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What is the best way to do pectoral stretches? A specialist recommended that besides avoiding bench presses and strengthening my back, I should stretch my pectoral muscles as often as possible, as they have grown accustomed to being in a shortened state and will actively try to make me slouch. Preferably those stretches should use no equipment.

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@GetFitChimp gave you good pec stretches. To add to that, if your pecs are pulling to the point of rounding your shoulders, your upper back and shoulder blade muscles are pulled into a lengthened and weakened state. This q/a includes some exercises for strengthening the opposing muscles in the optimal position. See section: "Back, Upper Back and Scapular muscles". –  BackInShapeBuddy Mar 5 '13 at 19:44
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

KL,

Your pectoral has two portions and two muscle groups: the upper portion and the lower portion, the pec major and the pec minor. So to effectively target both portions and both muscles, here are two simple stretches that you should try:

  1. Corner stretch for the entire lower and upper chest and mainly the pec major enter image description here

  2. This corner stretch to mainly target the pec minor, which has been shown to be more problematic in the PT world from my experience. enter image description here

A few things to consider:

  1. Make sure you do not have any shoulder instability problems before doing these stretches as they may cause some pain.
  2. You should feel the stretches in the muscles, not in the shoulder joints. Try not to lean forward to far in the beginning to reduce stress on the shoulder joints.
  3. I recommend holding the stretches for about 20-30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times and perform them at least 2-3 times per day for best results.
  4. In addition to these stretches, you can try this one on a foam roller for 5 minutes before bed for an awesome stretch of the entire chest, shoulders and biceps. enter image description here

Hope this helps!

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I would look at some of the stretches used for swimming, and while the pectoral muscles play some part in posture, one of the major causes of slouching/rounded shoulders is over development of the front deltoid compared to the rear deltoid. This is extremely common in swimmers, and can often be seen in people that emphasize front muscular development and neglect rear development.

Stretches 1

Stretches 2

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