Stretching Series: Pectoralis Major

Pectoralis Major
This muscle is very popular to stretch and for good reason. It is a main contributor to upper cross syndrome and anterior shoulder posture. It can also be a major player in shoulder impingement. Obviously, a good one to know how to stretch! The key with the muscle is making sure we are stretching ALL the different fiber directions due to the broad attachments into the ribs. we can easily miss fully lengthening this muscle simply by not stretching at the right angle.  

If discomfort is felt in the shoulder joint while stretching, or if instability is a concern, practice stabilizing the scapula while stretching by activating your lower trapezius and rhomboid. This should help with discomfort as well as allow for correct stretching form. 

The Stretch

  • Place your arm at a 90-degree angle to the wall with your elbow bent and fingers pointed toward the ceiling. Your arm is now anchored and should not move. 
  • Place your feet with one foot forward and one behind to create a strong stance.
  • Lean your body forward allowing your shoulder girdle to translate posteriorly.
  • To maximize the stretch, maintain the current position and rotate your torso away from the stretched side. This allows for the pectoralis major origin on the ribs to move away from the anchored arm, deepening the stretch.

Rotate away from stretched side

Note: The same steps should be done with different angles in order to affect different fiber directions. Simply start the stretch over with the arm a few degrees higher on the door frame. This will shift the focus to the lower section of the muscle.

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