Pectoralis, from the latin, pectus, meaning breast. That's right, we're talking chest today!
The pectorals are two muscles, major and minor, that make up the bulk of the chest.
Pec major is the one most of us are familiar with, a thick fan-shaped muscle. It's main jobs are to flex, adduct and internally rotate the humerus, or arm bone. It starts on the clavicle, sternum and cartilage of the ribs (about rib 6 or 7). All these muscle orgigins converge together, inserting on the lateral lip of the biceptial groove on the humerus. Blood comes from the pectoral branch of the thorocoacromial trunk. It is innervated by the lateral and medial pectoral nerves.
Underneath the large expanse of the pec major, lies the pec minor, a small, thin, triangular muscle. It begins on ribs 3 thru 5 and inserts on the the coracoid process of the scapula. The blood also comes from the pectoral branch of the thorocoacromial trunk and is innervated by the medial pectoral nerve. It helps raise the ribs during inspiration and also to stabilize the scapula by drawing it against the thoracic wall.
These muscles, especially the pec minor, can be important in posture as well as sometimes contributing to nerve impingement into the arm. Typically we find these muscles are tight, and weak, so strength and mobility are key!
Try some of these exercises to keep your pec muscles happy!
Classic bench press and variations
The bench press is the most thought of exercise to work the chest. When adding this to your routine, variations can help with shoulder stability and working the various fibres of the pec. Try decline or incline presses, barbell vs dumbbells, and slowing down reps to work your chest
Using a lacrosse ball is a great way to work on trigger point and tight muscles at home between treatments!
Like the bench press, changing the angle of this stretch can help work on all angles of the pec.
Using the foam roller to stretch the chest is one of my favourites! This one specifically works on the pesky pec minor
Hope you have learned something about those chest muscles! If you're unsure if your pecs need work, nothing beats and assessment! Book today