Tag Archives: Pullovers

Is it Possible to Expand Your Ribcage?

A debate still exists whether it is possible to expand your rib cage as an adult. I am not sure why this debate even exists today as the principles governing our physiology have become common knowledge.

Before I start to explain how it is possible I first need to express why there is an interest in such a thing. Most people want big arms and a big chest not a large rib cage. Having a large rib cage is important in bodybuilding for various poses such as the side chest pose. There needs to be a solid foundation for inches of serrated pectoral muscle to rest on, as well as fully developed serratus anterior.

The second reason is the bench press. The bigger rib cage you have the less distance the bar has to travel to reach your chest. If you have experience with the floor press you will know that some people come close to touching their chest in this exercise. Also, If you have ever bulked up 30 or 40 lbs you would have also noticed the distance between the barbell and the chest in the floor press.

These two reasons are enough to understand why there is a whole world of expertise on this subject. A one inch difference in the bench press could add 50 lbs to someone’s max bench press.

As you build the muscles of the chest everything grows in tandem with it including the pectoralis major and minor, intercostal muscles, and serratus anterior. And with it so does the rib cage.

If you re one of those people that don’t think ribs can get larger here is a thought for you to meditate on. If I were to train my legs and increase my upper legs from 23″ to 33″ do you not think the femur would have increased in diameter especially considering your squat must have increased from 300 to 900 lbs. Of course your femur would have increased in diameter, as well as the ligaments, tendons, and all connective tissue around each joint.

As the muscles of the chest and back become larger the rib cage expands. This happens regardless of the exercises chosen just as long as the end result is muscular hypertrophy. However, it is no secret that some exercises are more specific for the purpose of rib cage expansion, such as the pullover.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been quoted as saying, “You will not believe the ache in the sternum that this movement will produce!” He attributed the pullover as responsible for his large rib cage. At the end of his chest/back super-set routine he would always finish with multiple sets of pullovers in which he would lie cross-ways over a bench allowing his hips to drop as he took a deep breath and lower the weight stretching the intercostal muscles as much as possible.

If the greatest champion bodybuilder of all time claims to have used this method to expand his rib cage why does a debate over the possibility of rib cage expansion exist? Take the advice of someone who has developed a 58″ chest and ignore the naysayers.