In part 1, Better Posture & Breathing With This One Simple Exercise (Pectoralis Minor) we looked at the location and function of the pectoralis minor and how if the muscle is ‘dysfunctional’ it can inhibit posture, breathing and spine alignment.
Now assuming that you’ve done the anti spasm technique for the pectoralis minor (if your pectoralis minor was in spasm in the first place), the next stage to further compliment the anti spasm and return the pectoralis minor back to function is we need to work the retractors of the shoulder girdle (the mid trapezius and rhomboids). If you’ve not done the anti spasm yet I HIGHLY recommend you do so before continuing….
Strengthening the antagonists to the pectoralis minor
If the pectoralis minor is in a ‘shortened’ position then the mid trapezius and rhomboid muscles (minor and major) will be holding onto the scapula in an overly ‘lengthened position’. Once the pectoralis minor is functional, we are now in a better position (pun intended) to strengthen the antagonist to aid in functional shoulder alignment. Below is an exercise to strengthen the mid trapezius and rhomboid muscles (again make sure you’ve done the anti spasm exercise first).
Resistance band strength work
- Hold onto the resistance band with both hands, arms straight.
2. Keeping arms straight, retract your shoulders (bring shoulder blades together) – slowly allow your shoulders to go forward into protraction (shoulder blades go apart) – Repeat.
3. 10 reps x 3 sets.
Producing a long lasting change
You can’t produce a desired change in the body with a single input. There’s not ‘one’ exercise or therapeutic intervention that will influence the brain, joints, muscles and fascia in a way that results in a lasting positive change. Yes you can produce a short term change as the nervous system is easily influenced, but living a life with healthy, relaxed, strong and functional shoulders is an on going process. The good news is once you understand the processes that produces positive change then you become the master of your change. There is no ‘one’ exercise for shoulder alignment and there is no ‘one’ exercise for lower back pain. The human body is far too brilliant and complicated for such simplistic strategies. The patterns we build or don’t build in our body and mind come from our daily habits. Behaviour shapes the body and mind.
From an exercise perspective, an intelligent way to train and condition the pectoralis minor is to perform the anti spasm first for the pectoralis minor, then work the antagonist (the retractors), finish with strength and conditioning work for the pectoralis minor (isolated, symmetrical, asymmetrical and integrated work) to improve the neuromuscular feedback.
Thank you for reading 🙂
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