Chest Stretches With Deep Tissue Massage Roller
The chest is composed of three main muscles: the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and the serratus anterior. The main function of these muscles is to perform pushing motions, however different angles will force greater activation from different parts of the chest. When performing a flat bench all parts of the chest are activated, with greater activation going to the pectorals major and pectoralis minor. During an incline bench the shoulders and upper part of the chest will attain greater muscle activation due to the angle of the weight in relationship to the body. For example when an offensive lineman in football is pass blocking he is utilizing a large part of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor while using his hands to ward off defenders. When a gymnast is performing a routine on the parallel bars the serratus anterior and pectoralis major will achieve a high level of activation while the gymnast is vertical to the parallel bars holding their weight before performing the routine.
The muscles of the chest also act as the antagonist, or counter muscle, while performing back or pulling exercises. During these pulling motions the chest works against the back muscles to help control the movement throughout the exercise. The chest also aids the shoulders and arms in performing movements.
The chest performs many functions during athletic competition or training. For this reason it is imperative that athletes perform chest stretches prior to performing physical activities. Using the Recovery Foam Roller to perform chest stretches allows the muscles of the chest to perform at a much higher level helping to avoid injuries to the chest, shoulders, and arms.
Chest Stretches With The Recovery Foam Roller
To perform a chest stretch with the Recovery Foam Roller athletes will begin by placing a Recovery Foam Roller on the ground and place their chest so the foam roller is lying vertical to the athletes chest. Athletes will perform chest stretches on one side of the chest at a time. Begin the chest stretch by tilting the body so the majority of the pressure from the foam roller is on the side of the chest the athlete is stretching.
Athletes will begin at the top of the chest rolling the front of the shoulders and the top part of the chest. Athletes will roll down the chest until a trigger point is discovered. At this point athletes will hold the Recovery Foam Roller on the trouble spot for 15 to 20 seconds, followed by 1 to 3 inch massaging rolls over the troubled area. Athletes will continue the chest stretch by releasing all trigger points on that side of the chest. Athletes will then continue the chest stretch on the opposite side of the body working from top to bottom to release all of the trigger points in the chest and the front of the shoulders.
While performing the chest stretches it is important that athletes tilt left and right to ensure the entire chest is properly stretched and prepared for physical activities.
Other Forms Of Chest Stretches
Using the Recovery Foam Roller for chest stretches is an excellent way to release tension in the chest and increase blood flow before physical activities are performed. There are several other forms of warm-ups and stretches which should also be performed to ensure the chest is properly prepared prior to athletic activities. These include static stretches, to increase the range of motion of the chest, and active or dynamic warm-ups, which will further increase blood flow to the chest and decrease injuries to the shoulders, elbows, and arms.
A good static stretch which can be performed on the chest requires a doorway or wall. To perform this static chest stretch athletes will fully extend their arm so a 90° angle is reached in the armpit. Athletes will then rotate their chest away from the doorway or wall to help lengthen the muscles of the chest and shoulder, increasing the range of motion. This chest stretch should be performed on both arms and should especially be performed if range of motion is limited in the chest or shoulders.
Active and dynamic warm-ups performed during chest stretches will allow for greater muscle activation to be achieved prior to physical exertion. This enhanced muscle activation is achieved as a result of active or dynamic warm-ups and will help to increase the force produced by the chest. These dynamic chest stretches are critical to athletes who must exert a large amount of force through their chest. Offensive or defensive lineman in football will greatly benefit from this form of chest stretch due to their constant use of the hands to move and defend opposing players. These chest stretches help basketball players whose main responsibility is to move opposing players to gain better body position for rebounding the basketball.
Static, dynamic, and stretches using the Recovery Foam Roller all prepare the body for physical activity in a different way. All three forms of the chest stretches should be performed to properly prepare the chest and shoulders for physical activity and to avoid injuries to the upper body.
Preparing the Body After Chest Stretches
Chest stretches and properly preparing the muscles of the chest are important for performing movements of the upper body, particularly pulling and pushing motions. Therefore, it is important that athletes use the Recovery Foam Roller, static, and dynamic stretches on other muscles in the upper body to ensure all muscles are operating properly prior to physical activity. If a muscle in the back or the shoulders is not functioning properly it will affect the movements of other upper body parts.
To learn how to perform stretches on the entire upper body, like the chest stretches, athletes should explore the Rejuvenating Stretching Sequence. By performing these additional upper body stretches athletes will be able to fully optimize athletic performance while avoiding costly injuries.