Proper warmups before an exercise routine go a long way towards preparing the body for working out by activating muscles. The pectoral (pec) muscles are a common target area for those interested in a bigger chest, stronger shoulders, and posture that is not hunched or rounded. Many people suffer from excessive tightness in the pectoral area which contributes to a closed-off chest. To combat this problem, be sure to do a pec stretch for bodyweight exercise to warm up.
Tightness is usually caused by sitting for long periods of time or looking down at a cell phone. Eventually, the body will start to tighten and close off as it gets used to hunching over.
Tight pectorals can contribute to mobility limitations with the shoulders and chest, which can increase the risk for an injury.
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By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
Stretch Smart to Reverse the Effects of Rounded Shoulders and “Text Neck”
Carrying out bodyweight exercises, like pushups, pullups, and dips, are great tools to exercise the pecs and surrounding muscles. Bodyweight exercises also carry a smaller injury risk because many of them mimic more natural movements that encourage flexibility.
When it comes to the pecs, it’s important to stay away from just static stretching. A strong pec stretch routine includes massaging the muscles and tissue, followed by active stretching for reps. This helps release tension and stress in the area.
Pec Stretch in a Doorway: An Effective Technique for Flexibility
Stretching the pecs with the help of a doorway is a safe and sound method for getting the muscles warmed up before a bodyweight workout. Stretching in a doorway is simple, and includes:
- Resting the palms on the doorframe while keeping the arms at a 90-degree angle. You should be standing up straight while inside the doorway.
- Step forward with one foot to feel the stretch in the chest. An active stretching process would include multiple repetitions of stretching, followed by relaxation by bringing the foot back. Be sure to not lean forward during stretching to ensure the body receives maximum benefit.
Pec Stretch On A Foam Roller: Iron Out Stress and Tension
The foam roller is an effective tool to massage the body and stretch your pecs before bodyweight exercise. Many foam rollers can be purchased for a low price. Just a few minutes with a roller can relieve large amounts of stress, worry, and tension. Stretch your pecs with a foam roller by following the below steps:
- Lie down on the roller. Keep your feet flat and arms stretched out to the side.
- Open up your arms to feel the stretch in the chest. Some choose to make large circles with the arms for a fuller stretch. Be sure to not force a large rotation if it feels uncomfortable.
What Types of Foam Rollers are Most Effective For Different Pec Stretch Techniques?
There’s a variety of foam rollers on the market. The product is a pretty simple exercise tool, but some companies make bold claims about rollers that offer additional features and functionality for the body.
Here at 1AND1, we’ve expressed interest in vibrating foam rollers, since vibrations increase circulation. Better circulation aids in muscle warm-up before exercise and even helps with post-workout muscle relaxation. So a vibrating foam roller seems like a natural choice for pec stretching before bodyweight exercise.
Based on our research, a vibrating foam roller that incorporates multiple vibration frequencies and a multi-density GRID surface is the best option for people interested in targeted muscle relaxation and relief. However, if you want to try something different, you can give the Pso-Rite full-body massager a try, too.
Take Bodyweight Workouts to the Next Level With Hero WODs
While bodyweight workouts are a great way to get in shape, routines of pushups or pullups can get monotonous. A unique way to take advantage of all bodyweight workouts have to offer? A Hero WOD (workout of the day).
Made popular by the CrossFit community, hero WODs are tributes to fallen first responders or military members. The idea behind a hero WOD is to honor the fallen and engage in a unique and intense workout.
Many people enjoy hero WODs because they get to learn a little bit about someone’s story and why the workout contains the exercises it does.
A popular hero WOD is the ‘Murph’, named after U.S. Navy SEAL Michael Murphy. The Murph incorporates a weighted vest into several exercises:
- 1-mile run
- 100 pull-ups
- 200 push-ups
- 300 air squats
- 1-mile run
Hero WODs do not have to be complicated. Some of the most popular ones, like the Murph, are able to be carried out without any equipment. Intense combinations of bodyweight exercises equate to great exercise that can be a welcome routine change from traditional weightlifting.
Even if you are more comfortable working out at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the benefits a gym offers. More people are turning to virtual training for physical exercise like boxing, in order to maintain access to professional training and instruction while at home.
The versatility and adaptability of bodyweight training make it easy to combine workouts with other exercise methods.
Supercharge Your Workouts with a Six-Week Challenge
Getting solid fitness results comes through hard work. Another great way to reap the benefits of bodyweight exercises is to tackle a six-week challenge. It might seem a bit crazy that change can be seen in a few weeks, but many take the challenge (especially in the CrossFit world) and come out transformed.
A typical six-week challenge will incorporate daily exercise, mentoring when it comes to eating properly, and a concrete fitness plan for each day. There’s a number of online resources for those interested in a challenge without the help of a gym or coach. The most important thing is to just get started.
Proper Pec Stretches = Proper Performance During a Workout
Don’t skip out on your pre-workout preparation. Stretching helps get the muscles ready for exercise, which can equate to a better workout.
Stretching the pec muscles before bodyweight exercise is important to relieve stress and tension across the shoulders and chest area. The process doesn’t have to be complex.
The use of a foam roller or stretching in a doorway for just a few minutes can lead to a drastically different workout. Be sure to properly cool down to help the muscles relax after exercise.
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