Dr. Darden's Rib Cage Expansion

Dr. Darden,

I’d like to ask you some questions about your own rib cage expansion. Dr. Medaera hypothesized here on T-Nation that you gained 3 inches of rib cage expansion alone from your routine of breathing squats and dumbbell pullovers. And I think that you have one of the best if not the best rib cages in the history of bodybuilding. My questions are:

  1. How much of your rib cage expansion expanded the width of the chest and especially the width of the upper back? In the Nautilus video on youtube of you training Terri Jones (where you are no longer in contest shape), your upper back still looks especially wide and I was wondering how much of the upper back width was due to rib cage expansion or your natural genes?

  2. What is the significance of performing breathing squats in addition to pullovers? It seems to me that all of the magic that is done is done with the dumbbell pullover, i.e. stretching the rib cage. Why are squats needed? And do you care to share your routine, how many sets of squats and pullovers did you do that summer to expand your rib cage?

The squats get you huffing and puffing, which seems to help the pullovers and their expansion potential. When I was a teenager, I did three sets of squats and each set followed by pullovers.


Dr. Darden,

How much of your rib cage expansion would you say contributed to your chest and upper back back looking wider?

Probably 25 to 30% of it – maybe more.

Just wondering: would a 59 year old guy benefit from the squat and pullover routine? I picked up from one of my readings somewhere that a teenager would experience the rib cage expansion but an older man wouldn’t (?)

Dr. Darden,

You are known in bodybuilding for having one of the best ribcages of all time. How much bigger in inches do you think you could have made your ribcage?


I believe I was pretty much maxed out during my last competitions.