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How to Put Weight on Ribs

By Kevin Rail

In most cases, people do everything they can to lose weight. But there are also people who actually want to gain weight, or for lack of a better term, put some weight on their ribs. This is usually the case with people who have really high metabolisms or who are what's called "hard gainers." This is gym terminology for having a hard time bulking up. The way to pull this off is to make some dietary adjustments, lift some weights and do some exercises that actually target the rib area.

Eat more food. In order to put weight on your ribs, you must increase your calories. Keep a journal and track your daily calories for a week. After you do this, find out what your average daily amount is. Now add 500 calories to that amount and divide by six. Eat six meals per day at the amount of calories you figured out. Choose foods that are nutrient dense and low in saturated fat. You want to gain weight the healthy way. Some examples of foods are lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Avoid high amounts of cardio. If you are trying to put weight on your ribs, then doing high amounts of cardio will be counterproductive. Keep it to no more than twice per week, and keep the time at no more than 30 minutes.

Do serratus pushdowns. Stand in front of a lat machine with the straight bar on the high setting. Place your hands about shoulder-width apart. Push it all the way down until it touches your thighs. Slowly raise it back up to a point that is about chest level and repeat. This works the serratus muscles that are located on the upper sides of the rib cage.

Do some pullovers. Sit on a Swiss ball with a dumbbell in your hands. Hold it with your hands flat on the inside of one of the weighted ends. Your hands should be flat and laying over the top of each other. The inside of your hands should form a diamond shape and should surround the handle of the dumbbell. Lower yourself down so your shoulders, neck and head are all supported on the ball. Lift the dumbbell straight up and lower it over your head down toward the floor. Lift it back up and pull it forward until it is above your navel. Then go back and forth. The dumbbell should be upright the whole time.

Do some side crunches on a BOSU. A BOSU is a functional training tool that looks like a Swiss ball that has been cut in half. It has a flat side and an inflated dome side. It can be used either way. For this exercise, have the dome side up. Lie on the dome on your side with your legs straight out and in the air. Rest one arm on the ground lightly for balance. Now slowly lower your legs down toward the floor and then lift them back up using the muscles on the side of your rib cage.

Do side bends. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in one hand. Slowly bend laterally down to one side and then bend back up.

Do complex exercises. These types of exercises involve more than one joint range of motion at once, which recruits a lot of muscle fiber. Some examples are bench presses, military presses, deadlifts, back rows and squats. Do high sets of low reps with heavy weights and long rest periods. An example would be 8 to 10 sets of three to five reps with 2-to-4-minute rest periods.

Put it all together. Do the complex exercise routine on Monday and Friday. Do the serratus pushdowns, pullovers, BOSU side crunches and side bends on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For these exercises, do four sets of 10 to 12 reps for each one.

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