Manual Pectoralis Minor Stretch

Manual Pectoralis Minor Stretch

This is Brent coming at you with another
one of our manual stretching videos. In this video we’re going to go after our
pectoralis minor, a muscle that has a propensity to get very overactive, very
short in all of those individuals with upper body dysfunction. I’m going to have my friend, Yvette, come out and help me demonstrate this technique. Now, first
things first, we always want to talk about body position. So I’m going to make
sure that Yvette scoots down her hips right next to mine so that I don’t have to reach
across the table, I can save my own low back and my own mechanics. Next thing we have to think about is our kenesis, so what is it that my pectoralis minor does,
and with attachments that ribs three, four, five, and my coracoid process, it is
going to protract, downwardly rotate, depress, and anteriorly tip my scapula. Now, the problem that comes in, is most people will go, ‘okay, great, got the pectoralis minor joint actions going.’ Understand how to stretch it, you
put the person in position and you do this and what do you feel? Nothing.
This isn’t enough of a stretch, this doesn’t take the pectoralis minor
through enough lengthening for us to get any sort of result. So we’ve got to use a
little bit of a secret here, or a little bit of a trick, very fancy piece of
equipment also known as a gym hand towel. I’m going to have Yvette go ahead and curl
up, I’m going to place this towel out of the level of the inferior angles of her
scapula, and then have her lay back over it. Now you will have to experiment
with the size of the towel a little bit. I find that the hand towels that we have
here work very well, a bath towel would probably be way too big. Now, I’m going to take Yvette through these joint actions of elevation and upward rotation, and
then I push her back into retraction, I have that towel pressing on her inferior
angle this way, and pressing her thoracic spine into extension which is going to
promote a lot of posterior tipping. So now, when I
go to press down, now how does that feel Yvette? She can feel it in the lateral
portion of her pec, and I can actually feel that first resistance barrier.
Now, why would I want to stretch the pec minor? I think some of you are
probably thinking, ‘you just showed us a pec stretch on that video on pectoralis
major’, and that’s true, however, the pec minor can be hidden in that stretch.
These big stretches, these big motion stretches, latissimus dorsi and
pectoralis major specifically, there’s a lot of structures that could be involved.
We could have pec major, we could have lat, teres major, subscapularis. If
I know that the pec minor is bound down, and I want to hit that structure specifically, this is probably the best thing I can do. Further, if I
want to hit pec major, and I want to make sure I’m hitting pec major, I’m sure some
of you guys have already experienced where you take somebody into a
pectoralis major stretch, and they’re not really feeling it throughout their
entire pec, they just keep pointing at their pec minor. Well, if you want to get
this stretch better, you might have to do a PEC minor stretch first.
Now, all that set aside, how can we make my pectoralis minor stretch a little bit
better. I’m sure you will run into people whose pectoralis minor is like a
leather strap, and it just won’t let go. You can’t get that release you’re
looking for. I have found a couple of tricks. Number one, pectoralis minor, for whatever
reason, seems to be very related to stiffness in the thoracic spine. I don’t
know if there’s some sort of arthro kinematic reflex happening there that
tones up the pec minor, but doing any sort of release work for your thoracic
spine, you can see that video on thoracic spine self-administered
mobilization from my videos, my manual therapists can do your
mobilizations, I think you’ll find if you do that first it’s a lot easier to get a
release in the pec minor. Further, the pec minor has a propensity to really get
laden down with trigger points. It might also be much more effective for you
to do your self-administered release with a softball like I had on previous videos, or my manual therapist can do this manually. So, once again, to just kind of repeat
here, to improve the lengthening ability to get the most out of a stretch for my
pec minor, it is probably best to do my thoracic spine release, and my pectoralis
minor release first. And, if you are having problems with somebody with
upper-body dysfunction, doing these techniques before you do some of
your bigger structures like pec major and latissimus dorsi is probably going
to also increase the effectiveness of your technique. So just going
through the technique one more time here, I have that towel set at her
inferior angles, I’m going to set her arm into slight flexion here, that’s going to help promote the posterior tipping. I’m going to put my
hand over the lateral third of her clavicle and her acromion process, not
the humeral head, remember my pectoralis minor does not cross my shoulder. So I
want to be here. I’m then going to take her into elevation or upward rotation,
and push her back into retraction and posterior tipping. I hope you got
all of that. So that’s elevation, upward rotation, push back on the lateral third
of the clavicle in the acromion process. It’s actually a really easy technique
once you practice it a couple of times. I hope you get great results from
this technique. I think your clients will definitely appreciate the specificity of
this technique and what they can get out of it for their posture.
I’ll talk with you soon.

6 Replies to “Manual Pectoralis Minor Stretch”

  1. Great video. May I ask what is the door equipment that bag is hung on? Looks like pull ups and eye hooks all around for bands? Thanks again

  2. Hey Hands 36,
    That rigging is actually a custom built steel frame. One of the trainers at this studio loves steel work and building equipment and did some work for the club. It is very handy and sturdy stuff.
    Thanks for the question.

  3. Hi, Great video by the way. One question: How come you are not raising the arm to help raise the scap(via scap.-hum. rhythym) and increase the distance between (O) and (I)? Thanks!

  4. If there is anyone. better at these videos I have yet to find it. I love how you spoke about the sequence of mobilisation. Have you addressed this further in any other video? Meyers and others usually advise to start out from the biggest trouble area

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