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What Your Ribs Can Tell You About Squatting and Deadlifting

Updated: May 5, 2022

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a course in Pennsylvania called The Human Matrix: The Code for Maximal Health and Performance by Zac Cupples. Now you may be saying, “Wow that’s quite an ambitious name for a weekend course”. I went into it agreeing with you. However, I came out of it with a new found appreciation for how to look at the human body and what it is capable of doing.

What I most appreciated about the course was the logical train of thought that it involved. We started by going over some concepts, learned some assessments, and then finished with exercise prescription. Everything was explained in ways that made sense and provided actionable suggestions that will improve my clients’ care. Let’s break down the important factors.

First, we need to understand one of the main facts about the human body: it is mostly water. So if we look at each segment of the body as a tube containing water, we can more easily understand movement restrictions and compensations. The first use of this concept is in regards to your breathing patterns and how they affect the rest of your body. A simple test we used to start was looking at infrasternal angle (ISA). Your ISA is the angle made under your rib cage.

ribs breathing mobility physical therapy strength training