When your parents told you to stop slouching and stand up straight what did you do? Other than mutter a smart remark under your breath? You PULLED both shoulders backwards and felt a tight sensation around the front of your chest. Those muscles that feel tight are the pectorals. This two muscle group is responsible for assisting any type of arm movements from push-ups to carrying items large and small in your hands/arms.
The larger of the two, called Pectoralis Major, is very broad: it originates from the collar and breast bone and connects to the humerus (top of arm near joint). The smaller and deeper muscle is called Pectoralis Minor. It is located underneath the large muscle and has many duties: it elevates the ribcage while breathing, protects the major arteries that travel from the neck to heart AND it assists in moving the shoulder blade (interesting how something in the front affects your back).
Very often our pectorals are shortened/contracted in our everyday activities and do not become stretched out. This is a video demonstrating a Pectoral stretch: You can also self-massage your Pectoral muscles with a tennis ball. See how to here:
Following these steps to “open up” your pectorals will reduce tightness and will help relieve back tension.
This article/video is for educational purposes only; do not attempt without your physician’s clearance. If you are in pain or injured, see your physician.