A Physical Therapist Shares 4 Essential Chest Stretches for Mobility | mattsspot.com

A Physical Therapist Shares 4 Essential Chest Stretches for Mobility

Bench presses, dumbbell flies, and pushup variations can be some of the most rewarding movements in a training split—there’s nothing like a good chest pump at the end of an upper-body focused lifting session. But if you ever feel like a heavy day of chest training has you hunched forward, you’re not alone. Chest tightness can round out your upper back by pulling the shoulders forward.

Dan Giordano, DPT, CSCS of Bespoke Treatments shares some of the best chest stretches you can do to help make the post-gym hunchback feeling a thing of the past.

What Are The Chest Muscles?

The chest is made up of two muscles, your pectoralis major and your pectoralis minor. They originate at the shoulder and attach at different points across the sternum, ribs, and collar bone. These muscles are responsible for pulling the arm up, forward, and across the body.

Who Would Benefit From Chest Stretches?

Spoiler alert: everyone.

If you love piling on reps of bench presses or pushups, your chest may be tight after your training days. This can be part of what causes the hunch. Our shoulders get pulled down and forward—and if you don’t work to even out the effects of these movements with exercises that target your back and stretching, you can become unbalanced.

Desk workers can also benefit from chest stretches. The default position of being bent over a computer or hunching over to look at a phone screen can be an issue too—so anyone who sits in that way can do with some chest TLC.

These stretches from Giordano can give everyone, lifters, desk workers, and phone obsessives, some much-needed balance. When trying new stretches, only move to the point where you can feel the stretch. These moves shouldn’t cause pain, so don’t push beyond your own range of motion.

The 4 Best Chest Stretches

Seated Chair Stretch

This movement is super easy to add in between emails—you don’t even have to stand up. Rep out a few of these during your next Zoom meeting.

How to Do It:

  • Interlock the fingers behind the head.
  • Pull the elbows back until you feel the stretch through the chest.
  • If you struggle to get your fingers behind your head— assume the goalpost position, with the fingers pointed up and the elbow at 90 degrees. It will do the trick.
  • Hold for about 3 to 5 seconds. Aim for 10 reps.

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Single-Arm Chest Stretch With Rotation

Here’s another easy seated stretch to pop into the middle of your workday. You can also program this move in between sets at the bench press. Just have a chair or bench handy for this movement whenever you choose to get your stretch on.

How to Do It:

  • Take a seat, and grab onto the bottom portion of the chair on one side.
  • Puff your chest out, and rotate away from the arm holding the chair.
  • Hold for about 3 to 5 seconds. Aim for 10 reps each side.

Quadruped Kneel Pectoral Stretch

Giordano recommends this movement as a warm up or a cool down for your chest day.

How To Do It:

  • Start in a quadruped position on all fours.
  • Extend one arm straight out to the side.
  • Push the shoulder towards the floor while rotating away from the extended arm. Make sure the hand stays flat and still on the floor.
  • Sink to a depth that is comfortable.
  • Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Aim for 10 reps.

Scorpion Chest Stretch

This is the most intense out of all of these stretches, so try out the other ones first before progressing to this one.

How To Do It:

  • Lie flat on the ground, with your arms out 90 degrees to your side.
  • Lift one leg up and rotate other the other until the foot is touching the floor, creating that scorpion position.
  • Keep the non-moving leg still, and the arm on that same side flat to the ground with the palm facing down.
  • Use the other arm to support the rotation by pressing lightly into the floor to further deepen the stretch.
  • Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Aim for 10 reps each side.

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