Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Anterior shoulder/pec minor tightness

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    • #71026
      AvatarLauren Hyser

      Hi – wondering if someone can kindly shed some light on some things for me.

      My main symptom is a tight neck. However, I am particularly tight in my anterior shoulder as well as pecs. When I try to do the blue angel I can’t get my arm up by my ear – it all starts to get stuck at just a little past 90 degrees!
      Questions are:
      What do my limitations when trying to do a blue angel suggest?
      Best ways to restore mobility to my anterior shoulder and also pectoral muscles? Struggling to find my pec minor and really target it.
      Is it likely that the tightness in these two regions contribute to my neck pain?
      Thank you in advance.
    • #74952

      Soft Tissue of Neck
      Jill Miller and Your Dys-Supple Neck
      Have you looked at your t spine?
      Some shoulder issues originate at the tspine.
      First rib?
      Is your head position forward?

    • #74954
      AvatarLauren Hyser

      Thanks for the response.

      Yes, I would say my head position is forward although I do the best I can to address it, as well as work on my tspine. Do you know why I would struggle with the upper range of motion when doing a blue angel? Also, best way to go after the pec minor?


      Thank you.

    • #74956
    • #74958
      AvatarNathan Richer

      Alex, as you look at what Kaitlin has posted, i would also add that there sounds like a strong chance that you have protracted shoulders where they have drifted forward of their sockets.  the pec/pec minor/ant delt tightness is probably making that condition even more established and is often evidence of protracted shoulders. if they are very forward, you will find it hard to do any kind of overhead at all and will increase the risk of shoulder impingement problems.

      try this. take a 16kg/35lb kettlebell. lay down on the ground and raise it up carefully to vertical. let the weight of the KB press the shoulder to the rear of the shoulder joint – let it stretch your pec/pec minor/ant delt and fatigue them such that they release and let the shoulder go back. keep the elbow locked out and you can reach over with your other arm to block the elbow from bending under fatigue.  do this for a good 2 minutes on each side.
      immediately after doing it, carefully place the KB down and before you get up, try to do a snow angel with either arm. can you get it higher overhead, past 90 deg where you couldn’t before?
      using a supernova on the pecs and anterior delts will be helpful.  you can get at some of the tissue of the pec minor but i find that sometimes i have to stand up and drive the point of the gemini into the crevice bet shoulder and chest to get at deep tissues there.  smash all of that and test again.
      the other part to try is smashing and activation of the posterior area.  it is possible that they have weakened or have been inhibited because the pec/pec minor/ant delt have been so tight.  so smash them to help mobilize them: rear delt, lats, around the shoulder blades, use a softer ball on top of the shoulder blades. if you can afford it, i would highly recommend the crossover symmetry system. i’ve been using it and it’s done wonders for my shoulders in activating the posterior shoulder muscle complex.
      and always retest after doing a mobilization!
      last, if it is this and the other issues, work on 24/7 attention to posture and forward shoulders and neck.
      check this video out:
    • #74961
      AvatarLauren Hyser

      Great, thank you David

    • #74973
      AvatarKatie Hemphill

      Hey Alex,

      I would add that you can get at that pec minor pretty smoothly against a wall using a lacrosse ball. Operate near a corner of the wall, so you can put your head past and really lean in as much as you need to. 

      Check out a bunch of pictures of the pec minor online if you’re not familiar with where it’s located. It can be tough to single it out and know that you’re hitting it beneath all that big meat of the chest, and having a strong concept of what it looks like sitting on the ribcage has really helped me.

      Good luck!
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