Exercising regularly or working a desk job can lead to the tightening of our chest muscles. This can further lead to reduced movement and bad posture. It can help with rounding the shoulder in the forward direction. Additionally, it can also limit the amount of motion of your shoulder joint. Therefore, knowing how to stretch the chest properly becomes all the more important.
1. Need for Chest Stretches
The arm and chest muscles are involved in almost every day-to-day task. Whether it’s swimming, lifting, or even driving a car. When a muscle works this heavily, it’s bound to get tight. This decreases the movement of muscles, which generates pain in the muscles.
- Performing chest stretches is crucial in working these muscles.
- It helps loosen up these muscles.
Our chest comprises the pectoral major and pectoral minor. Tight pectoral muscles result in forward-rounded shoulders. This further limits the range of motion of our shoulders. Hence, it’s crucial to stretch the chest muscles.
2. How to Stretch the Chest? Types of Stretches
Various stretches help you relieve the tension in your chest. For one, they help to eliminate the pain in the muscle and increase the amount of blood flow. Performing these stretches regularly would help you manifold.
These are all convenient exercises that don’t need a specific place to achieve them. Accessibility is the key to these movements. They are straightforward to perform and are time-friendly too.
2.1 Doorway Chest Stretch
This is among the most impactful chest stretches out there. It’s easy to do and can be performed anywhere.
- Find a corner or a doorway in your home.
- Fold your arm such that it is perpendicular to your shoulder.
- Put your arm against the wall. Straighten up your back and move your chest out.
- Make sure to keep your shoulder and core tight.
- Hold this pose for about 20 seconds.
- After that, switch to your other arm and perform the stretch similarly. Do two sets on each side.
2.2 Behind-the-Head Stretch
It is a simple yet effective chest stretch in the fitness world. Stand in a position with back straight and feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands behind your head and lock the fingers.
- In this position, try to touch both shoulder blades at the back. Hold it for 25 seconds.
- Repeat this stretch about 2-3 times.
2.3 Camel Pose Stretch
This is a technical kind of stretch. It is fairly challenging to perform.
- Start the stretch in a kneeling position.
- Your hips should be above your knees.
- Slowly try to hold your toes while stretching your chest toward the sky.
- While doing this, bring your head backward and stretch your throat.
This stretch should be done for 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 2 times per session.
2.4 Pec Release
This is to release the tightness in the pectoral muscle. It requires tennis or softball to perform it. Stand a few centimetres away from a wall. Put a ball between your upper chest and the wall and press against the ball. Raise your arms such that they are perpendicular to the elbow. Raise your arms straight above your head at a slower pace. Then, come back to the starting position. Do these for about 30 seconds without pausing in between. Perform these at a slower pace for maximal output.
2.5 Bow Pose Stretch
It’s a pose inspired by yoga and is not easy to perform. As the name suggests, our body forms like a bow during this stretch. Lie on the ground, keeping your face towards the floor. Slowly lift your legs and ankles. Lift your hand and grab your legs by the ankle rather than the toes.
- Bring your shoulder blades together so your chest lifts.
- Slowly lift the thighs, too.
- Make sure that only your stomach is flat on the floor.
- While doing this, make sure to inhale correctly.
- Hold the bow pose for 10-15 seconds, and then slowly exhale and lower your head, chest, and thighs on the ground.
Repeat this 2-3 times. This stretch strengthens the upper back muscles and improves posture. This directly results in the opening up of tightened chest muscles.
2.6 One Arm Chest Stretch
This is a simple stretch with minimal time and effort. You can fit this stretch whenever you get a break. You just have to grab a bend or a chair.
- Make sure that your arm is straight.
- Slowly rotate in the forward direction such that your arm is behind you.
- It should be straight while your hands grab the chair.
- Stretch in this pose for about 20-25 seconds, then switch arms. This stretch directly stretches your chest and provides instant relief.
3. Become Fitter and Better!
It is quite clear that our body is a machine that needs repairs, too. Like in a machine, you apply grease; stretching is like lubricating muscles and joints. Pushing your body to the limit also means getting sore and tightening up. It’s equally important to perform stretches as it is to work out to stay healthy. If you fuel your body effectively and stretch the muscles after working out, you will become a better version of yourself.