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February 28

Stretches for Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor

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Yesterdays post was about the anatomy of the pectoralis major muscle and pectoralis minor muscle. The pictures above illustrate classic stretches for pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. I often refer to these as technological muscles– muscles that are inordinately affected by the way we work at our desks and computers. These are great stretches for anyone who spends long periods of time in work mode hunched over one thing or another. It would be useful to do these stretches every time you take a break.

The first picture shows the stretch for pectoralis major a broad muscle that stretches across the chest. With the palm flat against the wall at the height of the shoulder you want to feel this in the chest not the arm. You might need to raise or lower the hand a little, or bend the elbow.

The second variation is with the pinky against the wall and the palm facing up towards the ceiling. This stretches pectoralis minor and should be a much shorter and sharper stretch from the shoulder to the rib cage.

You might have adjust a bit by bending the elbow or moving the arm but you want to make sure to get the stretch where you want it— in pectoralis minor –at the upper corner of the chest.

  • Stand 8-12 inches from the wall with the side of your body towards the wall. Extend your arm behind you with the palm against the wall at the height of your shoulder.
  • Turn your feet and torso 45 degrees away from the wall.
  • Keeping the trunk solid and the arm well connected, stretch across the upper chest.
  • Return to the beginning, torso facing forward with the side of the body facing the wall.  Turn your palm to face up with your pinky finger against the wall at the height of your shoulder and repeat the stretch. This should be a shorter and sharper stretch of pectoralis minor.
  • Change the height of your hand or bend the elbow as needed to find the stretch in the desired muscle.

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The Trapezius
Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis minor

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