Tightness in the chest is common in many people. Weight training, overhead sports and sitting all contribute to tightness and limited mobility in the pectoral muscles, thereby creating faulty posture and negatively impacting shoulder biomechanics with certain activities. This exercise will help resolve tightness and trigger points in the pecs.
Execution: Using a tennis/lacrosse/trigger point ball, place it against the left pec using the palm of your right hand. Start about half way between the anterior shoulder and sternum. Gradually apply increasing pressure and move up/down, side-to-side and clockwise/counterclockwise over any tight and tender areas. You may also directly hold and compress restricted areas for 5-10 seconds at a time.
To increase the pressure, use both hands, or load the ball even more by using a yoga block to compress it further into the chest. Perform this activity for 2-3 minutes prior to any specific stretching or dynamic movement to maximize mobility. While it may not be entirely comfortable, do not push so hard that it becomes real painful.
Application: This exercise is designed to reduce tightness and trigger points that are common in the pec major/minor. Tightness in this area can increase the risk of shoulder impingement, contribute to postural dysfunction and lead to overuse injuries in clients who perform overhead sports or repetitive work activities.
Soft tissue mobilization such as this should be done prior to stretching or dynamic warm-up activity to optimize movement patterns. For throwing athletes (especially pitchers and catchers), this is a beneficial exercise that can be done daily as part of an effective arm care program.