Your chest is composed of several muscles and muscle groups known as your pecs or pectoral muscles. The pectoralis minor muscles are hidden beneath the large pectoralis major muscles that give your chest definition. Exercising your pectoralis minor muscles helps support your pectoralis major muscles and increases strength and range of motion in your shoulder joint. Consult your doctor before making any dramatic changes to your fitness regimen.
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Your pectoralis minor muscle is located in the upper quadrant of your chest beneath your pectoralis major muscles. The pectoralis minor muscles attach to the upper portion of your clavicle, or collarbone, and to the middle of your third, fourth and fifth ribs. The function of the pectoralis minor muscle allows you to curve your shoulder forward and pull your shoulder blade, or scapula, in a downward motion.
To do a pushup, place your hands on the floor approximately shoulder-width apart and extend your arms, making sure there is a slight bend in your elbows. Support your lower body with either your knees or toes, depending on your current strength level. Lower your body down by bending your elbows until your chest almost touches the floor, and return to the starting position. There are many variations of this exercise. For example, you can do pushups on the floor using a coffee table or other sturdy, low object to rest your feet or hands on or perform standing pushups by standing a short distance from a wall and placing your hands on it. All of these pushup positions effectively work the pectoralis major and minor muscles.
Pulling your arms behind you while keeping your elbows bent and your forearms perpendicular to the floor is an excellent exercise to stretch and tone your pectoralis minor muscle without the use of weights. Stand or sit and bend your arms with your elbows at your sides and arms bent at a 90-degree angle. Pull your arms back as if you were trying to touch your shoulder blades together behind your back. Hold the contraction for several moments and then release. Repeat as desired.
Parallel Bar Dips
Stand between two parallel bars. Lift your body off the ground by grabbing each bar with your hands. Bend your elbows slightly, and bend your knees, forming a 90-degree angle with your legs -- this is your starting position. Lower your body slowly by bending your elbows until they form a 90-degree angle, and lift yourself back up into the starting position. This move works on the downward rotation angle of the scapula and stretches and strengthens the pectoralis minor muscle at the same time.