Every chest workout should be balanced out with some chest stretching to be sure we don’t leave ourselves too tight. When the pecs get tight (both pec major and pec minor) we wind up causing imbalances in our shoulder girdles that often lead to injuries down the road. In this video, Jeff Cavaliere shows you how to stretch your chest so that you keep your pec muscles loose and less vulnerable to injury.
To begin with, the pec major is a fan shaped muscle that has two portions; the sternal and clavicular areas. The sternal area of the pectoralis major runs from the sternum to a point on your humerus in your upper arm. The role of this muscle is to horizontally adduct your arm as you complete a bench press or cable crossover movement. The problem is, when this muscle is tight, we will also see an internal rotation at the shoulder that will develop. This excessive internal rotation is enough to throw your shoulder joint into a position more likely to experience impingement.
To stretch the pec major we have to be sure we retract our scapula and keep the head of the humerus positioned back in the shoulder joint. We want to try and avoid stretching our pecs by holding onto the corner of a door frame and leaning through the door. This can create an overload on the structures in the anterior shoulder capsule which can do damage over time. Instead, you want to position yourself in a door frame with your humerus anchored and supported against the frame. You want to lean forward just slightly and pinch your shoulder blades behind you. Turn your head away and down to increase the pull on the clavicular fibers of the pec major.
To get the pec minor muscle on stretch you want to be sure you reverse the actions of the muscle. The major actions of the pec minor are to tilt the scapula forward, rotate it downward and protract the shoulder blade forward. Once again, you use the doorway to slide your arm up the jamb and aim for the exact opposite motions just listed. This will help you to upwardly rotate the scapula and retract it while tipping it back towards vertical.
If you want to maintain injury free shoulders when lifting weights you are going to have to learn how to stretch your chest and pecs properly. This video shows you two stretches that you can do for your pecs to make sure they stay loose and therefore prevents you from developing imbalances in your upper body. Most of the show muscles like the chest, lats, and arms will act to internally rotate the shoulder and contribute to the problem. If you can learn how to stretch your chest the right way however you can go a long way towards preventing this from happening.