Is It OK To See Your Ribs?

Being skinny comes with its own set of little problems. No matter how much you eat, it seems that it’s impossible to gain weight, no matter how much you train, you can’t seem to pack on some muscles and you start building up insecurities around your body. One of these insecurities is the fact that for some skinny people, you can clearly see their ribs, especially if they’re stretching or breathing in a large amount of air which probably freaks most of them up. With that being said, is it ok to see your ribs?

In most cases, being able to see your rib cage isn’t alarming and it’s completely normal for someone that’s reasonably lean and doesn’t have a ton of muscles or fat in that area.

In this article, we’ll talk more in-depth about if it’s ok to see your ribs as well as the main reasons why it could happen.

Is It OK to See Your Ribs?

is it ok to see your ribs

Even though this question can be generally answered: “You’re too lean and don’t have a ton of muscles in that area in particular”, at the end of the day, it all depends on each type of person. The body is such a fascinating and interesting biological machine that it’s hard to generalize an answer without knowing the full details. 

Your body fat which is probably the main reason behind why you can see your ribs is only one piece of the puzzle and you should in fact look for all other possibilities. You need to ask yourself several questions: Do you look healthy overall? Do you always feel like you have enough energy to go through the day? Are you eating a fair amount of calories from balanced foods most days of the week? Do people ask you if you’re okay all the time? Are only your ribs that are showing or does your entire body look like you’ve been malnourished? Do you have a good relationship with food or are you constantly eating junk calories instead of protein, carbs, or healthy fats from good sources like fruits and vegetables

As you can see there are tons of factors that control whether or not it’s ok to see your ribs. However, most of the time, it’s not that alarming. Here are the main reasons behind the phenomena:

You Have a Fast Metabolism

Having a fast metabolism means that your body is constantly burning a ton of calories even while performing basic day-to-day activities and this is one of the main factors that could be behind why you’re seeing your ribs, especially if you’re not providing it with enough energy to fuel itself. Generally, this is the main reason why you’re not gaining any weight even though you’re always eating. That’s because people with a fast metabolism think that they’re eating enough but in most cases, they’re not reaching even 60% of what their bodies need.

You’re Too Lean

When you have a fast metabolism, the general outcome that happens is you become too lean. This means that your body fat is too low and it’s the main reason why you can see your ribs. This could be the result of many factors but in most cases, it’s probably your genetics acting up or you’re not eating enough (you’re eating less than what your body needs). The best ways to handle this are to reach a calorie surplus (eating more than what your body burns so the excess gets stored as fat) every single day, join a gym, and eat from good sources of food.

You Carry Body Fat in Another Area

This is usually the case for women. It’s entirely possible to have a heavier lower section with a lean rib cage. Research has proved that this is one of the healthiest ways to carry body fat as it helps a lot to support pregnancies and it’s actually the main reason why most women have that classic pear shape that we often see. So if you’ve ever wondered why you can see your ribs, check your lower section first to see if all the fat is stored there. 

You’re Too Tall

The most common types of people that have ribs that show are tall ones. It pretty much means that your bone structure/frame is large compared to the amount of fat that’s sitting on top of it. This means that your ribs will naturally show and it’s not alarming at all, you’ve just been blessed with awesome tall genetics that you should be proud of. 

You Have a Medical Condition

I left this to last since it’s probably the least likely but it’s good to put it just to make sure. If you didn’t see your ribs before and all of a sudden, you can magically see them now, you should immediately talk to your doctor since it probably means that you’re suffering from a medical condition. If they say it’s normal then you have nothing to worry about, if they say it’s not, they’ll help you with it until you feel better. They will examine you, gather important information about your lifestyle and history (like the questions I mentioned before), and give you a medically accurate, evidence-based answer. 

How To Stop Seeing Your Ribs?

One of the best ways to stop seeing your ribs is to start eating enough in order to become less lean and thus develop more fat around the rib area. Always make sure that you’re reaching a calorie surplus every single day by eating more calories than what your body is burning so that the excess gets stored as fat, especially around the rib area. The calories should also come from healthy and balanced sources such as fruits and vegetables and should contain all the essential nutrient that guarantees weight gain. 

Another thing you should consider is joining the gym to start weight lifting or another form of resistance training that’s able to challenge you physically in order to build muscles. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, make sure to focus on compound exercises that target the chest area such as the bench press or push-ups in order to develop muscles around the rib cage which will hide it. 


As you can see, in most cases, the fact that you’re able to see your ribs shouldn’t be something that’s alarming unless you’ve never used to see them until that changed suddenly. Just to be sure, always consult with your doctor to get the most accurate information.

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