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Stretches for the Pectoral Muscles

author image Sarka-Jonae Miller
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.
Stretches for the Pectoral Muscles
Exercises like the bow pose stretch the pectoral muscles of your chest. Photo Credit yoga pose image by chinatiger from Fotolia.com


The pectoral muscles are located in your chest, include the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor and are typically called pecs for short. Stretching the pecs increases flexibility and contributes to correct posture. Tight pecs can pull your shoulders forward, giving you a postural distortion called rounded shoulders. There are a variety of ways to stretch your pec muscles, and each one should be done until you feel the stretch but not so far that you experience pain.

Behind Head Chest Stretch

The targets your pec major but also stretches your pec minor and is a simple exercise to expand and stretch your chest. Stand up straight and place your hands on the back of your head. Bend both elbows and open them wide. Keep your shoulders pressed down away from your ears. Your neck should remain straight in line with your spine. Do not pull on your neck as you stretch.

Doorway Chest Stretch

The doorway chest stretch allows you to stretch each side of your chest separately. Stand in an open doorway and place your right hand on the inside door frame with your arm at shoulder level. Hold your right arm straight. Let your left arm relax at your side. Then, rotate your torso to the left until you feel a stretch in the right side of your chest. Repeat with your left arm.

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Bow Pose

Bow pose is a yoga exercise that stretches your chest, throat, stomach, quads, hip flexors and ankles. The muscles of your back are also strengthened by doing this pose, which is also called dhanurasana. The bow pose stretches your upper body back so your arms can reach in a straight line to touch your ankles. Your body looks like a bow with the arms as the string and the torso as the main part of the bow. To do the bow pose, lie on your stomach and bend your knees toward the ceiling, keeping them hip's width apart. Raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor and extend your arms straight behind you. Grasp your ankles from the outside and use your arms to pull your body higher until you feel a stretch along the entire front. Look up slowly to extend the stretch further. Be sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears.

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