaging affects of bad posture, they then say, okay, well, pull the shoulder blades back. And while they’re doing this with the shoulders, they’re not accounting for what’s actually happening in the rib cage itself.

Not having the capacity

And within time, what they end up doing is not having the capacity to open the front portion to their chest and the back portions to their T-spine and ribs.

So it’s kind of like you’re going to get screwed one way or the other because you’re not integrating things properly at a more fundamental level.

So we’re going to get to the … What we’re going to employ right now is a couple of strategies, or three strategies, to help us address that specific problem of the breastbone and the thoracic spine not opening.

And then we’re going to do a corrective exercise to kind of get that motion going on in the rib cage. So what we’re going to be doing is heading over here.

Before I start this technique

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I’m going to be utilizing one of our FP bands. You can find these at They’re specifically designed for these types of techniques.

So we’ll be using that coupled with a lacrosse ball, as well as a softish medicine ball. This isn’t rock hard. It’s has a little bit of give to it.

So I would suggest … You can mix and match

There’s all sorts of different myofascial release tools. This is just what I have available for me right now for this video.

Anyway, we’re going to start with first and foremost is actually releasing right here in the serratus region and a little bit into the peck region.

The places that we’re going to be aiming with this myofascial release will be from around here all the way to the chest region.

The idea is not necessarily to focus on the pecks themselves, but more so into the rib cage itself because that’s really what we’re trying to influence the most here.

So what we’ll be doing is laying down face down

I’m going to be extending my body outward like this, extending my arm out the side like this, and applying pressure over the top of that.

And the idea is to break through the pectoralis major and get more into the rib cage as I am doing this release. So that will be focusing more on the front side.

I can even get a little bit on the breastbone territory to break open some of the tissues there. I’ll move over to the side and get into my serratus muscles and my external intercostal muscles.

So you can do that. You want to put an emphasis on that for about, I would say, two minutes each region, maybe hit a little bit of the chest region, enter the chest region, and maybe put another two minutes onto the serratus region.

Head over to the wall with this lacrosse ball

After you get done doing that, we’ll head over to the wall with this lacrosse ball here, and we’re going to begin to pinpoint spots on the backside of the ribs here.

So this back portion of the ribs is going to be where we’re going to emphasize the pressure with the lacrosse ball. So we’ll head back over here to the wall.

I’m going to bring my arm up and over to somewhat open up the fivers on the posterior side of my body right here. So I’ll just kind of be pulling that apart.

Then I’m going to just lean in there, and the emphasis is not necessarily getting on the scapula itself or on the rhomboids, but more so the serratus posterior superior and the back portions of the intercostals here.

You want to emphasize getting into those regions as much as possible, breathing as much as possible, sending your air into those regions so they begin to expand a little bit further.

Emphasize about two minutes

And you can emphasize about two minutes, maybe up to three, four minutes on one release point. Just try to get as wide spread as possible when you do this release. Make sure that you do it on both sides.

Once you get done doing that, this is where the fun is going to begin, and we’ll start employing our corrective exercise protocols to make sure that we’re rewiring our faulty biomechanics.

So what we’ll do is we’ll use a FP band here.

We’ll wrap this around the rib cage like so. I’ll loop it through. Wrap it around one more time until I feel a certain sense of a rib cage compression.

I can direct it in different portions of my chest depending on what I want to create as a compression. But I’m going to be aiming at this middle cylinder portion right here the most.

Pressing into your rib cage inwardly

And really the main emphasis is that you should feel this thing kind of pressing into your rib cage inwardly, and the premise of what you’re going to need to do to make sure that you’re getting effectiveness out of this exercise is emphasizing that when you inhale you’re going to expand and broaden your rib cage.

I know many people say that you’re supposed to breath through your abdomen. You should.

That’s maybe a road we’ll travel later on down the road as we go through our exercise libraries through Functional Patterns, but for right now just think about when you breathe in that you just emphasize trying to move the bands in all directions.

Hitting all the planes in motion possible

The lateral to the front to the back so we’re hitting all the planes in motion possible in terms of the sagittal and frontal plane. So we’re going to go here.

If you guys have been following my 10 week course where we go pretty extensive into posture, you’ll think about aligning your posture while doing this and trying to execute this more properly in terms of aligning the rest of your body while you’re hitting this breathing exercise.

You want to be careful to not over retract your shoulders or over protract your shoulders.

Find a point of equilibrium with your shoulders themselves, and then try filling in the air on the front side and the back side of your rib cage.

And, again, just breathing in and out. And the real exercise is going to come when you inhale and you’re really pushing upward and outward on the rib cage.

Ribs flare out too far

You can be sure to not let the ribs flare out too far. You want to keep a little bit of, a slight little bit, of abdominal bracing to prevent that.

So just ensure that you’re not kind of just going completely flaccid, I guess you would say. It’s okay to actually do that, too.

There’s some advantages to that, but for the time being just emphasize trying to just breathe in and not let the ribs flare out too much.

Let them more expand around the band. And, again, you can always adjust this band in different positions altogether, and I’ll be covering more exercises later on down the road that relate to your breathing.

But give that a try. Let me know how that works out for you, and I will see you guys next time with another tutorial.

This is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns reminding you to train intentionally and not habitually. Take care.

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