How to Exercise Intercostal Muscles


The intercostal muscles are a series of muscles found in and around your ribcage. There are two main types of intercostal muscles: internal ones within the ribcage and external ones located outside the ribcage. These bands of muscle angle downward and help your body to twist and your torso to flex. Top bodybuilders take time to develop the intercostal muscles for competition, but you can work yours with a basic movement to help strengthen your core and avoid injury.


Sit on an exercise ball so your feet are out in front of you and flat on the floor. If you don't have an exercise ball, you can do this exercise on the floor. Lie face up on the floor with your legs bent at the knee so your feet rest flat on the floor.

Roll forward a little by walking your feet so your middle back is on the ball. If you are on the floor, tilt your hips slightly so your lower back feels pressed against the floor.

Place your hands just behind your ears or your head and lift your torso up. Twist your torso as it comes up to flex your intercostal muscles.

Lower yourself slowly and do another crunch up, twisting to the opposite side. Continue to alternate sides until you’re done your set.


Sit on the floor and straighten your left leg out in front of you. Bend your right leg so the bottom of your right foot rests against the inside of your left thigh.

Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee, so your body twists to the side.

Raise your right arm straight up so it’s beside your head. Lean over toward the left and grasp your left foot with your right hand, stretching the right intercostal muscles.

Hold the stretch for a few moments, then relax and repeat. Do the stretch on both sides. Reach as far as you can if you can’t bend over far enough to reach your foot.

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