Whether you're sore after a tough upper-body workout or stiff from a full day at your work desk, some chest muscle tightness is totally normal — but that doesn't mean you have to spend your day feeling achy.
Instead, run through these six quick chest stretches that also help loosen up the rest of your upper-body muscles.
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1. Wall Stretch
- Stand against the outer corner of a room or in a doorway. Bend your right elbow at a 90-degree angle so your upper arm is parallel to the floor at shoulder height.
- Place your right forearm against the corner of the wall with your left side open to the room.
- Gently press into your right forearm as you lean your left side into the open space of the doorway or room to feel a stretch in your right pectoral muscle.
- Hold 15 to 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
2. Elbow Wrap Stretch
- Sit cross-legged on the floor or stand with both feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart.
- Bring your arms behind your back and clasp each hand around the opposite elbow or forearm (wherever your mobility allows).
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Focus on lifting your collarbones and squeezing your shoulder blades down and toward each other.
3. Back Bend Stretch
- Sit or stand and bring your hands to the back of your head. Point your elbows out to the sides of the room.
- Allow your head to fall back into your hands as you open your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Inhale and exhale deeply as you hold, pressing your chest upward.
If you have a stiff lower back, ease into this pec stretch and only go as far as is comfortable.
4. Lying Chest Stretch
- Lie on your stomach on a workout mat. Reach your arms to the sides of the room to create a T shape with your body.
- Bring your left hand to your left hip as you slowly begin to roll to the right — leaving your right arm extended on the floor.
- Pause when you feel the stretch in the right pectoral muscle and hold for 20 seconds.
- Repeat on the left side.
This chest stretch can be quite intense, especially if your chest is extremely tight. Move into it slowly and stop when you feel a stretching sensation — never work a stretch to the point of pain.
5. Standing Chest Expansion
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and soften your knees.
- Interweave your fingers together behind your tailbone.
- Press your knuckles toward the floor as you open your chest out and up.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
The further you draw your clasped hands away from your tailbone, the greater the intensity of this pec stretch.
6. Stability Ball Chest Stretch
- Lie with your back supported by a stability ball. Plant your feet firmly in the ground, hip-width apart.
- Open your arms to the sides of the room and let them hang so you feel a stretch in your chest muscles.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
If you don't have a stability ball handy, you can use the edge of a couch or the seat of a chair.