How to Release the Pectoralis Minor
Are your shoulders constantly bothering you? Do you have rounded shoulders? Have you had pain or movement restriction in the shoulders?
What is Pectoralis Minor?
Pectoralis minor is a small muscle in the anterior chest wall that attaches from the ribs to the coracoid process of the scapula, and assists with stabilisation of the shoulder complex, protraction of the shoulders, and plays a small role in elevating the ribs for inspiration.
Whilst it is not one of the largest muscles in the pectoral girdle, tightness of the pectoralis minor is increasingly common, even more so in those with shoulder pain. A tight or shortened pec minor can significantly impair shoulder range of motion, making every day tasks very challenging. Tight muscles here can also prevent the scapula from moving optimally in regards to biomechanics and cause a slouched posture, which can cause further impairments or injury.
Tightness in the pectoralis minor when combined with weak latissimus dorsi (a large, important back muscle), can cause excessive protraction of the shoulder, presenting in severe rounded posture that is difficult to correct. In this case, it is not only important to release the pectoralis muscles but also to strengthen latissimus dorsi.
In the video below, Bertrand shows you how to release the pectoralis minor, which often becomes shortened for people with shoulder pain/dysfunction.
Pectoralis Minor Exercises
As well as being able to release and lengthen the pectoralis minor muscle, it is important to have adequate strength for maintaining good posture and preventing further injury from occurring. Exercises which target the pectoralis muscle group include but are not limited to:
- Chest dips – similar to tricep dips, but focus is on directing body forward
- Chest Press – can be done with a machine, free weights or a resistance band
- Close grip Push up
- Chest Fly
- Cable Crossover work – best executed with a cable machine, but can also achieve with free weights
If you have sustained a shoulder injury, or are suffering from shoulder discomfort and pain, please contact us on 1800 992 999 or at [email protected] to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists today!