T Nation

Really Tight Pec Minor...

Hey all.
My pec minor is and always have been very tight. I recently suffered a shoulder injury (torn labrum) and their effect on my scapula positioning is much more noticeable now (impingment type pain).

I recently read that that the pec minor is heavily involved in all downward pushing movements; like hoisting yourself out of a pool. I never really got why my pec minor was so tight then upon reading this it clicked. My sport (mountain biking; jumping the bike specifically)) involves me pretty much always holding myself up in such a manner.

I have 2 questions:
How can i relax this muscle? I do some trigger point work that i learned at PT but alot of the stretches i did prior (up against the wall and pulling my scap back ala a Robertson article or the doorway pec stretch) seem to not be as effective after the torn labrum. It feels like they are just stretching out the shoulder capsule which cannot be good (especially now).

Secondly, if the pec minor is activated in downward pressing movements, will doing variations of vertical presses-something i have always neglected-(along with stretching of the PM)help out my situation?
Thanks

When I had to do physio for my shoulder issues they recommended long hold static stretching of the pecs [30+seconds] during variations of the doorway stretch. I was getting ART as well to try and relax the muscle.

For exercises they recommended to increase the strength of my upper back; mainly the rhomboids. Reverse Flys were highly recommended.

Hope that helps

As a mountain biker myself, I’m not 100% on your assessment of the cause of the problem. Assuming you’re not sitting bolt upright on your bike (which would make dirt jumps bloody hard work in itself!) then it’s your anterior delts and triceps that do most of the supporting/stabilising work on the bike.

After some long runs here in Whistler this week I can confirm that it’s my triceps that are feeling the burn more than anything else.

That said, good posture helps just as much on the bike as it does in everyday life. Balanced, stable shoulders allow all the muscles to work properly, and I’ve found face pulls and scap push-ups to be an excellent exercise in this respect.

Try an active isolated technique, these will place less stress on the joint capsule and work more with the GTO and reciprocal inhibition.

-lay down on your side with your knees together at a 90 degree angle (lets say right side).

-Place your left hand on your left knee. Imagine there is a line going from your left knee to your left shoulder. Then lift your left hand over your head and behind you following that line, contracting the back muscles and hold for 2 full seconds. Bring hand back to left knee and repeat 10-15 times. This will be one set, do 2-3 sets at a times.

It’s important that you don’t just bring the arm back, but up and back, opposite of what the pec minor does.

I would do the trigger point work first and then this technique.

[quote]Spit wrote:
As a mountain biker myself, I’m not 100% on your assessment of the cause of the problem. Assuming you’re not sitting bolt upright on your bike (which would make dirt jumps bloody hard work in itself!) then it’s your anterior delts and triceps that do most of the supporting/stabilising work on the bike.

After some long runs here in Whistler this week I can confirm that it’s my triceps that are feeling the burn more than anything else.

That said, good posture helps just as much on the bike as it does in everyday life. Balanced, stable shoulders allow all the muscles to work properly, and I’ve found face pulls and scap push-ups to be an excellent exercise in this respect. [/quote]

I understand what you mean. I was thinking of it more in relation to my normal cruise around posture on the the bike versus the “attack” position you would have doing DH runs or hitting jumps.

Since my bike is very short (top tube) and at 6’2’’ i am not sitting and pedaling so my posture when riding around is quite upright and looks/feels similar to “hoisting” myself up but more of a static hold. Thanks for the input.
I am jealous about Whistler; i hit BC about two years ago for a 9 day trip.

Was going to hit Kamloops, Golden, and Whistler but wrecked the second day on Mt. fromme and basically put a hole in my elbow. Next time!

[quote]chriscarani wrote:
Try an active isolated technique, these will place less stress on the joint capsule and work more with the GTO and reciprocal inhibition.

-lay down on your side with your knees together at a 90 degree angle (lets say right side).

-Place your left hand on your left knee. Imagine there is a line going from your left knee to your left shoulder. Then lift your left hand over your head and behind you following that line, contracting the back muscles and hold for 2 full seconds. Bring hand back to left knee and repeat 10-15 times. This will be one set, do 2-3 sets at a times.

It’s important that you don’t just bring the arm back, but up and back, opposite of what the pec minor does.

I would do the trigger point work first and then this technique.
[/quote]

Wow, thanks. Just one question: When you mention bringing the arm up AND back…Once my arm is reaching overhead i then contract the back muscles THEN pull behind this line or am doing that for the whole ROM.
Also, what is GTO?

Thanks a bunch
cs

[quote]cskolnick wrote:
chriscarani wrote:
Try an active isolated technique, these will place less stress on the joint capsule and work more with the GTO and reciprocal inhibition.

-lay down on your side with your knees together at a 90 degree angle (lets say right side).

-Place your left hand on your left knee. Imagine there is a line going from your left knee to your left shoulder. Then lift your left hand over your head and behind you following that line, contracting the back muscles and hold for 2 full seconds. Bring hand back to left knee and repeat 10-15 times. This will be one set, do 2-3 sets at a times.

It’s important that you don’t just bring the arm back, but up and back, opposite of what the pec minor does.

I would do the trigger point work first and then this technique.

Wow, thanks. Just one question: When you mention bringing the arm up AND back…Once my arm is reaching overhead i then contract the back muscles THEN pull behind this line or am doing that for the whole ROM.
Also, what is GTO?

Thanks a bunch
cs

[/quote]

No problem man. Well since you are lying on your side you will naturally have to contract the Pec min/maj antagonist to lift the arm off the knee. So you start contracting as soon as you start the movement and make it one fluid motion, back and up. Try it just back first and you will see the difference.

GTO is short for Golgi tendon organ, simply put, these are sensors located at the tendon of a muscle that monitor and control the length of a muscle. Reciprocal inhibition is a principle that states when a muscle is contracting the antagonist relaxes.

This means repeating a stretch along with contracting one side of a joint when stretching it’s other side, results in less effort and stress on the muscle and greater lengthening of it.

This type of stretching is usually better for muscles with trigger points too. There is less chance of reactivation of latent TrPs and irritation of active ones.