Use These Chest Stretches to Loosen Tight Chest Muscles

Woman using a pole to stretch the muscles of the chestDirima / Shutterstock

Many things that we do everyday, like sitting at a desk and using our smartphones, cause a sensation of chest tightness. The relaxation of the chest contributes greatly to maintaining good posture and health. Here is what to do.

Why pay attention to the chest? The tension in one group of muscles can affect the functionality of another group of muscles; therefore, chest tension can release the potential of the rest of your body.

You can have this feeling of tension by spending long hours in the office, carrying heavy boxes, watching your mobile phone or doing too much exercise on the front of the body. These activities can result in muscle imbalance in the upper body and chest, muscles tight enough to pull the shoulders and posture forward.

Understand your chest muscles

The main muscles here are the major and minor pectoralis. When these muscles contract, the shoulders are often pulled forward, giving a "rounded shoulder" or "curved shoulder" appearance. This is exacerbated if the upper back is weak or the mobility of your shoulder is inhibited.

We recommend doing dedicated chest stretches two to three times a week. Adding a yoga class will help you get better results because many yoga exercises are designed to open the chest area (we have included our favorites below).

Tips to maximize your stretching

Do not forget to always consult a doctor or physiotherapist before starting a new exercise regime if you have health problems. Then follow these tips to get the most out of your stretching routine:

Warm up first: Do not just stretch those contracted muscles. Ideally, you can provide some stretching after your regular cardio workout. Otherwise, wait 10 minutes for low intensity cardio to warm up your muscles.
Take deep breaths: Make sure to use your breath when moving in poses. Never hold your breath this will only make your chest muscles more tense!
Repeat each exercise: Sometimes everything is so tight that you can not get into a pose. Always pause, then try again. Try to do each stretch or ask three to five times. This gives your body enough time to relax and open.

Stretch Cat-Cow

This classic yoga movement has many advantages. This will help you relax your back and chest muscles and prepare you for the most intense stretches to come.

Position yourself on your hands and knees, as if you were in a creeping position. Hands should be shoulder width and knees hip-width wide. Inhale deeply and push your back to the ceiling, lowering your head to look at the floor (cat position). Then exhale slowly pushing your belly to the ground and raising your head towards the ceiling (position of the cow). Repeat five times.

Elbow stretching

Stand straight with your legs apart from your hips. Intertwine your fingers behind your head, elbows pointing to the sides. Pinch the shoulder blades slowly backwards, pushing your elbows back and forth, with the chest forward. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, continuing to breathe. Release, wait about 10 seconds, then repeat again two or three times.

Behind the back

Stand straight with your legs apart from your hips. Interlace your hands behind your back, straighten your arms. Push your hands to the ground, gently squeezing your shoulder blades. Make sure to push your chest forward. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Release, pause, then repeat two or three more times.

Another variation is to reach your arms backwards until each hand grasps the opposite elbow. From there, you can push the torso out and bring your shoulder blades together. This variation can be made sitting, kneeling or standing. It's an easy exercise to do on your desk (move slowly if you have not done an adequate warm-up).

Camel Pose

Woman performing camel yoga pose stretch on a beachSvetlana Romantsova / Shutterstock

This is an excellent yoga pose to open the chest muscles. This excellent video includes a warm up leading to the camel posture and is a great starting point.

Start by sitting on your lap, with a gap of about two fists between your knees. Place your hands on your lower back with your fingers pointing down. Tuck your belly, lift your chest and lean back. Make sure your tailbone stays pointed, this will protect your lower back. Look at the ceiling, making sure to keep your neck long and long. Hold for five breaths.

For the advanced version, continue to lean backwards until your hands can rest on your heels. You can enter your toes if you wish.

Leaving this pose, move forward with the chest. You can do a pose of the child or cat-cow stretch as a counter position.

Bridge pose

The bridge pose is another great option to open the chest muscles. Most yoga classes incorporate this movement, but here is a brief overview so you can try it at home (and a useful video too, of course.

Lie flat on your back, bend your knees with your feet firmly on the floor and slowly lift your hips up to the ceiling. Push your forearms into the ground, nestling your hands under your body. Do not push your chin towards your chest; this will put pressure on your neck. Instead, hold your neck down and lower your shoulders. Hold for five breaths. Take a break, then repeat several times.

If you know yoga, you can also perform several backbends. It's a more advanced move to open your chest. You'll notice that if you're looking for backbend tutorials on YouTube, all the videos are pretty long. Backbends are something you work with a longer video and take it slowly and easily.

Door stretches

Many large sections use an open door. These stretches are especially useful if you work in an office (and the time spent in front of your desk is your motivation to keep your chest tight). Whenever you get up from your desk to do something around your desk, you can use a door frame nearby to hold a few passes. Here are our favorites:

Outside arm: Stand in the center of an open door, feet apart from the hips. Extend your arms completely, making sure your palms are pushed against each side of the wall. Step one leg forward a few inches and lean into the opening of the door, keeping your shoulders engaged down and your neck lying down. You should feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Shake it, resume the position, but now move forward with the other leg. Aim to do four series in total.
V-Arm: Follow the instructions for the "arm out" exercise above, but push the arms higher up in a V-position. Make sure the palms are still pushing in the wall on either side of the door.
Folded arms: This is another variation of the exercise "arms in the air". Fold each arm around your elbow so that your arm is at a right angle. Do not forget to push the chest forward – this is what helps open tense muscles. You can also do it arm-in-arm, looking over your opposite shoulder to get a deeper stretch.
With the help of a small ball: Stand on the right side of the door, facing the wall. Place an exercise ball or firm butt ball between your chest and the wall, placing it on the left side of your chest. Push your left arm through the door, lifting it up and down. Continue for 30 seconds while pausing before moving to the other side.

While you may not have the time or the space in the office to get up and do some yoga moves, the sturdy doorframes are a great way to sneak into the state.

Spending time to open the pectoral muscles should help relieve tension in other areas of your body. Do not forget to stand up, keep your shoulders pulled back and down and avoid over-doing your chest exercises without balancing them with back exercises and back exercises. shoulders. Lift your cell phone at eye level when you have to write a text, instead of leaning forward. Over time, you should notice a significant change in your posture and mobility.

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