Pectus Excavatum Repair Part 1 - Exercises to Improve Chest Appearance

george of the jungle, Even brendan fraiser has PE :)
george of the jungle, Even brendan fraiser has PE :)

This hub is about pectus excavatum repair and I will share some exercises and things you can do to improve the appearance of your chest wall without going for the surgery option. As the surgery can take a long time to recover from and can also be very expensive and difficult in terms of getting insurance cover.

I may also write an article on how to get insurance cover if anyone is interested. These exercises are for people with mild to moderate pectus excavatum and remember if you feel any pain please stop immediately. Pectus excavatum repair is a slow process and requires consistent work to maintain and bring that sternum back to its original position.  

General Exercise & Posture

Pectus Excavatum repair will benefit from any sort of physical exercise. I have a few friends who joined the army when they had pectus excavatum and came out of it with an incredibly improved chest wall appearance.

They believe all that exercise and standing straight and marching has helped incredibly. Posture is something that can have a huge impact on how bad or good your chest will appear.

The best general exercises for improving your chest appearance are Running, Jogging, Swimming and Yoga. 

Weighted Exercises  

A great weight exercise to improve your pectus excavtum is the dumbbell pullover or barbell pullover. This exercise is great at strengthening chest muscles as well as getting a great expansion in the rib cage and helps push that sternum out, and don’t forget to warm before any short of weight exercise and take it easy.

The way I do this exercise at home is to either use a simple weight bench or lie down on the floor with a thing pillow placed behind under your back around where your sternum sinks to give your back a slight arc. This helps emphasize pressure on the sunken sternum area.

Improve Posture to Improve your Pectus Excavatum

Alpha Brace Posture Aid / Clavicle Splint Brace
Alpha Brace Posture Aid / Clavicle Splint Brace

A great start to improving your Pectus excavatum is with posture and posture vest can speed this process up

Posture Corrective Brace- Beige 22"-46"
Posture Corrective Brace- Beige 22"-46"

Nice posture brace, it also comes across the flared rib area making it a great way to help push in flared ribs

ITA-MED  TLSO (Thoracic Lumbo Sacral Orthosis) - Posture Corrector, Medium Support, Adult, Medium
ITA-MED TLSO (Thoracic Lumbo Sacral Orthosis) - Posture Corrector, Medium Support, Adult, Medium

Great vest, for a full upper body posture correction, great for people with especially bad posture


Breathing exercises 

Deep breathing exercises can be incredibly beneficial to people with pectus excavatum as it will expand the ribcage and push out your sternum.


1. Stand straight with good posture

 2. Keep hands by your side and inhale, take a big breath, as big as you can possibly do and push out your chest.

 3. Hold your breath for 5-30 seconds (5 or less for beginners and 30 for more experienced people) and place your hands in the position seen below except not sitting, hand clasped behind upper neck .(note: don't kill yourself holding your breath doing this even for a short period you will feel it the more you do it. The aim is to expand the chest as large as possible.


This breathing technique in just as effective lying down on the ground or sitting straight in a chair just remember to breath in DEEP and if you do this consistently you should notice some improvement in about 3 months, if not you should notice your posture to have benefited from the exercises

the picture below shows how your arms should be placed behind your head. You can see the arrows pointing towards the back muscles, people with pectus excavatum will experience very tight back muscles and this is due to the pressure of the sunken sternum , I actually have some pretty dark looking stretch marks on my back because of P.E.

Broom Twist  A simple exercise pectus excavatum repair exercise grab a long pole or broom stick and place it behind your neck and grab the stick with each hand about shoulder width apart. From then begin to twist slowly and controlled at the waist. This exercise will help bring in those flared ribs.  Other exercises beneficial to pectus excavatum repair: Yoga, swimming, jogging/running   

Continue on to Part 2 for Exercise Routine for Pectus Excavatum

This is part 1 of pectus excavatum repair , part 2 will contain more detailed exercise information

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Comments 236 comments

Scott 7 years ago

Please write part two........I have been struggling with self esteem issues due to my concaved sternum for decades. Any detailed exercise information you have would be GREATLY appreciated.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi , thanks for your comment, i totally forgot about part two but I will get onto it and hopefully have it done in a day or so, I also have pectus excavatum so I know what your going through I also run a site dedicated to pectus excavatum ,if you give me your email I can give you some tips and idea's on how to deal with your P.E if you like,

might be best to join hubpages and then you can send me a private msg instead of having your email online for everyone to see

Princessa 7 years ago

I agree with Scott....Your page has been very helpful & me too have bad self esteem issues...

john 7 years ago

Great helped me a lot.. thanks.. I never got pain in my chest... but got my chest inwards.. I am doing exercises for a year... Never caused me a pain... Any other exercises could help me out of this...

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hey john , the best thing is the deep breathing exercises I find them much more effective then other exercises , for example going for a run and breathing deeply into the chest can be a great way to push out the sternum

Angus 7 years ago

what your site address?

Angus 7 years ago

I would also appreciate any suggestion when dealing with an insurance company about Nuss procedure coverage.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

the site is and I have written a hub on dealing with insurance companies u can also find the link above in the links section hope it helps, if you have any questions let me know:)

michael 7 years ago

I am going to start using exercise 4, is this very effective? If not which exercise should i use? Also how long will it take before i see any large improvement on my chest?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hello michael, yes the exercises are usually very effective , you just have to be consistent with your exercise and depending on how severe your p.e is it could take up to 2-3 months to see a difference. It seems like a long time and a lot of ppl give up before they see any results, goodluck

michael 7 years ago

thankyou for the reply, I am only going to do the breathing exercises and exercise 4, will there be quite a big improvement over 2-3 months with consistancy?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

the breathing exercises for me where great, and its great to see an improvement in your posture which inturn means better chest appearance, always be concience of your posture too poor posture can make your p.e look a lot worse.

Maybe add some yoga stretches too along with the breathing exercises. Most ppl with p.e have really tight back muscles due to the pull on the sternum. Be consistent and you will see improvements:)

michael 7 years ago

by doing the exercises that i have chosen do you think that my depressed chest will elevate and push out to more of a normal appearance?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yes it will push out and start to appear more normal:) goodluck, read my pectus excavatum repair part 2 for a routine you can try out aswell.

michael 7 years ago

how many times should I do the breathing exercises per day? and will I see an improvement in posture and an elevated chest by doing the breathing exercise?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Upon waking and just before bed is the best time to do it, and yes it will help your chest and posture greatly. Take it easy and start at 3 seconds holding breath. You cant be too desperate about getting results just relax and they will come.

michael 7 years ago

I am only 14, is this a good age to be doing this breathing exercise?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

as you are at a young age breathing exercises should be fine its just like breathing in , nice and deep and breathing out slowly. Just keep an eye on your posture. Do u stand up nice and straight with your shoulders back? your chest will change as you grow older it may get better or it may become deeper but that is totally normal.

If you get too worried you can always go see a pectus excavatum specialist.

michael 7 years ago

my shoulders are sort of crowned over, my posture does look a little better after the posture though, i'm just worried that my chest may get deeper. do you reckon i should do some exercises from part 2? if so which one to help my chest elevate?

michael 7 years ago

my posture looks better after the breathing exercises*.

michael 7 years ago

can you please reply soon

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi, sorry for the delay, i cant really advise you to try them so its really up to you, stretching exercises should be fine but you always have to careful when using resistance or pushing against things.

michael 7 years ago

I am only using the dumbell pullover technique and the breathing exercies, is this good for me at my age? how much will the dumbell pullover help me out at my age?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hey, if you wanna talk more about you can reach me on my email that way we don't clog up the comment section:)

Dragonboy 7 years ago

hey i'm 15 years old and i have the Pectus-Excavatum .I think its quite deep and it really bothers.

Does these exercises really work ?

have you had this or anyone u know that actully did the exercises and had improved on their chest?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well its varies on how affective they are from person to person but generally yes it will improve your chest appearance, i have pectus excavatum and my chest definitely looks better after exercising and correcting posture

, its just hard for most people to stay consitant with the exercises.

rago 7 years ago

hello im 14 and i have pectus ex, how long will it take until i see a great improvement in my chest after doing the breathing exercises and a couple of chest strengthining exercises?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

probably wont notice any visible improvements until 3 to 6 months time, depend on how severe your pectus excavatum is,

just stay consistent even if you cant see improvements in the first few months they will lots of improvement to posture and lung capacity.

abhilash p d 7 years ago


john 7 years ago

by doing breathing exercises will it elevate my concaved chest? if it does elevate the concaved chest will it go to a normal looking position?

john 7 years ago

also when im doing the breathing exercise should my hand be clasped behind my neck while i take in the deep breath, or put my hands behind my neck after i have taken the breath?

dawn 7 years ago

my 8 yrs has just been told he has pectus excavatum, the dr didn't tell me much, was wondering what the best exercises would be

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hi john, I am not sure if you will return to normal position depends on the person really, depends if the breathing exercise has a great affect on you , you might need more variety of exercises.

When you say normal its always hard to say when you've reached normal as the regular chest always has some dip around the sternum area. While breathing have your hands behind your neck, while you inhale and exhale.

hi dawn, since your child is very young I think the best thing you can do to help his/her chest appearance as he/she gets older is to encourage good posture and keep them active. I grew up with poor posture and it made my chest appearance worse as I got older.

For exercises I think he/she a bit young yet but maybe some light stretches would help loosen up tight muscles, especially back muscles get tight because of the pull from the sunken sternum

Ervi 7 years ago

Hey, expectus,

thanks for this nice article. I will start doing them starting today and will post in 6 month about my progress :)

Once again, thanks :)

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

goodluck :) , take a look at part 2 aswell , the best thing is to stay active to encourage overall health and help your sternum push out naturally

bob 7 years ago

Hi i have p.e. as well, it is rather mild but for some reason i've got flared ribs only on the left side (and i don't think i was born with it) the right side is fine, also i don't have any problems with back or with posture so i wanted to ask if its possible to straighten out the flaring completely if i follow the breathing exercises?

Thanks in advance.

bob 7 years ago

Hi i have p.e. as well, it is rather mild but for some reason i've got flared ribs only on the left side (and i don't think i was born with it) the right side is fine, also i don't have any problems with back or with posture so i wanted to ask if its possible to straighten out the flaring completely if i follow the breathing exercises?

Thanks in advance.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi bob, yea its common to have flaring on just a single side if you look at your pectus excavatum in the mirror usually it will be more on one side which will cause one rib to stick out more.

Breathing exercises will help , and so will ab/core exercises but I believe the main success comes from using a pectus excavatum corset or back brace type thing to help push the ribs back into shape can take quite some time though. I made a homemade brace just out of a back brace and a couple bits of rubber to push rest against my ribs.

john 7 years ago

how many breathing exercises should i be doing per day?

john 7 years ago

will there be a point where we have done enough of these exercises and have a normal posture and normal looking appearance and we will be able to stop doing the exercises and there wont be a re-occurance?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

usually they say around 2 times a day for 5 - 10 minutes

and like with anything when you've reached your desired level you pretty much just have to do maintenance exercises every now and then

john 7 years ago

how many individual breathing exercises should i do, for example 10 breathing exercises for 10 seconds each and then repeat how many times after?

john 7 years ago

also, how long did it take you until you got your desired appearance of your chest and which exercises did you use?


expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Well i can't really recommend a specific routine, but its more about listening to your body. With your breathing exercises really getting a good deep breath then exhaling fully.

Its good to do them on a regular basis maybe for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night. For me personally I do breathing exercises every now and then but am still looking for a more normal chest appearance.

I sometimes do exercises from other than that just some basic weighted exercises and always trying to maintain a good posture. I also use a homemade back brace every now and then and also use it to bring in my flared ribs.

john 7 years ago

so will these exercises actually make my chest look normal just like everyone elses?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Well its impossible to say , of course it will improve the appearance of your chest but you may still not be happy with it. It can take a lot of work to get a normal looking chest.

But what do you consider to look normal, a little dent in your chest is normal I find a lot of people with P.E exercise and improve there chest to the point where they've increased there self-esteem enough to be happy with how there chest looks. There are always other options if exercise is too slow for you.

- silicon implant, surgery or vests/braces

john 7 years ago

by a small dent do you mean that it is just like a small dent in a normal looking dent?

and what vest/braces can you get to help?

thankyou for your other replys :)

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yea a small dent in a normal looking chest, it also depends how severe you p.e is ofcourse, and check out for some non surgical methods using bracing to fix Pectus excavatum I'm not sure what sort of results your after.

john 7 years ago

can you home make the dynamic chest braces so that they will do a suitable job, with the right exercises?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yeaa you could easily put one together at home , using basic posture braces and adding support around the flared ribs to help push out the sternum.

I've seen people wearing a brace and using the pec dec machine at the gym and this can your chest appearance, as you do the exercise your ribs will try and push out and the brace will push them back into normal position

john 7 years ago

where can you get a basic posture brace? and what other exercises can you do with the brace?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

You can get some posture braces from amazon, have a look up the page I listed some of my favorite ones. I use the ActiveWrap on my flared ribs helps a lot.

With p.e correction using vests/braces they recommend you wear it all the time, so you will do everything like usual just with the vest on. Takes time . You can do any exercise you like with a brace :) and the general improvement in posture will make your chest look a lot better

john 7 years ago

so if i bought a posture brace and appiled pressure pads in the correct area would my posture become better and will my sternum elevate?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well correct posture is the first step to getting a more normal looking chest, only time will tell now make sure you posture is good, do some deep breathing exercises and keep up your physical activity.

Then you can add specific pectus excavatum exercises like from part 2 if you choose to

osyjeff profile image

osyjeff 7 years ago

weii regular exercise is good for normal functioning of the heart

rick 7 years ago

i have created my own DCC brace , it consists of having a belt tightly wrapped around my ribs and i have two pressure pads, one on each rib, if i do use a pec dec will this be affective on improving my sternum?

bob 7 years ago

hi, its me again :) I have flaring only on one side, so i wanted to ask if i should have the pad only on the side where it is flared, or on both sides?


expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hi , from the vests I've seen and that website i posted a bit further up the posts, looks like both sides is best

goodluck , and take it easy :)

LisaLou 7 years ago

My 12 year old son has mild P.E. My family wants to buy a vacuum bell off ebay and use it on him. I am against doing something that no doctors in the U.S.(including ours) seem to know about. It seems like there could be potential risks. do you have any thoughts?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi LisaLou I agree with you and am definitely against using a vacuum bell especially on a 12 year old. They pretty much work like any vacuum pump, by increasing the air pressure inside the bell cyclinder.

I have used one before and pretty much pulls your sternum forward but at the same time puts a lot of strain on your heart , I could feel my heart beating faster as blood rushed to that area.

There have not been many people that have cured there PE using a vacuum bell , most people use it for temporary relief or before a photo shoot.

The best option is to make sure your son stays active and keeps up good posture so it doesn't get worse as he goes through puberty as it usually does for most people. Then when he is a little older he can choose to wear a brace, do exercises to help his chest or opt for the surgery.


Greg 7 years ago

I think I have pectus excavatum on just the right-hand side of my ribcage. So far it hasn't been much trouble and it is pretty mild, but I recently took up golf and my the extension from my backswing is causing a little bit of pain. Basically, what I'm wondering is, since my form of pectus excavatum is asymmetrical, do I need to do any special techniques that are different from these posted here, or can I follow them and expect similar results/improvements?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi Greg, the same exercises will work fine as you'll find most people have asymmetrical pectus excavatum. Its very rare to see someone with the sunken sternum totally centered, but it is normal for ribs to be flared more on one side.

The pain your experiencing sounds like it could be from very tight back muscles due to your PE. If you can loosen them up with some stretches , broom twists it should help with the pain hopefully :)

visakha 7 years ago

Hi Expectus,

I am a mother to a 3 yr old boy with PE. Even at such young age he already noticed the dent and kept querying me about it. I have seen the paed but he mentioned no worry and there is nothing i can do about it other than the cosmectic surgery. I have tried to google about PE and seen many negative remarks on it and how it can affect the child both physically, emotionally and also their health. I really do not know how to cope with it and it makes me extremely sad when there is nothing that i can do to improve his situation. Could you please give me some advise on how can i help him deal with some possible complications as he grew up and also anything i can do to help him look better and also reduces any future health problem?

Sorry for such long comment but your help is greatly appreciated. I do not know of anyone else with PE and have no idea where to get consultation.

Thanking you in advance.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi visakha, I understand your concern for your son and there really is nothing to worry about. The biggest thing for me when growing up with PE was feeling somehow different and felt very embarrassed to take off my shirt especially as younger kids can sometimes be quite cruel.

I mention this a lot but try and make sure he grows up with good posture, people with PE tend to slump over trying to hide there chests and poor posture makes your PE look a lot worse. also make sure he stays active and fit and monitor his chest as he grows and make sure he doesn't feel any chest pains or shortness of breath things like that.

When you think about its not a huge complication as long as it doesn't affect his organs, your chest just looks slightly different and unique :) I wonder if anyone else in your family has PE as its usually passed down as I got mine from my father even though his was very mild compared to mine. goodluck :) let me know if you have any more questions

visakha 7 years ago

Hi Expectus,

Thank you so much for your advice. Really appreciate it. Definitely there is no one in the family having PE and therefore I have no idea how come my son got it. Anyway I always try to look at the positive side that it could have been worst. I just thank god for the gift that we have such a wonderful and healthy boy.

I would definitely try to ensure he has a proper posture. I also plan to send him for swimming class, hopefully that can help keep him fit and improve his stamina when it comes to breathing capacity.

Btw, I understand that there is a type of measurement to ascertain the degree of PE. Where and how can i get it done? Since he is so young, is it advisable to do it now?

At what age generally there could be chest pain or shortness of breath? During puberty?

Lastly, currently i kept telling him that he is very special and everyone is unique in their own way. I complement the way he looks and hopefully that will motivate him more that we love him so much the way he is. Do you think that could help? I want to prepare him in case when he goes to school, I dun want him to feel ridiculed by his friends.

Expectus, once again thanks for your advice.

Have a great weekend!

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

My pleasure :) its definitely a blessing to have a healthy boy and when you think about it a slight dip in your chest isn't the biggest deal :)

Usually the scan will be done around puberty as thats when PE will become the most noticeable as the bones bend into a more permanent position. Its a basic CT scan for the chest

" computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest, pulmonary function tests (PFTs), and a cardiology evaluation also are performed. The CT scan is used to determine the depth of the deformity based on the Haller index"

Other kids may make fun of it but I never really came across anything too bad, after all you can drink soup or eat your cereal out of your bowl chest in the mornings:P It's unique people always said I would be great at smuggling things in my chest hole :P hehe

All the best :)

visakha 7 years ago

Thanks again for your advices. Its really a pleasure to get to know you.....though its just through internet... :-)

Anyway hope to keep in touch with you in case i need any further advices as you've been really helpful.

Thank you, Expectus.

Sean 7 years ago

Hey I'm a 21 year old male with minor PE. Is it too late for me to attempt try and correct my PE? Thanks.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi Sean , its never too late to start exercising and improving your chest I know of guys in there 50s and 60's that are doing exercises to correct there PE

Sean 7 years ago

Wow thanks for the quick response. I understand that people can still do the exercises, but due to the hardening of bones in older people, can someone my age still get possible improvement of my PE? Thanks.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Well yea they always say around 21 is the magic age when your bones start to harden , it just means its going to take time but at your age you have more of a chance than most.

its easy to see improvement from basic breathing exercises and posture work , anything like yoga, palates , swimming will also help your chest appearance

greg 7 years ago

if you wanted an operation on your P.E would you need a physical problem that affects your breathing etc. ?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

No it can be done for purely cosmetic reasons as well :)

greg 7 years ago

how would i apply to have this done?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

talk to a specialist who actually does the surgery:) get your initial checkup and then he will tell you how to go about it costs, recovery things like that :) if you goto , you can find a list of doctors in your area

greg 7 years ago

thanks for the replys :)

what would be a rough cost to have the nuss operation?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

10 - 30k depending on how much insurance cover, and which country you live in.

greg 7 years ago

i live in england, could i get the operation on the NHS?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I'm not sure greg, you would have to contact your nearest specialist

greg 7 years ago

thankyou for all your help and advice :)

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

no worries greg good luck :)

jack 7 years ago

thank you very much expectus

your article really gave me a lot of hope

I have a mild-moderate PE and it was not a big deal for me. I could still go to the beach with my friends and take my shirt off and all but a few days ago I got some problems with breathing you know short breath and all I think it's affecting lung capacity. do you think exercises can help? which do you suggest the most for increasing lung capacity?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi jack, the best exercises I would say are swimming and running. They really force you to improve your lung capacity.

other than that actually training your breathing will help a lot. Stand up straight with good posture and take in a deep breath and breath in as much as you can. Pause and then exhale slowly and controlled while maintaining good posture. Really try and expand your chest as you breath in.

if you notice any pain your overdoing it or your PE is putting pressure on your heart or surrounding organs but as you have mild PE I don't think that would be happening, goodluck jack let me know if you have anymore questions

dsfdsg 7 years ago


I already have pretty good posture and my mild pe looks smaller if i put myself in the right pose, so does good posture really get the strenum out permanentli or it just makes it appear so?

I can expand my chest greatly if I get enough air into my lungs, that way the pe is completely unnoticable.

Will breathing exercises with holding the air and the breast expanded for about 40 seconds push my sternum out if I do them say 10 times a day? How about the dumbbell pullovers, will they actually lift the sternum or just strenghten the chest? I am pretty muscular already and I don't know if further development of pecs will improve my appearance, should I also do push ups and bench presses?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Well good posture can help a lot to make your chest look better , good posture can only do so much though and other exercises need to be incorporated

don't push yourself when holding your breath pause for a little while not too long that it feels uncomfortable. It will help push out your sternum but it can take quite some time of being consistent with the exercise

dumbbell pullovers will help i think they are more of a shoulder and upper back exercise than a chest exercise but they will help expand the ribcage and push everything out.

bench presses and push ups will help your pec development but sometimes ppl say that more muscle you get the more obvious it comes, there is no muscle where your sternum is sunken so there is not much you can do to fill it up unless you develop huge lower pecs through weight lifting.

dsfdsg  7 years ago

thanks fot the answer. I am also taking some D vitamin drops which are supposed to prevent bones from getting too soft, is this medicine good to be taken now, at the start of my pe exercises or should it be taken after? I am worried of my cartilages becoming too hard and unable to be pushed out but as I see, on the second part of your exercises there is some "bone mineralization" mentioned, in a positive way.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi not sure that vitamin D is going to do much, our body already produces it when we get the suns rays. Depending on your age I don't think it will do much after the age of 21 your bones should be pretty much set.

but that doesn't mean exercises wont work many people in there 40's 50's use exercises to improve there chest appearance.

Emma 7 years ago

hi this has been so useful, ive always been so aware of mine, i thought surgery was the only option but now i can do these exercises. does sleeping postions effect it? eg, laying on the side can encourage it?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi emma, well for me I find lying on my back helps cause I am forced to breath into my chest more, they say to sleep with good posture on your side have a proper mattress or put a small pillow between your knee's.

glad you found it useful , check out part 2 for a more specific routine you can try :)

jake 7 years ago

hello,im 13 and have pectus Excavatum i am reeli sefl contious and don't take my shirt off very often,as people have made bad comments,i think i is a slight case not to serious but i rreeli want help to improve it! please can you help.. (btw does having a "sixpack" make it worse or does it not matter?) thanks (:

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hi jake, I know what your going through went through the same thing myself but as you get older its not such a bad thing makes you unique:P

but regarding making it better, i always say posture is number 1 , its hard to stand up nice and straight when your conscious of your chest but it really makes it look better. Then you can try some exercises designed to help push your sternum out but at your age just general cardio exercise will help your lung capacity and help expand your chest.

and having a sixpack wont make it worse it will help your core strength and pull in flared ribs if you have them.

jake 7 years ago

ok thanks so much for the help!

Christopher Perilli 7 years ago


I have had pectus all my life, I am 34 years old. Back in 1999 I sought out a few docs in the US to possibly get the operation. I perused message forums for months looking for anything, I came across a guy by the name of Steve, who was living in Japan. He sent me a bunch of emails and we talked for a few months. (you can find them on the ctd website) In these transmissions he explained how pectus is due to in part from bad posture, and rounded shoulders, tight chest muscles, weak abdominals and weak back muscles around the spine. Rib flare he told me can be subsided with heavy abdominal work and wearing a rib compression brace (same type as if you pulled or broke a rib) along with a brace to keep your shoulders pined back, wear it daily and sleeping. I did this for 3 years, after which I finally got my muscles strong enough to sleep without braces. It's 10 years later, it has improved every year, currently it is about 93% normal. I backslide sometime and get lazy, I train mixed martial arts for a few years which has helped me greatly in flexibility and strenght. You would be surprised how many people with pectus have unusually tight hamstrings. (stretch em a lot!) Mine was on the right side my left side (heart side) is completely normal. I fully believe that before I am dead I will have a flat chest. It has been a winding road indeed, but its worth every moment. Never let anyone even a doctor tell you something can not be done. If your mind can see it, it can be. I commend you for spreading this info.

I would like to speak to you off line if possible. I am part owners of a new media company who delivers web sites and video on a daily basis. I would be willing to donate a website for this if you are interested. I have been thinking of starting one for about a decade, however with our business we are way too busy building sites than to maintain them.

let me know.

Thanks again.


expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks Chris, it's great to hear you having success using braces and exercises to correct your P.E. Most people seem to give up before they see any improvements which is a shame.

Tight muscles were a huge problem for me I had incredibly tight muscles across my back that felt like it was pulling me forward.

I would definitely be interested in the website and speaking to you offline. I have setup a site on P.E but its really lacking in the web design department.

You can reach me at or I'll send you an email soon from your pixelmobb website:) thanks

Raj 7 years ago

hey,im 16,and i also have a cas of PE :(,so i did the exercises and they surely improved my posture and all,however i stil have PE,however i was wondering if you'd have some before-after PE pics of people who did these exercises?that way it encourages others including me :)

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Yeaa some before and after pictures would be good I've haven't seen that many just a few for people using bracing to fix there P.E, i'll try and find some and post them up here

Raj 7 years ago

hey,expectus,i have a problem,i also had a slight case of kyphosis,which was postural because it im standing almost straight,tanx 2 the exercises and all,however i have some backstrains,will they dissappear if i stop with the exercises? should i stop the exercises?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yea definitely give it a rest if your back hurts, no points trying to push through pain its a very gradual transformation.

something like yoga is great at loosening you up before your exercises and get blood flowing, make sure your body is warmed up

bob 7 years ago


I am 15 yrs old and around 6'3'' and i have PE. I was wondering if there are any specific weight exercises i could do to make my dent look more like a regular chest, and on top of that, make it look nice and big.

In addition, what other exercises can help improve my chest the fastest?

And what are some ways to help prevent the dent from being seen with my shirt on?

sorry for all the questions!

plz write back asap. Thanks!

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

you should also check out for more exercises but weight exercises

are dumbbell pullovers

any core exercises and heavy ab exercises

broom twists

the only way i know of preventing your dent being seen is wearing a posture vest underneath your t-shirt to help bring in your flared ribs

eljay 7 years ago

hey expectus, i actually have a mild depression going on so u think it shud be more easier to get it looking normal with these exercises?

and in order, can u tell me what exercises work best for you?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

first of all try this hub for more specific exercises and for me

I find the dumbell pullovers really great, and wearing a posture brace really helps, other than that really strong core muscles are great to stabilize everything and of course maintaining good posture.

mike 7 years ago

hey, im 15 and i want to start doing the dumbell pullovers, what weight should i do and how long will it take for me to see any improvements? :)

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

A weight that you feel comfortable with for 12-15 reps I would say its really up to what feels good for you.

and as far as how long its really hard to say depends what else you do along with the exercise , like bracing. it also depends how deep your PE is, flared ribs

mike 7 years ago

thanks for quick reply, my ribs are only slightly flared and i'd say i have one to one and a half inches deep p.e, how long shoul one rep take?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

its should be a nice controlled motion so its easy on your joints, make sure you breath in deeply and focus on expanding your rib cage.

mike 7 years ago

when i breathe in do i do it through my nose or mouth?

do you do dumbell pullovers? if so have they helped you out a lot?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

always breath through your nose, and dumbbell pullovers do help but you have to do more than that to fix your P.E

i find dumbbell pullovers great for a full expansion of the chest and helps to push out the sternum.

mike 7 years ago

at the moment im doing jogging and dumbell pullovers for 5 days a week. what other specific exercises could i do to fix my p.e?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

first of all probably not great idea to do pullovers 5 days a weak , you are working your muscle as well so its good to give your muscles 24-48 hours to recover and rebuild.

you could try some yoga ,something like swimming the backstroke you can really feel it. I like to stand up right with good posture and breath in deeply and after 5-10 minutes you can really feel it on your sternum.

mike 7 years ago

how would i do the breathing in?

and by doing pullovers will they make a big difference in pushing the sternum out? because i read that they arent effective :(

rak 7 years ago

hey,i'm doing the exercises,and i noticed some improvents in posture(not slogging anymore),however i noticed because of my pe my belly seems to stick out a little,people think i gained wait,it's like some ribs are sticking out 2 much :(,is there anyway to pull them back,also how well did your improvements go?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

mike - well its different for everyone but dumbell pullovers alone probably wont do a great deal , its all part of a routine you need to develop to target problem area's to fix your PE (posture, rounded shoulders etc)

rak - I have the same problem with flared ribs but i think your PE may be lower down than mine as I don't get the pot belly look too much. Lots of abdominal work should help ,don't neglect lower abs very important. Other than that posture bracing is a great way to fix flared ribs if you stay consistent

glen 7 years ago

what exercises can i use to improve my posture?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

it really depends on what your posture is like now , look in the mirror to see where your posture needs work e.g if your lower back is curved too much try back bridges or lower ab work. Try and bring the spine into line

7 years ago

what sources do you have on those exercises? do they only improve posture or does the sternum really go out slowly? how long does it take?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

the exercises are from are sourced from a company in hong kong that deals with asthma and respiratory conditions.

and I have noticed improvements using them , its hard to find specific proof that it does in fact improve PE but for me it did.

ken 7 years ago

how far in was your sternum compared to how it is now after your routines?

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expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well around 2 years ago I had shocking posture and much deeper PE than I have now, as to how much exactly its hard to say maybe 1-2 cm its not a huge improvement but I am not very consistent with my exercises and still have some work to do before i have a totally normal chest appearance.

mike 6 years ago

by doing these exercises on part one and two can you restore your chest to have a norml outlook?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I would say yes you can, but you always have to monitor your chest and assess whether its working or were you need improvement and really develop a routine specific to your chest.

ronnie 6 years ago

hey expectus. i have a sort of weird pectus excavatum

it is only a mild case, about 2 1/2 inches in. but the thing is, my right rib cage seems to be sunk and my left rib cage is normal. is there some excersise for pushing out one side of the rib cage?

also, for the breathing excerside were i place my hands behind my neck, do i put my elbows all the way back? or all the way front? or just to the sides?

last thing, am i suppose to be having back pain/sores when doing the breathing exercise? thanks again for your help

ronnie 6 years ago

sorry i meant 2 1/2 centimeters** in lol

mike 6 years ago

can you suggest a routine i could do?

and can these exercises worsen the p.e?

thank you :)

ronnie 6 years ago

then again, i am trying to adjust to a good posture so are back sores/pains normal while doing the breathing excersice?

jay 6 years ago

thanks Expectus

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

ronnie - for flared ribs you can try some sort of bracing, or heavy abdominal work helps. Also some yoga stretches can help to bring them into a normal position.

and it shouldn't hurt when you do the breathing exercises, maybe you have especially tight back muscles that need to be stretched a bit first. And keep your elbows back in line with your shoulders to help fix your posture.

mike - try exercise page 2 for a more specific routine, but breathing exercises and stretching exercises daily can help a lot, the only thing that can make it worse is getting bad posture , incorrect exercising or building bigger pec muscles which may change the appearance of your chest. but i find building strong chest muscles is vital for fixing pe.

my pleasure jay:)

Carlos 6 years ago


great website, thanks for taking the time to make it and for giving me hope! I love the exercises and I'm looking forward to seeing great results. I read some of your comments, and i noticed someone mentioned something about a brace that you can wear that improves PE. Do you know where I can get one? I feel a mixture of your exercises and the brace can do the trick.

shannon 6 years ago


i'm not sure if its pectus excavatum for my case. i have a dented ribcage rather than a dented sternum. but will this breathing exercises help to improve my rib cage? to make it less concaved.

Sam 6 years ago

I thought that I had pectus excavatum but really I just have flared ribs that make my chest look indented. Does anyone know where to buy a good brace or excersizes to get rid of flared ribs.

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Carlos - thanks for the support, the brace is simply a posture brace to help pull back shoulders and bring everything back to a normal position. There are some companies out there making braces specifically for PE but they can be expensive. You can buy them off amazon or from a health/ sports store.

shannon - sounds like you have flared ribs and breathing exercises as well as fixing posture should definitely help

sam - flared ribs are not the easiest thing to get rid of and you have to be very consistent with a brace, look for a posture brace in a sports store that has a strap around your midsection to help pull your ribs in, that provides a bit of resistance against your breathing but not too much that it becomes a struggle to get enough oxygen.

BigBen H 6 years ago

I've been doing some of the stretchs and exercises in these articles for about 4 weeks now, and I'm already seeing excellent results. Thank you so much for posting this!

Shannon 6 years ago

Oh sorry but I forget to mention. It's an asymmetric dent in my left rib cage. So does the breathing exercises push other sides of my chest? Because if that's the case I won't probably see improvement on my dented left rib cage

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

BigBenH - glad its working for you:) and happy to be able to help

Shannon - these breathing exercises , bracing and other exercises will bring both your ribs in to a more natural position, so there is no reason why it would not work, is your ribcage dented or is it simply flared more on one side. dented sounds like you have ribs missing or some bone malformation

shannon 6 years ago

i wouldn't say my ribs are flared but rather one side of my ribcage caves in. Im doing these exercises regularly and i really do hope these excercises help.

ronnie 6 years ago

Hey expectus i got a couple more questions.

i recently joined the swim team at school so how much do you think that will help? do you think it could substitute for the exercises on part 2?

and about the breathing exercise, do i just suck in as much air and expand my rib cage as much as possible, or do i also try pushing the rib cage/sternum forward?

joe 6 years ago

how many times should i do this deep breathingg?, in one session ?


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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

ronnie - swimming is really good for PE, especially the backstroke and sure it is a great substitute. great for loosening up those tight back and chest muscles.

with breathing, just breath deeply into your chest, let it expand naturally.

joe - for around 4-5 minutes per session is enough, if you feel light headed or anything like that stop immediately

Sam 6 years ago

Does the Mueller back brace work well for bringing in flared ribs and how long do you think it would take for me to see results?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

That Mueller back brace does look like a good one I use something similar just wear it higher up to brace my abs, you have to be a little careful you don't put extra strain on your lower back while using it for your ribs that's why its sometimes its best to get a full body posture vest/corset type device.

For example pushing in the ribs sometimes gives people a slight curve in there back or may even push out the belly area, so it looks like a pot belly, so its best to pull it all together at once

ronnie 6 years ago

Hey thanks for the advice expectus.

i will let you know how things are in a couple months.

Raj 6 years ago

hey,i just bought some dumbells(each 9 lbs),and started with pullovers,is there a specific routine i can use?and what weight you use?

Alex 6 years ago

Umm well for the deep breathing thing, do i put my hands back at my sides after i exhale? because it says "take a deep breathe then gradually put your neck" or do i keep my hands behind my neck the entire exercise?

Alex 6 years ago

Umm well for the deep breathing thing, do i put my hands back at my sides after i exhale? because it says "take a deep breathe then gradually put your hands behind your neck" or do i keep my hands behind my neck the entire exercise?

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

goodluck ronnie:)

Raj - I would just work on controlled movements with dumbell pullovers, you can try some dumbell flys they seem to help a little bit. I try and go heavy around 20kg or so but its not about the weight its about control and deep breaths in and out.

Alex - keep your hands behind your neck throughout the whole exercise , its meant to help maintain good posture while breathing , also be conscious of your lower back, make sure its also quite straight and not curving back

Zack 6 years ago

This is a cool site. I have mild PE like Brendan Fraiser up there, but also Marfan syndrome. My mutated connective tissue has left my entire body weak. Also, my uncle had a SEVERE PE cavity that required surgery so I know it runs in my family. I have to battle both weaknesses. Weak unstable joints, rounded shoulders, my arms and legs have angled joints, long limbs, sunken chest with my left rib cage unevenly jutting outward into a knob, and I am 6'5" and only 150lbs. I have stayed the same weight for the last 8 years but grew 2in taller! Not to mention a horse stepped on my torso when I was 2 so some growth plates might have been damaged. (not kidding, long story)

I have been depressed about this all my life. You should hear some of the things woman say to me. It sucks because I am real handsome with a shirt on. My broad shoulders lie. I feel like flirting will just lead to embarrassment later on. Will these exercises truly work? I am worried that I will just get a buffer chest with nasty and very ripped muscles clinging to my nasty chest cavity and it wont fix it (I plan on doing EVERYTHING U MENTIONED). Just like growing up, I am worried my body will let me down, like it has countless times before...

Zack 6 years ago

oh, and I just did yoga with a yoga mat and a good 45 min video. i underestimated my crap body. I forgot I have a rare carpal and tarsal coalitions (2 tiny bones in each hand and foot fused together in the same way). It created a lump of bone in my wrists doctors and family assumed were ganglion cysts and were going to be removed until they did a pre-op sonogram and found it was part of my body. the next coalition was found in my foot after bussing tables gave my feet arthritis.

why am i telling you this? yoga HURTS my wrists horribly. my hand has a very decreased range of motion, so low I cant hold a basketball to shoot it properly. my right wrist has less range so I noticed my poses were uneven as well. downward dog hurts along with others using a 90degree wrist. doctors don't want to operate on such a delicate area if it is part of my body. i think yoga is the best method to strengthen my messed up chest. damn i am just one unlucky ass.

Zack 6 years ago

and I have horrible TMJ! >:O

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Sounds like you got it tough Zack I know what you mean about having deceptive broad shoulders I have the same thing :) not that broad shoulders are that bad. The exercises should definitely help hows your posture and how severe would you say your pe is?

I have put on a bit of muscle and it really doesn't look that strange even with slight PE , once posture starts coming into a more neutral position you can get a very normal looking chest, try the deep breathing exercises first they are probably one of the best things , well for me it worked better than any other exercise.

Keep doing the yoga and hang in there :) let me know how you get on and I wish you all the best.

qwertyq 6 years ago

Seems like Dr. Klobe's vacuum bell really works and I am really interested in getting one. Where could I order one? Can they send it in foreign countries in Europe?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I'm not sure that they send them oversea's, but you could probably set one up yourself with a vacuum bell and brake pump with gauge. You have to look for a high quality one that won't crack or break under pressure

Zack 6 years ago

Geez dude. I said I couldn't do yoga. It's too excruciating. I have found that P90X has more options that don't involve so much wrist pressure, so I will have to settle for that. There is also a local swimming court I am going to try. I already said I have mild PE like Brendan Fraiser up there, and sinks in about an inch after the pectoral midline where abs begin. This is my third week in the gym. I take chest and back very seriously!! I have been doing pullovers too. With my mild PE and weak connective tissue, I wager I SHOULD see some improvement in three months. I think the cartilage would be more malleable in my case. Anyway, there is an update. I just saw the PE vacuum...disgusting.

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Zack - hehe :P I didn't know it was that , sorry to hear that but yea don't bother doing it if its causing you extreme pain. Keep doing exercises in the gym and use lifting straps on heavy lifts to avoid hurting your wrists.

Yea the PE vacuum is kind of strange, I tried one and my heart had a freak out and started beating a million miles an hour. The backstroke is great for PE too if your visiting the pool , goodluck

Ari 6 years ago

WoW expectus, Your a great helper, what do u mean by keeping a good posture ... straight back?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well neutral spine :Pa totally straight back can sometimes put out your lower back and make it curve , natural curves are fine its important to keep note of shoulders rounding, neck posture and lower back

sue 6 years ago

Hi expectus

I have an 18 yr old son who want's to play football but bets tied quickly. I'm not sure if it's to do with his pe or if he is just unfit. He runs every night but walks part of it due to shortness of breath. Can he play sport and be ok if it's physical. He also has a brown bruise like make on his back that's been there for months. I never thought it could be related to pe until i read your posts. Should he do anything about that?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hi sue, does your son complain of any pain caused by the sunken sternum , breathing exercises could help to get him used to taking in full breaths.

as far as the brown bruise I am not sure that it is related unless it is somehow scar tissue from stretch marks from over tight back muscles due to pe but it hard to tell without a picture.

kitito 6 years ago

Hi Expectus.

My name is Arturo and i am from Spain.I had the Nuss procedure done about 5 years ago. they removed the bar only last year. I felt a bit of pain at the begining but nothing unbearable. I am happy with the results but after the sugery I noticed that my sternum was straight but my ribs on both sides were still a bit sunken, only 1 cm or less though. I think this is due to the sternum, pointing to the left. do you think the excercices would help me to pop them out?? I recently turned 26. Thanks for your help and sorry if there is any grammar mistakes.

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

what do you mean by ribs sunken? your ribs are not meant to be sticking out they should be drawn inwards protecting your vital organs.

did your surgeon give you some maintenance exercises to do , breathing exercises and stretches? they are useful for getting the most out of your surgery

flyer2010 6 years ago

Hi Expectus,

I have tried to look for a way to contact you privately but I have to post on this instead! Unfortunately I have a mild PE and I just wanted to ask you a few questions regarding it. I would be really greatful if you sent me an email just to tell me your email so I can send you questions privately. My email is


Shaun 6 years ago

Hello Expectus,

i am not very sure if i'm suffering from PE. my sternum is slightly tilted ( right side is higher than my left side ) from my knowledge, PE is where the sternum sinks into the chest. But i'm facing a different situation where the rib bone right below the end of my sternum is dented inwards. this problem is only occurring to my left side of the chest. my right side of my chest is normal. Do you have any recommended exercise to improve my conditions?

sam 6 years ago

will bench pressing make my PE sink more

ben 6 years ago

hi i have a question similar to sam's i was wondering if working out (abs, chest, etc.) will make my pe stand out more, or decrease it?

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Shaun - you could try a posture brace and some deep breathing exercises to help push everything out , it may just be a mild form of pe

sam - no it wont make it sink more, it may make your pecs larger which may make the appearance of your chest worse

ben - working out and strengthening muscles will always have positive effects on your body and pe, and a good part of recovery involves strengthening weak and over stretched muscles.

Kevin 6 years ago

hi, how many times a day should i do the breathing excersises and for how long. It seems with me that i have a hole in my chest but also the bones seemed to have formed differently. The bones around my above my p.e. kind of stick out. is there any way i can make that less noticable? thanks.

MONASSER 6 years ago

i'm 27 years old Male, i have a Pectus excavatum in the middle of my chest , i have no problem physically with it , i play sports and i go to the gym and lift weight without any problem , the only problem i have is the appearance of it , so is there any cosmetic surgery i can make to repair this area ,

your feedback is highly appreciated


Best Regards

Mike 6 years ago

I'm a 15 year old, 6', 140lb guy, but I don't think i have pectus excavatum. I have a normal sternum but my solar plexus is really deep. My sternum is flat as it should be, but it kind of cuts off right where my solar plexus starts, so i just have a little bowl shape, instead of it being filled with tissue. My whole chest is generally really big, my chest around the nipples is 34inches (85cm) so i'm wondering if this is just me being way too skinny. I have really defined ribs on the side, and my sternum is actually defined. You can see the bone underneath. Also, i've always had big pecs even tho i never work out so it makes it look like i have pe. By the way im veeeerrryyy lanky :/. I'm really hoping this will fill in if i just gain wait. Do u think this is possible?

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expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

MONASSER - there are many cosmetic surgery options including the nuss surgery, implants and plastic surgery to correct the appearance.

Mike - it does sound like you have mild pe but putting on some weight will probably help you fill out more, you are only 15 so its hard to tell what the end result will look like. usually everything is cemented by age 21

Ron 6 years ago

Dear Expectus,

Hi there, I am apologize in advance if this email is too long.

I have Pectus Excavatum and it was a moderate case and I was quite self-conscious about it while growing up. I had the nuss procedure performed on me around the age of 17. However, the bar slipped and the procedure failed. I remember waking up and looking at my chest and it was perfect, even the flared rib seemed to be fixed). However, after it slipped, I was very upset and decided I wasn't going to go through all that pain for nothing and had a second attempt.

After this, my chest was still mildly sunken in and still had the flare rib (more prominent on the left). However, it was already a big improvement and I lived with it. Back then I was around 20.

Now I am 24 years old and recently my self-consciousness has been coming back and I have started emailing may doctors and spent some money on doctors that told me nothing can be done. Currently, if I put a ruler on the deepest part of my sternum and measure up to my left flared rib I have around a 4cm depression. Is this how the measurement should be done?

I feel like it is getting worse and I am very worried about this. I have been following some of the exercises such as pulling my shoulder blades back and deep breathing, but when I deep breath, my sternum sinks in even more which my flared ribs move laterally away from the midline of my body.

I read that you say the vacuum bell was not a good idea and the brace could reduce the flared rib. I would be very happy just to get that flared rib down or anything that could improve my chest appearance. I feel like the more I work-out, the more sunken get.

Do you have any suggestions?

Lastly, which type of specialist or doctos should I see that would know what to do with my condition? I've seen osteologist and may GP's but none of them have even heard of the Nuss Procedure. A friend recommended me to find an osteopath.

Any suggestions would be helpful, I apologize for the long comment.

Thank you for your time :)!

Max 6 years ago

Hi this sight is really useful, i am 16 and have mild pe i think, how often should i do deep breaths, will it make my chest appear normal? How long should i wait to expect results?, thankss

Max 6 years ago

i was also like to know what a good posture is, i cant seem to figure it out, if its putting your back straight and pulling your shoulders back it seems to create a curve in my body :S, am not sure wheter it is a good posture or not i cant think of anything else that would be a good posture, also when i am doing the breathing exercises how should i stand becaause again when i put my shoulders back and back 'straight' there still seems to be a curve in mmy body. Sorry for the long comment. It is very much appreciated and i thank you a lot! :)

alex 6 years ago

hey expectus, i have a pe of 2 cm and am almost 16.can you offer me a little guidance on what will be the best way to bring out my sternum, thats what i want to focus on most. thanks

lifeshorrible 6 years ago

I tried using a back brace to fix my flared ribs, my left side flares out everytime I breathe, I notice my chest doesn't expand on the left either cause it is expanding down where my ribs are. Is there a way to stop rashes from happening when using the back brace? My skin around the ribs on both sides get scaly and darker colored and itch a lot probably from the friction created everytime I breathe and my ribs expand against the brace.

Raj17 6 years ago


Im 17 right now...december 18 and i have a mild PE,i was wondering which brace i could use to reduce my flared ribs and improve my pectus?if you can give me some brands or models?

ronnie 6 years ago

hey, i did the breathing exersices for about 4-6mins for once a day for 3 months. i didn't really notice any improvement so i stopped doing it for about a month. i will start again and hopefully there will be improvement this time. do you think i should do it 2 times a day and longer than 6 mins this time?

Alex Magill 6 years ago

This might sound weird but what the hell, I LOVE YOU. For ages ive been asking doctors wht to do with this and if i can get surgery but there all so stubborn and just show me the door. Thank god ive finally found something tht might help. Thank you a lot

question 6 years ago


i was just wondering, would holding breath exercise gives any side effects like increased blood pressure, etc?

stewy005 6 years ago

thank you so much i have had so many self-esteem issues because of my pectus excavatum and I'm 14 and in high school and its hard because people have picked on me because of it so anyway thank you.

gregm94 6 years ago

This is incredibly helpful. Thanks! I'm 16 and, just like a lot of other people on this thread, I have many self esteem issues about it. It gets old being the kid with a hole in his chest. Nobody really knows, but I am really self conscious about it. Thanks for putting this site up. It's really nice to finally see a fix that isn't as risky, expensive, or scary as surgery. Thanks again!

Glenn20012 6 years ago

hey im 14 thanks for this hub ive already seen results in 1 and a half months! anyone thinking about doing this, do it! its worth the time

Glenn20012 6 years ago

hey im 14 thanks for this hub ive already seen results in 1 and a half months! anyone thinking about doing this, do it! its worth the time

iscarechyu 6 years ago

Hi, I've been working on these workouts for about 4 weeks now and i've actually notice some improvement with my chest. The only problem i have now is that my left peck seems to be different from my right. I would really appreciate to hear from you :)

Benny 6 years ago

Okay i am correcting my posture, can i sleep on my side? i feel like my chest kinda comes together but its comfortable. As for the deep breathing, when you don't breath it can cause high blood pressure and that isn't good.

Benisthename 6 years ago

Okay, why does my indent start making popping noises whenever i stretch for flex the muscles on my chest?

tomfoolery 6 years ago

the popping noises are just muscle tendons in your chest, had a loud pop one time wrestling around with a buddy chest hurt for a couple weeks even got an xray, nothing was wrong, little pops happen just turning in bed or stretching sometimes also. as for other workouts i've found that dips work well, kick your feet out behind you a little more to isolate the pecs.

Benisthename 6 years ago

thanks tomfoolery! Question for anyone, has any of the stuff worked for you yet? I have corrected my posture by sitting up straight, and the past few nights i have slept on my bed with no pillows so my back is straight. Occasionally i stretch backwards and i hear popping noises in my chest. I also do 20 push ups every night. When i read this i measured my depth and it was 2 and a half centimeters deep about a month and a half ago. I just measured it now and it's still 2 and a half centimeters deep. Am i doing something wrong? is there something I should be doing? Has anyone found a stretch or technique that actually works? Please comment PLEASE.

Joelw 6 years ago

Benisthename - when you have a mild case of pectus excavatum and try to make it look better it isen't exactly going to come out, i suggest you do some weights but nothing that is straining you. You should try build up muscle around the dent/hole will look a lot better.

>>I am truly the most unlucky 15 year old, i have have pectus since birth, mine has always been bad and has got severe over the past 3-4 years. I have always been very ashamed of my chest and never completed my swimming lessons when i was younger because i hated people asking questions about my chest and always judging me.. Today I don't know how to swim and i truly can't even remember the basics. I don't have enough confidence to get lessons, even private lessons.. I suppose im quite a handsome 15 year old guy.. girls think I am but they don't think im good looking when my shirt is off :( I am 5"11 and weigh around 135 pounds and have very broad shoulders and a wide chest.

(PHYSICALLY) - recently my chest has physically given me a lot of pain, by a lot of pain i mean pain that numbs the rest of my body and hurts so much that I can't breathe> its a jabbing/cramp in both sides of my chest and quite al ot of the time where my heart is

Joelw 6 years ago

IF you want to see how severe my chest is watch my youtube video:

I posted it at the start of the year my chest is slightly worse now ;(

I extremely depressed, due to the fact ive been ashamed of my chest all my life it has truly ruined my life so far..

If you also have PE please email me: or if you have a msn or yahoo you can add me.

I really want to talk to anyone who suffers from the same condition as me as i have noone at all to talk to about it.

Honema 6 years ago

Hiii.. I have pectus since birth.N this have abashed me a lot ..I just wanned to have good body i went gym regularly. N this has become a cause for lack of confidence in me.i hated people asking questions abt my chest structure...Should i spend more time doing dumbell pullovers...

Please suggest me wat to do..I vl be highly thankful to u.

silverkeen 6 years ago

Hi to all.

@Joelw, I am the one that was suggesting you to use a vacuum bell on your post in youtube. But only if your condition is not Marfan syndrome.


The most important thing in improving chest appearance is not building a muscle mass - it is all wrong advice I am hearing almost everywhere - you have to build your RIB CAGE. To expand it there are several exercises, but the most useful of them is called RADER CHEST PULL.

Brief description:

The Rader Chest Pull is essentially a freehand exercise. Perform by gripping a vertical support such as that on a fixed squat or power rack at chest or forehead height, and move about 16” back. From this starting position, forcibly draw your torso forward and upward in an endeavor to breast the support while inhaling maximally. Exhale upon reverting to the initial position.

For more detailed information read here:

and here (almost at the bottom of the page, labeled "RADER HIGH CHEST PULL"):

iikii 6 years ago

Hi, i just started doing the breathing exercises and the rader chest pull and i have been experiencing sharp tension in the middle of my upper back when i trying to expand my chest.

Is that normal?

Sam 6 years ago

Hello I was just wondering what are the best excercises I should do for a moderate pe because I go to the gym like every day and lift weights and at the end of every workout I do dumbbell pull overs and i had been doing this since the last summer I grew I lot stronger than before and I grew muscle in my chest and I improved my chest appearance but I don't think my sternum got pushed and which kind a made my pe look a little bit worse so I was wondering what kind of exercises should I do and for how long during the day

silverkeen 5 years ago

Hi iikii,

I'm not a RADER CHEST PULL expert, but in my opinion this pain don't have to be normal. Since I'm experience such pain from time to time also, and it bothers me a lot, I'm trying to avoid it by shrugging my shoulders slightly and slight bend my arms in elbows. Also, at the peak of every breathing I try to curve my upper back backward (as a small hump). But try different positions to find your own way to avoid this pain. Also, at the every beginning of the exercise don't try too hard to push your hands down but slightly increase your efforts to the maximum for the last 5-7 repeats.

In my opinion, the pain that is normal for this exercise, is located round sternum and sometimes muscle pain in upper arms.

rex 5 years ago

hey silverkeen, what is the rader chest pull? and how is it effecttive to fixing PE?

hey expectus should i do the chest and breathing exercises before or after doing dumbell pullovers?

thanks guys :)

Richard 5 years ago

Hey, I have moderate PE and have been doing the breathing exercises for a few months now, and I have been finding that recently, it is sometimes painful to take in deep breaths. I am in band so i have to take deep breaths to play my instrument. I was wondering if there are any problems that could come up if i ignore it and if it is normal to experience any chest pains while doing exercises to fix PE

Joe 5 years ago

I just became 18 and noticed my PE is much more noticeable now. I was wondering if its too late as the bones in my rib cage have already solidified and probably are not as malleable as it used to be.

Paddy 5 years ago

Hi, how long roughly dies it take for chest appearance to improve?

daniel 5 years ago


how much would the nuss procedure cost in AUD?

Jacob 5 years ago

Hello, I Have a moderate case and have been following the breathing exercises along with with about 40 push ups and press ups for about a month now, The improvement has been huge and I Believe as soon as I start running about 2 miles every other day my dip will all but vanish thank you so much man for taking the time to post this article and for anyone wondering whether to try this or not I really do suggest at least trying these exercises thank you so much man . Much love from the Uk

rex 5 years ago

hey jacob how big was your dip? and how many breathing exercises you been doing per day? thanks

Davin 5 years ago

Hi, I have P.E. and I'm a martial artist, should I avoid hits to the chest?

billy 5 years ago

hello i live in southern california and have pe i am a 32 year old male who wants to have surgery i have chest pains and trouble breathing. i am new to your site i was wondering if there is any sugeons in southern california? i have kaiser permente insurance and how can i convince them to pay for it and not just say its cosmetic?

Dan 5 years ago

Im 19, and with the pullovers and deep breathing, i have actually seen quite a difference on how much my sternum has gone outwards with all the pressure it puts on my sternum, it has helped my self-esteem greatly, thanks

Leo 5 years ago

Thank... my heart is full of hope that this disorder could be cured.

deadlyteddy4 5 years ago

im 18 and i do workout in the gym but my PE is strange because my right pec is like anyone elses, but my sternum dips in about 1.5cm and seems to fall to the left, making my chest look like someone has taken a small chunk out of the left side, are there any specific exercises that i should focus on my left pec, or should i continue working both the same?

tommy 5 years ago

hi guys

I'm nearly 16 :) and im very worried about my Pectus Excavatum . are there any techniques that are good for my age? please reply to me as im very worried and people lough at me in school :(

Dave 5 years ago

I'm 59 years old and only found this 3 weeks ago. My PE gives me a sunken chest of about 4cm. Already I've found that the exercises have adjusted the bottom of my ribcage so I can wear a tighter shirt without being self conscious about it. The sternum is still sunk but I intend to push on with the deep breathing. Some of it may be too late for me now, but it's already made some difference. Thank you.

nikola 5 years ago

hey expectus how to do the Breathing exercises ??? on the chair or standing ???

Sam C 5 years ago

Hello everybody I'm 17 years old and i have a moderate case of pectus excavatum about 1 year and a half ago I was very self consious about my pectus and I had a very low self esteem but then I joined the gymnastics team for my school, after the season ended my body changed significantly because it involved a lot of stretching and a lot of of strength training involving my bodyweigh after that I believed I could do anything, over the past year up until now I have been working out and trying the

excercises above and I still continue doing gynastics and my pectus changes little by little, I may not know much now but I'm still learning and trying new things if anyone wants some advice just email me at

Bee 5 years ago

This stuff actually works... wow thanks Pectus dude. I kinda wish doctors had this kind of information as well. Im extremely impressed with the results... and all i have done is the breathing exercisies and tied a string around my body to correct my assymetric flared rib. I don't know how permanent these changes are but ive only been doing it for one week.

Bee 5 years ago

I might add.. Im 24 and have been gymming quite abit too. Id suggest working on ur chest abs and back it helps with hole to body ratio and helps with posture. Id still recommend doing the whole body. And stretch you hamstrings.. because pectus peeps including myself have really tight hammies for some reason.

Posture + Weights + Breathing exercises + some sort of corset to fix flaring ribs = A worthy improvement

I feel better about myself already... starting to see it more as a difference than a deformity.

Best of Luck guys.

andy 5 years ago

@bee thanks bro that really encouraged me :)

IWouldLiketoKeepAnonymous 5 years ago

Thanks for all the info man, Now i know there's a fix for my "problem"

Glen 5 years ago

H there. I have fairly severe PE and looking for recommendations for a good posture brace that will target flared ribs. I want to use it in conjunction with a weights and exercise routine... Any suggestions?

deacon 5 years ago

This board has helped me immensely. After testing I've found my pectus is very mild (to me it looked severe). I always found it annoying that there wasn't a lot of people posting things that they found successful in repairing their pectus. About 2 months ago I started working on my posture, and doing breathing exercises everyday, and I have noticed a marked improvement in the depth of my pectus (about 1cm) and its overall appearance. I'm now even starting to shed some of the self-consciousness that had plagued me my entire adolescence. Now that my lung capacity has improved I will now try and add running and ab exercises into my routine, hopefully it will help as well. I hope this info will inspire others and even help repair their pectus. Do not get discouraged... the change is slow, but it does work.

alex 5 years ago

hey expectus,

when i do the breathing exercises do i start off with my hands by my side and then clasp them round my neck when i breathe in? or do i have my hands starting clasped around my neck when i do the breathing exercise?

Sam 5 years ago

Hey, I'm 15 and I had an operation to try and repair the my pectus excavatum, but its still far from looking like a normal chest, so I was just wondering wether these excersises would work or be useful?

SK ANSAR 5 years ago

Hi Dear,

My chest is bend so, if you have any tips pls provide me i will use to improve my self

Pls Help me.

If have any question pls forward me a mail. My mail id is

JohnnyFrost 5 years ago

Hi all.

I'm a 24 year old male who is physically fit and has PE.

There's some really great bits of information here and I feel that I've have hugely benefited from the breathing exercises. I'm doing the gym scene (cardio and weights training) and I'm working on increasing my BMI (body mass index) by bulking up, as this is a good way to look great and decrease the appearance of PE.

I've been self-conscious about my chest for years and have spent a lot of time trawling the web for "quick fixes" and inexpensive corrective procedures only to be left with the harsh realization that it costs more than "an arm and a leg" to fix the chest.

With this sobering thought in mind I decided to work on gaining more body mass. As this can be turned into muscle, which is something we all want. I'm currently working on my pecs and abdominal area and already I can see the foundations of a great new image.

For anyone that's frustrated, depressed or really upset about the way they look then just remember this quote: ["if we are all born the same then what would bring us together?."]

Good luck to you all.

Peace, from New Zealand

sk 5 years ago

The latest and probably the most precise description of Rader Chest Pull - read here:

Rahul Rawat 4 years ago

Thanks you helped a lot

GamerProZ 4 years ago

Hi I'm 16 years old and I have a mild case of P.E that is probably at most 1 - 2.5 cm and I was wondering if my current exercises will help me: 4-5 times at the gym doing several chest exercises including dumbbell pullovers, broom twist for 5-6 minutes each day, and deep breathing. I personally don't like the brace and was just wondering if this will help me see results because I just started this routine about a couple weeks ago. Oh and if possible could you please tell me when I can see any results because sometimes when I look at the mirror and still see it there I get really discouraged and feel like what I'm doing is useless.

sparkz 4 years ago

i have been doing dumbell pullovers and upper ab exercises and i am actually seeing a difference. just had to share

devabrat9 4 years ago

Yoga poses are among the favorite exercise to correct posture problems. There is a yoga for back pain, for weight loss, for pregnant moms and meditative yoga which is the simplest form of yoga pose.

My favorite PE exercise 4 years ago

My favorite exercise that gives me the best results PLUS i can actually feel it when i'm done, is the pullover. I lie flat on my weight bench, with my head hanging off the edge (so basically sitting very far up on the weight bench.) and I take about 40 pounds of weight, holding it straight out above my head, (don't drop them on your face) then slowly extend my arms back and level with my body bring the weight to a level position behind my head keeping my arms straight the whole time. And then back up in the air above my face again. I do about 3 sets of 10 and when i'm done I can COMPLETELY feel my chest is pulled out a little bit. It feels good.

PS - holla back

Footballer 4 years ago

Are this breathing exercises really working? Do you guys think it would help with doing that, pullovers and a good posture?

A guy from Norway :)

Tara11 4 years ago

My children both have severe p.e. at the hospital for sick children the specialist said the braces are actually for pigeon chest, not for excavatum, and that an external brace will only put more pressure on the sternum and therefore heart. Apparently the only way to fully correct p.e. is with Nuss brace which is an incredibly painful procedure and if active can twist and cause further complications or even death. It is only for people who's lives are already at risk or don't play contact sports. Down the road it can also increase chances for spontaneous pneumothora

sk 4 years ago

"Fully correct"

What is that mean, Tara11?

In my opinion there is no such a thing as "full correction". There is full recovery. But correction? No. This is only in the eyes of the beholder.

When speaking about Pectus excavatum the exact word that makes sense is IMPROVEMENT.

Described here exercises lead to improvement.

And here are some alternatives (I've tried only Vacuum bell, and still using it):

Vacuum bell:


Jim 4 years ago

Thanks a lot

roberto 3 years ago

When I was 17 years old, I underwent a surgical operation (Ravitch procedure) in order to correct a severe form of sunken chest in Switzerland. The surgeon suggested swimming for improving my conditions. It is useful to practise weighlifting after some years, naturally under control of trainers.

Cameron 3 years ago


Awesome resource.

I'll have to check out those posture braces.

IM making a PE website myself.

Please check it out a tell me what you think.



Tara Nicholls 3 years ago

Sk... Fully correct doesn't mean perfect, but the nuss is the only way the specialists have said the sternum can be shifted outward, and it's pretty serious surgery. I have opted to do Cranial Sacral Therapy on my kids and will send them to an osteopath before I put an external brace on my kids when the surgeons at SICK KIDS hospital said any external brace will push the sternum in and make it worse.

It should be noted also on here that it is a form of rotatores scoliosis and that the exercise suggestions are fantastic on here if its a functional scoliosis and will help reduce further rotation if it's mechanical.

Clalagect 3 years ago

WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …


TapeLee 2 years ago

HI I'm twenty this year. I'm 6 feet tall male and i have pe. I have been trying out these exercises for more than 2 months now. But I cant notice any difference neither better or worse. I think some of the OTHER exercises I do at the gym somehow worsened my PE condition. Can I do pull ups or sit ups? I feel these exercises squeeze my rib more than they do to expand it. Does sleeping posture affects the growth of my rib cage too?

Newcents 2 years ago

Hey - I just came across this. I have pectus excavatum and am approaching my mid 30s. I looked at surgery and was turned down because of my age. I wanted to add my thoughts. As you have stated, breathing exercises are important. I would submit that they are the most important ally in this fight. Your lungs, which are extremely strong in pushing on your sternum by holding your breath and focusing on holding your hands behind your head - this is the single most important aspect of your entire post. After doing this and focusing on sticking your chest out as far as possible while holding your breath for 5 to 30 seconds (as much as you can handle) then after you finish holding your breath grab your flared ribs and pull them in with your hands while continuing to hold your chest out, I have noticed lots of popping and movement in my sternum. Doing this as many times in a day as you can handle and also pushing above your "dip" in your sternum with both hands, I have noticed great results. I am not a medical professional and am only mentioning this as it has assisted in my own experience of encouraging my chest to flatten - a plunger. Find an industrial strength plunger and use it sparingly to encourage the sternum and rib attachment to additional movement by placing it in your affected area for a few seconds at a time. 30 to 60 seconds and continue with your breathing exercises. This really helps to encourage movement of the sternum. I have asthma. In the past, before doing my pectus breathing exercises, going to my parents house or my wife's grandparent's house I always had to take my inhaler. They have pets, don't clean as well, live in different states than my family with different pollen / dander, etc. Doing the pectus breathing exercise alone has opened up my chest so much and caused my flared ribs to move down to a more normal position (by applying pressure to the highest point on the flared ribs on either side using my hands immediately after a breathing exercise), I no longer need an inhaler! Previously, my rib cage was so bunched up, it was restricting my lungs. Now I feel like I have a fresh set of lungs and I haven't had an asthma flare up since! Being in my mid 30s and noticing progress, I have hopes for those older as well in noticing progress with correcting pectus Without surgery. 5 months ago

I agree with newcents, i have been doing the exact same exercises he and expectus mentioned and have improved my PE a bit. I hope to get a nice improvement in a near future. Will be doing the exercises everyday for results.

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