The pectoralis minor is a small, triangle-shaped muscle located on the outer side of your upper chest. It connects your third, fourth and fifth ribs to the top of your shoulder blade and functions to stabilize the shoulder blade. Tightness of the pectoralis minor can cause an imbalance of your shoulder muscles by pushing the shoulder blade forward, which in turn can lead to poor posture, shoulder pain and neck pain. Stretching the pectoralis minor every one to two days can help to relieve this tightness and pain.
Doorway Chest Stretch
Stand in front of a doorway. Place your hand flat on the doorway or wall adjacent to the doorway. Bend your arm so that your elbow is at a 90-degree angle and your upper arm is at the same level as your shoulder. Lean forward into the doorway and rotate your body away from your arm. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat three times on each arm. This stretch also targets the pectoralis major muscle.
Towel Chest Stretch
For this stretch, you will need a towel that is at least 3 feet long. Start with your arms hanging down at your sides and grasp the ends of the towel with your hands. Raise your arms over your head while keeping the towel taut. Stretch your arms behind your head as far as you can reach and pull the ends of the towel away from one another. At this point, the towel should be directly behind your head and your arms should be stretched out at in a “v” position. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat three times. This stretch also targets the pectoralis major and subscapularis muscles.
Wall Chest Stretch
Stand with your back against a wall. Place your arms against the wall so that the back of your hands touch the wall and are at the same height as your head. In this position, your elbows should be bent and held about six inches away from your waist. Raise your arms up above your head as far as you can reach while keeping your back and arms against the wall. As you raise your arms, push your shoulder blades into the wall. Pause at the top and then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat 15 times. This stretch also targets the pectoralis major and subscapularis muscles.
Shoulder Extension with Partner
This stretch will require the assistance of a partner to hold your arms. Begin by standing with your arms hanging down at your sides. Have your partner stand about two to three feet behind your body. Slowly raise your arms behind your body while keeping your arms straight and thumbs pointed down towards the ground. Raise your arms as high as possible and hold them in this position. Allow your partner to gently push your hands together. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Slowly lower your arms to the starting position and repeat three times. This stretch also targets the pectoralis major muscle.