On Wednesday, we discussed the potential complications that occur due to a stiff pec minor. Stretching your chest muscles isn’t enough, you’ll need to address the positioning of your scapula and the overall health of your rotator cuff muscles. Chronically tight internal rotators also affect the stability of the scapula, as rounding forward causes the inferior edge of the scapula to lift off of your ribs.
Going balls to the wall
The first thing you want to do to is address the built up tension in your pectoralis minor by rolling it out with YTU therapy balls. Any YTU ball size will work for this particular session, but I highly recommend the smallest size, the YTU Therapy Ball w/tote. Come face to face with a wall, place a yoga brick or large book against the wall at the same height as your chest. From here, place the YTU therapy ball against the brick and lean into it. Begin by moving left to right, just under your collarbone and zig zag downwards, covering almost the entire surface of your pec. The slower, the better and don’t forget to breathe.
Next, Lay on your belly, arms out in a ”T” shape, and press both of your palms into the floor. Begin to roll over onto one side, moving away from the floor, creating a stretch in your chest muscles. You can choose to move the top arm back behind you towards the bottom arm to increase the stretch. This particular pose creates length through the pec muscles and the front of the shoulders, areas that may feel constricted due chronic internal rotation.
The exercises in the video below address all aspects of your shoulders, by working your shoulder blade towards an optimal position and addressing the surrounding rotator cuff muscles. Watch Jill as she leads you through it.
Hopefully, with these two options you will find some relief from your chronically shortened chest muscles!
As someone who has winging shoulderblades,I always appreciate more tips on how to open the front of my shoulder to get the shoulderblades to better position on my back. Years of chronically over-doing chaturangas every yoga practice (even decently aligned ones) seem to have had the affect of shortening pec minor and I notice this in my students as well as myself these days. In the studio where I teach, we don’t have YTU balls so I have had them just use the edge of a block or use the wall or the floor to get into this area with a stretch.
I see this shoulder (short pec minor) problem a lot in my students in class. The videos provide thorough explanation and step by step to find and effectively stretch/ lengthen these affected muscles.
Real world functional and accessible solutions for various levels of kyphosis!
Love rolling the subclavian muscle at the wall and getting into the pec minor along the way but I never thought of internally rotating the arm why rolling the pec minor, I usually simply move the arm up and down along the wall (which looks weird when doing it at the gym) but will do that next time for sure 🙂 Also thank for sharing that video, it inspires me to teach cow face in my next yoga class.
In the past, I had been a chronic shoulder rounder with rotator cuff pains. I had the lifted scapula – which I thought was just my bone structure – and didn’t even realize until this post, that it was related to the posture I was holding.
I appreciate the videos and the education without too many technical terms to overwhelm.
Also, rolling pecs in the past was pretty difficult without using a doorway, but using the block is a brilliant idea!!
Wow, after reading your articel about the round shoulders, I read this one and of course I immediatly tried the rolling and the pose and what can I say it works.
Great article! The stretches are great and releasing the thighs pec minor muscles will relief a lot of tension. We could also try to reinforce the mid upper back which is bound to have become weakened from the tension pulling the shoulders forward.
Very clear explanation of the anatomy involved – love the idea of the pec minor as a rubber band going across the pec area. Also noting that the pec minor might feel like a guitar string when rolling! Nice job.
Thanks for the article! When I finished reading the article I came to the conclusion that rolling on the pecs and moving the shoulder around in different angles/directions would be so very beneficial to everyone! So many people are in rounded slouched positions daily and are unaware of what is happening the structure of their bodies…so much future pain and discomfort could be avoided!!!!
I like that you pointed out that we need to stretch more than just our chest muscles to obtain overall flexibility and stability. The chronic internal rotation and shortening of the pec minor definitely affects the position of the scapula and how that will relate to overall shoulder girdle movement. Great link to Jill’s shoulder stretching
There is definitely so much more going on with head-forward, tight pec minors, rounded spine position. It’s so true that just stretching the pec minors doesn’t quite fix the problem. Thanks for posting the video! Currently in Yoga Tune Up Level 1 and looking forward to learning more.
merci pour cet article
Thanks for writing this article! I shared the videos your provided with my friend who suffers from very tight pec muscles- I know these moves will benefit them greatly!
Great exercises ! As I rider, I tend to focus more on the opening of my hips rather than my shoulders or chest. I’ll give it a go and add this little routine to my maintenance exercises.