Pectoralis Major Stretch
This stretch is very effective for the muscles that fills the space between the crook of the elbow and the shoulder, biceps brachii, or usually biceps for short. The exercise will effect either the pectoral and front deltoid muscle or the biceps muscle, depending on the angle of the arm in relation to the floor. It can be a fantastic stretch for RSI (Repetitive Strain Injuries)! Shortness of the biceps muscle can cause irritation of the long head of the biceps tendon and may even be the source of a rotator caff injury. Opening up this tension may bring relief to shoulder pain and reduce further discomfort. If you have an acute shoulder injury (up to 2-8 weeks), this stretch is not recommended. Please consult your MD or Physio Therapist to avoid possible contraindications.
Muscles that act on the Shoulder (focus on the PECTORALIS MINOR) the arm position for the Pertoralis Minor stretch is not demonstrated here but you may feel this muscle during this exercise as well.
BICEPS BRACHII Muscle the arm position for the biceps stretch is not demonstrated here but you may feel this muscle during this exercise as well. Try the same stretch position with your thumb down - which will move the stretch to the Biceps muscle.
Posture and form:
Position yourself lying on the floor parallel with the mat. Reach the arm out at about 45-degree angle with the thumb up, hand level with top of head - this will ensure that the stretch is felt in the pectoral muscle, in the front of the chest and on the side of the arm (some people may feel this stretch more in the biceps muscle).
Shuffle your lower body out on a diagonal as shown on the second picture, reaching away from the stretched arm. This will ensure that the desired angle will be maintained during exercise.
Slowly rotate the whole body using the outside leg reaching back across and over - as if turning onto your back. Your free/support hand is positioned just below the shoulder palm facing down - guiding the shoulder up/away from the floor while keeping the other shoulder in contact with the floor. Allow time to ease into the position before C-R.
If you don't feel the stretch, check your form or experiment with moving the arm little lower or higher to locate the targeted muscles. If you feel OUCH while in this position make sure that you carefully roll back onto your stomach before attempting to reposition your stretching arm.
BREATH slowly and continuously at all times. NEVER hold your breath.
While in position, gently press your palm and arm into the floor for five seconds.
Then stop pressing, relax and take a full breath in - as you slowly exhale very gently rotate the other shoulder higher away from the floor, reach your leg a bit further back to support holding this position.
Repeat C-R no more than 3 times. Finish by rolling your body back onto your tummy, slowly unwind from the stretch. Roll your shoulder and notice the changes achieved. Stretch the other arm as well. You may repeate the side that feels tighter.
Indications where stretch may be useful:
The following injuries, after their recovery, may benefit from the stretch: Dislocation, Sublaxation, Inpingement syndrome, Rotator cuff sublaxation, Biceps strain, Frozen shoulder, Chest strain, Biceps tendinitis