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Ribs: how to hide them?


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I am at a good weight for my height (118 at 5'2").  I was actually looking to lose a few more pounds, but I am not liking the fact that I can now see my ribs. 

I look at pictures of other people at their right weight, and of fitness models who I'm sure have less body fat than I do, and they don't show ribs.  It's really turning me (and my DH) off, but I don't want to gain weight (fat), as then my lower half will expand, and I'm finally happy with that part of me.  I have always had a very small waist, and a big hip/waist differential.  I think the small waist makes the ribs stick out that much more. 

Are there specific exercises I can do to "hide" my ribs with muscle?  Will that work?  Which muscles do I need to work?
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I have no idea.. but I'd like to know this myself. Even when I was really overweight (obese by BMI), I could see my bottom 2 ribs ... But now that I'm thinner ... I can seriously count my bottom 4 ribs clearly (6-7 if I suck in and bend a bit), and would love to hide them, even if its just a bit. They are kinda gross looking :(
Unfortunately I think that has to do with bone structure. I have a very wide rib cage and definitely know what you are talking about.
I never thought I had a particularly wide rib cage (I just measured - it's 27") ... although I know it's genetic that my fat just melts completely off my top half, while desperately clinging to my lower half ... but I'm hoping some sort of bulking exercise will help mask that.  I just don't know which muscles to work!

I don't mind the shape so much ... I just don't want to see the individual bones. 

I've posted a pic of my upper half so you can see what I'm talking about.  It actually is more pronounced in "real life" than these show, enough so it looks almost unhealthy.
Original Post by sarah_11235:

I have no idea.. but I'd like to know this myself. Even when I was really overweight (obese by BMI), I could see my bottom 2 ribs ... But now that I'm thinner ... I can seriously count my bottom 4 ribs clearly (6-7 if I suck in and bend a bit), and would love to hide them, even if its just a bit. They are kinda gross looking :(

It's statements like these that I wish the anorexic would read! Good for you for wanting to look not sickly!

there is nothing you can do about your rib cage as far as bone structure is concerned. But you can try to make them less noticeable by adding more muscle to your upper body, try doing lat pull downs or pull ups to help make the back a little wider. the lat tie in is right behind those ribs. also start doing some push ups or bench press to help bring up the muscles in the front.
I wish I knew!  My rib bones actually jut out.  They are malformed or something, they actually scoop out.  I've been trying to hide them my whole life!  LOL  It doesn't help that I don't have a chest (my ribs stick out further than my chest).....I have to wear inserts in my bra so that I don't look like my boobs are at my waist.  It's so very annoying.  I do look really weird, but hey, what can you do?  For me, it is just some weird genetic thing.  Mine is so bad, that yours doesn't look that bad to me, but I know it is frustrating when things don't look how you want them too! 
Oh... I wasn't imagining the ribs to show like that. You see... mine don't show on the side. They actually poke out in the front like hip bones would. I just measured out of curiosity and my rib cage is 29 in =|
Heh; I have the opposite problem, though I also don't want to look like a scary anorexic person. Trade you partial genetic codes? : P
Thanks, all. I know it's not a huge thing; it's just an annoyance, but if I can do something about it, I'd like to try.  It's more annoying because I could lose a few more pounds on my hips ... but I know if I do they'll just make me look like I'm starving up top.

Bodyscience - that is what I'm trying to find out - which muscles actually cover the rib cage so I can bulk them up a bit.  As I said, I know I can't change my bones; I just want to add some "meat" to them so I don't look like a plucked chicken; then maybe I can lose those last few lower-body pounds without my husband forcefeeding me.  

I didn't know if there were "extra" muscles that need special exercises that most people maybe don't think about - will the push ups/bench press work the right muscles?  What muscles are they, anyway?  I tried searching Google, but didn't really get the answers I was looking for.

Thanks!
phoenix121 - yeah, I wish we could mix-and-match genetic codes.  I'll take more boobs, please - and less thighs! :)  And a few more inches in height, translated into longer legs ...
I prefer mine with some dry drub and then I hide them in my belly! 

will the push ups/bench press work the right muscles?  What muscles are they, anyway?

Chest muscles, and some secondary muscles (like arms). 

Since the ribs are showing on the sides, what about obliques exercises? 

I know you're worried about this -- I don't want to belittle your concern, body issues are very personal to each individual, but I think you look perfectly normal.  

I can't compete with the advice that bodyscience can give you (obviously), but I think if you worked your abs a lot more and did some work on your obliques it would aesthetically detract from your ribs.  If you're going to have low body fat %, might as well enjoy it and buff up your mid-section by developing the muscles there.

(And I won't even GET INTO the "six-pack on a woman" debate...sheesh...)

Um, you do look pretty great, Zarelha.  Congrats on the "lower-half" satisfaction, body-wise. 

And I agree that it's a bloody shame that we can't just pick and choose as if we were living Mr. Potato Heads (I'll take smaller feet, please!)
That's funny, I was just wondering about this exact same thing today! I know exactly where you're coming from in regard to needing to lose more off the bottom half when the top half is already looking unhealthily bony. I guess it's time to pay more attention to my upper body strength training. Even my sternum is starting to show in certain lights, a la Nicole Ritchie in her anorexic days; definitely not a look I've ever aimed to emulate!
the muscles over the rib cage are your rectus abdominus, and the sides are the obliques and serratus. doing a lot of ab work might fix the problem or it could make it worse. Since the muscle are on top of the bone, they may stick our farther and you will be less happy. What i would suggest besides the pull downs, and bench press or push ups. Would be dumbbell pullovers on a bench it will help to build the serratus which is a little above where your problem is. That might help to even things out a bit.
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/PectoralS ternal/DBPullover.html

The link above will show you how to do it.
bodyscience - Thanks for the info!  I'll try those exercises and hope they work for me.  As always, a font of information.  I'm going to go do some dumbell pullovers right now - they look like fun!

skinny_kitty - yes, I know this is pretty minor ... and thanks for your nice comments - but I do want my DH to like what he sees - and he is extremely turned off by bony torsos (which I can understand, because it does not say "sexy" to me, either!), and since I've already lost a cup size (not that I could afford it), anything I can do to stop the upper-body meltdown will help! :)  Who knows, maybe I'll get a six-pack out of it by default if I work my abs and obliques ...
#17  
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Admittedly I am weak when it comes to phsyiology, but isn't the rib cage able to expand with the lungs? (it seems that way when I breath). If so, then would internal fat keep it from retracting as far as it can? Just like abdominal muscles have a layer of fat underneath that makes them protrude, do you know if ribs have the same thing?

Mine poke out far enough that I am worried that when I get my stomach and waist the way I want them, it will look unbalanced.

your ribs don't expand when you breath, they develop to give you enough room to take a deep breath., the only ribs that can really move in and out normally are your floating ribs , the bottom two ribs. once your rib cage is formed, there is nothing you do about the bones.
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