Part 1: Tight Chest
In this series, we are going to look at the factors that are holding you back. The little fixable things that are making you look less hot than you could be, or in today’s case, less hot that you already are. These are the weak points that most sedentary people have which I seek to improve on my personal clients. Today’s weak point is very common with people who work desk jobs, boys who love to bench press, and women who were a taller than the boys in middle school (which is most women in middle school). These populations seem to universally have tight muscles in their chest. The Pectoralis minor, Pectoralis major, subscapularis, serratus anterior, and the intercostals are chronically shortened through poor posture (hunching) and/or relative overuse (i.e. bench press every day but can’t do a single pull up). Luckily, stretching these badboys out and finally sitting up straight is serious bang-for-your-buck hotness. Here’s how:
Get a Lacrosse ball. Here. They cost two dollars (you’re welcome). Go to a frame and place that hard little ball of awesome between your chest and the wall. Stick your head through the door frame and roll the ball around your chest. Now keep it up as you move your arm around through it’s range of motion. All that grinding awfulness? That’s part of the reason you’re so tight. It’s little balls of knotted up muscle and fascia that can only be released manually. Keep doing that until you feel looser. I go until I see actual improvement in my range of motion.
Stretch The Big Stuff
Walk up to the door frame again and pretend like you’re going to give it a high-five. Place your whole forearm on the door frame and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Now start to turn away from the door frame, pressing your arm behind you. It’s important to keep squeezing your shoulder blades together, otherwise you’ll just start pulling your shoulder out of it’s capsule instead of stretching your chest. So if your arm looks like (and feels like) it’s gonna pop out the front of your shoulder, you’re doing it wrong. Lighten up the pressure and ease into it with a packed shoulder. Repeat this stretch with your elbow below, at the same level, and above the level of your shoulder. Do both sides and shoot for a total of 2 minutes per side in the stretch.
Stretch The Little Stuff
Go back to the door frame and stick your elbow as high into the air as you can. Place it gently on the door frame and begin to slowly put pressure on it, trying to force your arm behind your ear. When you feel like you can’t get you arm any further back, flex the muscles you’re stretching slightly for 2-3 seconds, and relax them as you exhale. Hold there for a minute and repeat until you can’t get your arm further back at all. Do both sides and shoot for a total of 2 minutes per side in the stretch.
Now Use It
Take a slight step away from the wall and put your butt, shoulders, and head against the wall. Put your elbows on the wall and the back of your hands on the wall at 90 degree angles. Like your giving two people high fives. Flex your abs, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and slide your arms up and down the wall as much as you can without letting your hands come off or without unflexing your stomach. Repeat for 10-12 reps trying to go higher and lower each time.