Pectoralis Minor: Straight Talk About A Pesky Muscle

Pectoralis Minor

Pectoralis Minor

The Pectoralis Minor — A Muscle of Importance, Function & Shoulder Problems

The pectoralis minor is a very important muscle and is involved with many motions of the body.

The primary action of it is to stabilize, depress, abduct, and protract, upward tilt and downward rotation of the scapula.  The pectoralis minor is also associated with shoulder problems!

So if you have shoulder pain it could be because of something happening with your pectoralis minor.  The pectoralis minor tends to be overactive and short in most people because of spending too much time hunched over typing or sitting at a desk all day.

If you workout a lot, your pectoralis minor could be causing even more problems, especially if you do more push exercises than pull. 

An overactive pectoralis minor can cause something called, the upper crossed syndrome. It can cause rotator cuff injuries and even neck pain!

Pectoralis Minor Anatomy & Function

The pectoralis minor is located under the pectoralis major.  Its insertion is in the upper surface of the coracoid process of scapula.

Pectoralis Minor Anatomy

The pectoralis minor is a thin, flat muscle that is found underneath the pectoralis major and it’s the smallest muscle of the two pectoral muscles of the chest.

It helps stabilize, depress, abduct, protract, upward tilt and downward rotate of the scapula.

Pectoralis Minor Stretches To Vanquish Shoulder Problems

Stretching the pectoralis minor can help with so many shoulder problems!

Here are some stretches to help with shoulder problems:

Gross Stretch

For this you will be lying on a table on your back and allow one of your arms to hang off the side of the table with your shoulder positioned at the edge of the table.

Make sure to bend your elbow to 90 degrees so that your hand is facing the direction of your head. You can have a partner gently press on the forearm of the hanging arm until you feel slight pressure at the front of the chest and shoulder.

Make sure to hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Doorway Stretch

Start by standing inside a doorway and place your arm inside the frame with your elbow and shoulder bent to 90 degrees.

Lean into the doorway and rotate your free side away too add more pressure into your chest.

Hold it for about 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Supine Manual Stretch

For this stretch you will start by standing at the side and placing your outer border of hands on the coracoid area.

Slowly press towards the table, and make sure if you feel any discomfort.

Watch your core and rib cage for any elevation that could happen. If you see any elevation make sure to contract your core and stabilize this will help.

How To Release The Pectoralis Minor

One of the most effective ways to release your pectoralis minor involves soft tissue release. You can use a lacrosse ball to help with the release of it.

For this place the ball on your pectoralis minor and sandwich it between your chest and the wall.

You can lean in more to create more pressure on that spot. Start to move your arm multiple ways.

If you want to release different parts make sure to change the position of the ball. If you find a spot that is a little bit tender spend some time breathing throughout it and moving side to side or up and down.

Pectoralis Minor Exercises To Avoid Future Pain

Now that we know how to stretch your pectoralis minor let’s use specific exercises to help with future pain!

Chest Dips

For chest dips you will be placing one hand on two parallel bars or you can use a bench.

Hover your legs if you are using bars by kicking your heels in front of you. Elevate your body by keeping your arms straight. Bend your elbows as you lean slightly forward and lower your body.

Make sure to engage your core and stabilize your pelvis while exhaling on the way down.

Extend your elbows to complete on rep. Keep repeating and you can add weight if needed.

Standing Fly

This is a great exercise to focus on the Pec minor because it requires significant assistance from the pectoralis minor. 

Start by standing in the center of two cable machines and make sure the cables are at the highest level they can be.

Grasp the pulley handles to your sides and bend your elbows slightly. Make sure to point your elbows to the back and sides. Try hinging a forward from your hips and knees.

Draw the cable handles toward each other to meet in the center of your chest. And slowly open back up to the starting position. Repeat as many as you can.

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