Continuing on from the Upper Cross Syndrome, it was mentioned that the anterior chest muscles often become adapted to a shortened position. This can cause your upper back to round and your shoulders to hunch forward.  To help correct this, you’ll want to open up your chest and upper body. And to make this easier, you’ll want to maximize the flexibility of your anterior chest muscles, mainly your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor

Pec major and pec minor
Pec major and pec minor

There are several ways to stretch these muscles.

The simplest one that you can do anywhere is the standing pec stretch. It’s easier in the doorway. Simply put one arm along the wall, maintain vertical alignment of your spine (stand tall) and push your chest straight forward.  Try not to let your elbow come off the wall.  Hold for ~30 seconds, repeat for 3 sets

Tips: for a more aggressive stretch, you can: 1) place a ball or towel between your hand and the wall for more external rotation or 2) also turn your chest away from your arm.

Pec stretch - Doorway
Pec stretch – Doorway

Alternatively, you can also do this with the assistance of gravity.  Lay down on a foam roller (or rolled up beach towel if you don’t have a roller) and allow your arms to fall down to the side.  Squeeze and retract your shoulder blades and try to get the back of your shoulder closer to the floor. You can abduct your arms and move them away from your sides to get a better stretch.  Either hold for 30 seconds as above, or slowly move your arms sideways as if you were making snow angels.

Pec stretch - foam roller
Pec stretch – foam roller