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For about 20 years now, I have had rounded shoulders due to too mostly too tight Pec Minor muscles. I've been trying to change that for about a year now. My investigations on the internet brought me to some very useful information and classical stretch exercises, eg. Jeff Cavalier on Youtube.

Well, I have been doing the Pec Minor stretching as explained by Jeff for about 1 year always after my workout. Unfortunately without real results. One main problem is that I can't repeat this exercise more than once per day. After doing it once, I don't feel a stretch in the Pec Minor anymore. I rather feel a stretch / light hurt in the shoulder or arm. I guess that the muscle is just as much stretched as it can for the day, but I somehow think I should stretch it more than once in order to make more progress.

Today I started some more investigations and found this article. It's from 2012, but explains some concepts quite well. It states, that there exist various types of stretching: static, dynamic and pre-contraction stretching. There I also learned, that since I want to correct my posture, it's important to stretch for extensibility and not range-of-motion. So maybe I have been stretching for range of motion only so far.

Any ideas how I can stretch the Pec Minor more efficiently? Are there other techniques than leaning against a door frame?

Some scientific advice from an expert, own experiences on this topic or new stretching tips would be really amazing. Thanks.

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    While stretching will help, you still need to have muscular control and strength to keep your shoulders back. If you do a lot of chest work at the gym, and don’t compensate with plenty of back work, you’re anterior muscles will still dominate and pull your shoulders forward. Things like rows, face pulls, deadlifts and even pull-ups will help to build a strong back which will oppose the (usually) stronger anterior delta and pecs. – Frank Aug 18 at 17:59
  • It is strange that you can not repeat the stretch more than once a day. Generally, you should repeat a stretch several times. I do between eight and twenty repetitions of each stretch. Each repetition should feel a little different. Maybe one repetition won't feel quite right, and then the next repetition will "hit the spot". You might not really feel a stretch in the right place until repetition ten. It is all an adventure. So the fact that you can't repeat a stretch more than once indicates something is fundamentally wrong, though I can't say what that is without being with you. – Chris Aug 18 at 20:15
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    I would hazard a guess that it isn't your pecs that are the problem, but rear deltoids that are weak in comparison to the chest/front delts. – JohnP Aug 19 at 0:52
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I have been stretching for years, and stretching the pecs is one of the most pleasurable of all stretches. I haven't observed you doing your stretch, but you might be making a common mistake: When most people stretch their pecs, they also slide their humeral head anteriorly in the glenoid. Like this guy, for example. If your humeral head slides anteriorly in the glenoid, then you are stretching the anterior ligaments of your shoulder capsule. Not good.

The door jam stretch, like this guy, is recommended because it isn't likely to produce an anterior slide. (I see that online some people are trying to stretch both sides at the same time. A better way is to do each side separately, like the guy in the picture above.) I do the door jam stretch myself, as one of my pec stretches. However, I also put the opposite hand on the glenohumeral joint, and I self-palpate the joint to massage the humeral head in the posterior direction.

Now, I'm going to give you my favorite stretch for the pec. Lie down on the bench of a bench press in a supine postion. Elevate your feet. Reach one arm straight up, then drop it behind your head, without bending the elbow much. Let the arm slightly abduct and find the most comfortable location. For me, it drops about fifteen degrees below horizontal. Sometimes I hold a two pound dumbell in my hand for a little extra stretch. Here is the most important point: In order to be sure that the humeral head doesn't slide anteriorly, think about making the humeral head slide posteriorly. Self-palpate the joint in order to nudge the head posteriorly. In order to Help you make sense of this, I'm posting a picture. Good luck.enter image description here

  • Thanks for the tip with the slide of the humeral head! Regarding your pec minor stretch on the bench press, I couldn't reproduce it. How would you make the humeral head slide posteriorly while putting your arm behind your head? – Andi R Aug 20 at 9:07
  • @Andi I put up a picture. Let me know when you have seen it, and I'm going to delete it because I dont' really want my picture on the internet. Notice that the glenohumeral joint is laying off the side of the bench. I'm letting the weight of the arm pull the humeral head posteriorly in the glenoid. It stretches the upper fibers of the pectoid a little more than the lower fibers, but that is exactly what you want to remedy rounded shoulders. You should be able to fully relax in this position. In fact, it should be enjoyable. If it isn't enjoyable, something is wrong. – Chris Aug 23 at 5:03
  • thanks! You can delete it now. I'll try it out asap. – Andi R Aug 23 at 10:12
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Rounded shoulders is a common phenomenon in people who work their front side of their bodies (chest, shoulders), but not the back side. Couple that with sitting most of the day, you got a recipe for achy shoulders.

To counteract this, you need to start focusing on your backside, specifically, your rear delts, mid and lower traps. Strengthening and tightening these muscles will naturally pull your shoulders back over time.

A general rule of thumb is if you are pressing in a horizontal plane (a bench press, incline press), you should do a horizontal pull, such as a barbell row or a cable row. If you are doing a vertical press (shoulder press, barbell military press), you should do a vertical pull, such as chinups and pullups. At the very least match the volume of push and pull. So if you did 25 total reps of pushing, you should match that volume with pulling to balance out your shoulders. However, since you are currently at a deficiency, I'd focus the next 2-3 months on doing more pulling than pushing. So if you did 25 reps of bench pressing, follow it up with 50 reps of horizontal pulling.

You should get most of your volume through the compound lifts, such as a barbell row, dumbbell row, t-bar row, cable row, pullups, chinups, pulldown, etc. However, it is also a good idea to isolate these smaller back muscles, as they often get favored by the larger muscles of the back, such as the upper traps and lats when doing compound back exercises.

The easiest way I've implemented this is to do Band Pull aparts(see athleanX video) or band facepulls between all my pressing movements (all bench press variations as well as overhead press variations). For example, do a set of bench press and during your rest, superset it with a set of 15-25 of band work. By the end of the workout, you'll get over 100 reps of quality back work. And on top of that, do your compound back work. I know it seems like a lot of volume, but your back, like your legs can handle a larger workload since so many muscles are involved.

But remember for the band work, you want quality reps. Check the ego and be sure you get as much out of each rep as possible. For example, if i'm doing a 5x10 overhead press, I'll superset it with band pullaparts 5x20. I can do 50+ reps on a single set of a 25-40lb band, but since I'm accumulating volume over more sets, I'll do sets of 20 instead. This ensures that I'm still taxing the muscles, but not to the point where it takes away from the primary compound movements.

Finally, I'd start taking your vertical pressing more seriously. Look up how strongman (Brian Alsruhe has a phenomenal video series on overhead pressing technique) overhead press as they are by far the best pressers of all strength athletes. If you do this with proper form, it actually works your upper back and thoracic region to a tremendous degree, when doing using proper technique(shoulders packed tight, core braced, glutes engaged, etc.).

Try this out and be patient. In 2-3 months you should see improvements as long as you keep progressing on your back work.

  • Thanks! Did you mean this Band Pull Apart youtu.be/JObYtU7Y7ag? – Andi R Aug 20 at 9:21
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    Yes that's the one. Do that between pressing sets and remember you want to always progress it. Whether that be adding more reps, more sets, holding the band closer together, keeping reps x sets same, but holding the squeeze for a 1-2 count, etc. – Zarif Aug 20 at 22:46
  • Yep, that's a nice exercise indeed :D – Andi R Aug 21 at 14:15
  • Thanks for the tip with focusing on rear deltoid and lower and middle trapezoid. – Andi R Aug 23 at 10:20

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