Pectoralis minor tightness coupled with kyphosis often leads to postural dysfunction, limited thoracic mobility and shoulder problems. With repetitive sitting, aging and the consistent use of devices, gravity tends to pull the shoulders forward and inward, increasing the risk of impingement. This can increase injury risk for overhead athletes, Olympic lifters and fitness enthusiasts participating in regular weight training
This exercise is an excellent mobility drill that can be done after soft tissue mobilization and prior to a workout to prepare for higher loading and repetitive overhead activity.
Execution: Begin in a supine position on a long foam roller with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Begin with the arms in 90 degrees of flexion and perpendicular to the floor. Next, slowly retract the scapulae while pulling the arms into a Y position and the thumbs toward the floor. Pause at end range or when the thumbs lightly touch he floor for 2-3 seconds and return to the start position.
It may be necessary to cue the client to keep the spine neutral and pressed against the roller. Perform 1-2 sets of 5-10 repetitions.
Application: This is an excellent exercise that can be integrated as part of a warm-up/movement prep session prior to engaging in overhead sports or lifting activities. In addition, it can serve as a daily corrective to improve shoulder mobility and posture. Finally, it can be used in recovery and the cool-down to address soft tissue tightness in the chest. When used post-workout, I suggest a slightly longer hold time to emphasize more passive stretching when force production is not a concern.
I often use this exercise following myofascial release work on the pec major/minor and thoracic spine extension mobilization on the roller. This exercise can serve as a staple in rehab and prehab programs for all throwers and overhead athletes.