How and Why to Stack the Ribcage on the Pelvis

I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about stacking the ribcage on the pelvis.

And two questions in particular keep coming up…

  1. What does it mean to stack the ribcage on the pelvis? And
  2. Why is it important?

In this short video, I describe not only what it means to stack the ribcage on top of the pelvis, but give you ideas on how to do it as well.

So my big take home point in this video is to get the ribcage and pelvis facing each other, which will help improve core stability.

But let’s take this a step further – not only does it improve core stability, but setting a better starting position unlocks your body’s natural mobility as well!

For example, try this….

Stand up and set your feet shoulder-to-hip width apart and then arch your back as hard as you can.

Now try to squat down, and get a feel for not only how far you can squat, but how hard you have to work to achieve that depth.

Chances are you felt blocked or restricted going down, and you had to fight your body to get that low.

Now, let’s try this by stacking our body more effectively.

Unlock the knees slightly, feel the whole foot, and reach the arms long in front of the body.

Now squat down as low as you can.

Feel a difference?

Of course you did – because I’m Magic Mike!

Okay maybe not, but in all seriousness, stacking the ribcage on top of the pelvis is an absolute game changer for unlocking your mobility, keeping you healthy, and improving performance.

Use this subtle tip to make any (and every) exercise you do a little bit more awesome.

Good luck and good training!

All the best,

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    • Not exactly – the goal isn’t to “suck” in, but rather, to reposition the pelvis such that it’s underneath the ribcage.

      It’s similar, but definitely not the same concept…

  1. Hi Mike. I’m the guy who hired you for a few months in 2010, later blew out L3/L4 badly in 2011 (I could not walk for 5 weeks), and had a thread about rehabbing it in your old forum – this was great help – thanks! Since then, I became a powerlifter at age 47, got into multiply at age 50, pulled 705 in a meet, have four 1st place finishes at nationals and worlds, and I currently hold five American records in my age/weight class. My meet PRs are 711/578/705/1934. I turn 54 in 9 days. I’ve been having problems recently with a couple of ribs popping out on the left side, both in front and back, but most of the pain is in front. It got worse in the gym recently when I accepted a handoff and tried to bench 605 lbs when I wasnt tight. Since then, I easily hit ~ my opener (545) a couple times in the gym. I rested and did not go heavier than my opener to prepare for a meet. Then on 3/23, I bombed out of a meet (only the 2nd time in about 25 meets) on bench because my left back muscles could not pull the bar as hard as the right ones, which caused the bar to shift right, and I could not lock out on the right side. When I took my shirt off, I had pain in my chest from the ribs popping out (again). This time, I seem to have done more damage than I did in the past. I think this rib issue started about 25 years ago when I was playing softball and I took a shoulder to my left ribs from an infielder trying to field a grounder when I was running bases. It’s popped out many time over the years, but this is the worst its been since I first hurt it. I have had two excellent chiropractors treat it many times. I had a friend who is an orthopedic MD who does regenerative injections – he has done great work on my neck and knee – who told me, “I try to avoid doing the rib joints–it starts shuffling stress around and can be unpredictable.” He suggested I do PT / MAT therapy. Do you have any exercise suggestions for me to do to make this area stronger and more stable?

  2. I wish I could have seen that video with “E” in a tight shirt or no shirt to actually see the changes. I understand what you were saying and basically train it using different words. I train mostly older people that have been locked in their posture for many years and finding the correct words to get them to understand is quite the challenge. Then having them make the change in their everyday life is another and bigger challenge. Thanks for the video and I will use some of your cueing. I always say that I can give a hundred different cues for the same thing and one of them will resonate to help make the changes.

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