Infrasternal Angle Compensations and Treatments

A deep dive into the infrasternal angle

Movement Debrief Episode 115 is in the books. Below is a copy of the video for your viewing pleasure, and audio if you can’t stand looking at me.

Here is the setlist:

  • What are the primary compensatory strategies with a wide and narrow infrasternal angle?
  • What would be secondary compensations seen with these infrasternal angles?
  • What test results would each infrasternal angle have?
  • What exercises should be programmed for inhalation and exhalation strategies?
  • What is the upper thorax presentation for each infrasternal angle?
  • What exhalation strategies should each infrasternal angle use?
  • Are there times it’s okay to deviate from these strategies?

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and the audio version:    

Zac Cupples iTunes

Show notes

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The action of the diaphragm on the rib cage

All About Squats – Movement Debrief Episode 112

Here is an example of a true squat. Note the vertical displacement of the pelvis

Here is a pic of ya boi being hingy-AF at the mid-thoracic region of my thorax during the toe touch

Here is the reaching debrief

The Guide to Remote Coaching

Wide and narrow infrasternal angle compensatory strategies (1:12)

Hey Big Z, I like what you did during this debrief in regards to describing the Wide infrasternal angle (ISA), and then space-time changes you might see in regards to pump handle. Could you take this a couple of steps further in a future debrief, describing both a wide and a narrow ISA?  I am interested in hearing layer by later compensatory mechanics over time in both the thorax and pelvis as the body must continue to find ways to inhale and exhale. If it’s not too much, could you then describe what your expectations are in regards to table tests at the femur and shoulder as these compensations occur? Thanks in advance! E-$

Programming for wide and narrow infrasternal angles 

Zac, I’ve been curious about inhalation bias vs. exhalation bias and how that relates to an ISA. For example, I’ve been looking to incorporate box squats and toe touch exercises to my workouts and I was curious what exercises were good for what type of biases. 

Upper thorax compensations with narrow and wide Infrasternal angles 

Question 1: Hi Zac! There is a confusion going on in my head. I’ve watched your video “Breathing Mechanics 101” where you were talking about ISA. There you said that a wide ISA is able to expand posteriorly and a narrow one anteriorly. But wouldn’t that be right opposite due to fact that a narrow one is more inhalation biased where he is able to push the spine backward and vice versa with the wide? Thank you so much for your answer

Question 2: It is possible to have a narrow ISA, with a flat spine, but abducted scapula, shoulder flexion, and external rotation limitation? 

What type of exhalation strategies should narrow and wide infrasternal angles use? 

Are there ever situations for wide ISA people like myself to use open mouth exhales? I know the use of open vs closed mouth is just to facilitate activation of certain areas that are normally needed in wide vs narrow ISA presentations, but are there exceptions to this and what might those be? Or does it even matter? 

Sum Up

  • An exhalation-biased spine (spine pushed forward) compensates with an inhaled (wide) infrasternal angle
  • An inhalation-biased spine (spine pushed backward) compensates with an exhaled (narrow) infrasternal angle
  • Inhale restrictions show reduced flexion, abduction, and external rotation. Exhale restrictions show reduced extension, adduction, and internal rotation
  • Simultaneous inhalation and exhalation restrictions can occur throughout the body as secondary layers of compensations
  • Increase the probability of success by programming pursed-lipped exhales for wide ISAs, and open mouth sighs for narrow ISAs. Strategies can be flip-flopped if there is pain or the person has difficulty moving any air whatsoever.