If you are constantly feeling pain or stiff in the front of your shoulders, you may have tight chest muscles.
The chest consists of two muscles: the pectoralis minor and the pectoralis major. You may be mobilizing one and not the other!
Tight chest muscles can cause the following:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Forward head posture
- Mid to upper back pain
- Rounded shoulders
- Inhibition of scapular stabilizers
- Poor posture
How the Chest Plays a Role in Shoulder Anatomy
The pectoralis minor can influence many different muscles around the shoulder. Due to the attachment of the pec minor at the scapula (shoulder blade), short pec minors can tilt the scapula forward. As a result, forward head and rounded shoulder positions occur.
Scapular muscles, such as the lower trapezius, can also become inhibited, causing your shoulders to become less stable.
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The other primary chest muscle is the pectoralis major, which consists of the sternocostal head and the clavicular head. In order to mobilize the pectoralis major, you need to stretch it from different angles to get both fibers. The pec major flexes, adducts, internally rotates the humerus and when it is short, it can cause problems with reaching overhead and poor posture.
3 Easy Exercises to Release a Tight Chest
Pec Minor Ball Release | Hold 1 Min
- Use a tennis ball (less pressure) or lacrosse ball (more pressure). Find the outer edge of your collarbone and place a ball below that.
- Push up against a wall with the ball on that upper, outer part of your chest. You will feel a tenderness with this exercise when you are in the correct area.
- Pull your shoulder blades back to maintain a good posture while holding the mobilization. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat twice a day.
Pec Major Stretch (Clavicular Fibers) | Hold 1 Min
- All you need is a wall. Place one hand directly out to your side. With that hand on the wall, lean away from wall until you feel a stretch in your chest.
- Hold that stretch and breathe.
Hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat twice a day.
Pec Major Stretch (Sternal Fibers) | Hold 1 Min
- Similar to the above stretch, all you need is a wall. The difference with this stretch is that your arm must be placed at a 45° angle on the wall. With a hand on the wall, lean away from the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest.
- From there, hold that stretch and breathe. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat twice a day.
Wrapping It All Up
There you have it – the three exercises you should perform daily if you have a tight chest. Always make sure that you are feeling a stretch – and not pain – in your shoulder. If you feel pain in your shoulder, consult with your doctor first.
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