It’s easy to neglect the importance of maintaining flexibility and mobility in key muscle groups. One area that often gets overlooked is the chest. Whether you’re an athlete, a desk warrior, or someone in between, adding chest stretches into your routine can significantly enhance your mobility and well-being. Here are a few stretches for your chest that I’ve found to help me stay in tip top shape.
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9 Must-try stretches for your chest.
Finding stretches and a routine that suits you best is the only way to make sure that you stay on track and keep your body and muscles healthy. These stretches are great to fit into your routine at any time of the day and I’m sure you’ll love them too. Make sure you own a good quality yoga mat to make sure none of the stretches hurt when you do them on the floor.
1. Chest opener.
As you draw your shoulder blades together, you’ll feel a delightful stretch across the chest and the front of the shoulders. The main muscles targeted in this stretch include the pectoralis major and minor, as well as the anterior deltoids.
To do a chest opener, stand with your feet hip-width apart, interlock your fingers behind your back, and gently lift your arms, opening your chest to the sky. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
2. Cat-Cow stretch.
I love doing this stretch when I wake up in the morning. As you move between the arching “cow” and rounding “cat” positions, the muscles targeted include the chest, shoulders, and upper back. The cat-cow stretch allows for a gentle release of tension in these areas and also encourages an increased range of motion in the chest.
To do the cat-cow stretch, start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale as you arch your back, dropping your belly and lifting your head (cow position), then exhale as you round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest (cat position). Repeat this flow for 1-2 minutes.
3. Cobra pose.
As you arch your back, lifting your upper body while keeping your pelvis grounded, the cobra pose stretches and strengthens important muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, and the muscles along the spine. This deep stretch opens up the chest and improves posture and respiratory function.
Regular practice of the cobra pose can alleviate tension in the chest and enhance flexibility, making it a great addition to any chest stretching routine.
To do the cobra pose, lie on your stomach with your palms beneath your shoulders, and gently lift your chest off the ground, engaging your back muscles. Keep your elbows slightly bent and look forward. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds.
4. Arm across chest.
This stretch targets the pectoral muscles, providing instant relief and improved flexibility. By bringing one arm across your chest and gently pulling it towards your body with the opposite hand, you engage the muscles in the chest and shoulders, releasing tension and enhancing range of motion. This stretch is great for when you spend long periods sitting or working at a desk too.
To do this stretch, bring your right arm across your chest, using your left hand to gently pull it towards your body. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
5. Thread the needle.
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