Pec Minor Stretch for Improving Your Posture

Experts say those of us sitting at our desk for long periods of time should take mini-breaks to save our hands and back. This particular chest stretch gets a really important posture muscle called the pectoralis minor.

In fact, a 2006 study published in the Journal of Elbow and Shoulder Surgery found the way of stretching the pectoralis minor muscle you'll learn in this article resulted in more muscle lengthening (which is what you want to achieve in order to achieve good upper body posture and the benefits that go with it) than two types of manual stretching (generally given by physical and/or massage therapists).

A tight pectoralis minor muscle is implicated in a very common (especially among office workers) posture condition called kyphosis. You may be more familiar with kyphosis by its slang phrase "hunch back."

Either way, when the pec minor muscle gets tight, it pulls the front of the shoulders forward, which in turn either rounds your back into a kyphosis or increases the rounding that's already there. So, one way you can address a "hunch back" is to stretch this all-important muscle.


Start Position

A woman stands in the yoga tadasna or mountain pose.

fizkes / Deposit Photos

  1. Stand facing a corner with a relaxed, upright posture. Place your feet so they are parallel with one another, and bend your knees slightly. This should help you stay as relaxed as possible during the movement, and protect your joints, as well.
  2. Keep your gaze forward, and your chin slightly tucked toward your neck (but don't jam the chin down).
  3. Inhale, then exhale and gently pull your stomach toward your spine.

Corner Pec Stretch

A line drawing of a man stretching at a corner, plus text tips.

A corner pec stretch is much like a push-up at the wall, except that the emphasis is placed on staying in the position that causes your chest muscles to lengthen. Here are the basic moves.

  1. Place your forearms and palms over the seam of the wall, where two walls are coming together to connect in a right angle.
  2. Inhale.
  3. Exhale, and pulling your lower abdominal muscles into your spine, lean toward the wall. You only need to go to the point where it feels challenging but causes no pain or discomfort. It's more important to move your whole body as a unit, and not bend anywhere along the chain.
  4. Hold the position for between 5-30 seconds, then come back to start.

Safety and Effectiveness Tweaks

You should definitely feel the stretch in your upper chest area, but don't overdo it. Control the level of challenge by altering your distance from the wall. You can experiment until you find a distance that allows you to maintain an upright, relaxed posture, but still challenges your abs in getting you there as one spinal unit.

When you do this exercise, you will benefit from monitoring the posture of your entire body as you go. This is especially true of the hips. The hips should remain straight — they should not flex or bend to help you accomplish the movement. If you need help, just walk your feet in toward the wall a little, instead.

By the way, another great muscle to stretch is the quadriceps. Tight quads get in the way of good posture. There are a few ways a beginner or ultra-tight person can go about this. Choose one and go with it.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Borstad JD, Ludewig PM. Comparison of three stretches for the pectoralis minor muscle. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2006;15(3):324-30. doi:10.1016/j.jse.2005.08.011

  2. Yaman O, Dalbayrak S. Kyphosis and review of the literature. Turk Neurosurg. 2014;24(4):455-65. doi:10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.8940-13.0

  3. Williams JG, Laudner KG, McLoda T. The acute effects of two passive stretch maneuvers on pectoralis minor length and scapular kinematics among collegiate swimmersInt J Sports Phys Ther. 2013;8(1):25–33.

  4. Kim D, Cho M, Park Y, Yang Y. Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal painJ Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(6):1791–1794. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1791

Additional Reading
  • Moffat, Marilyn, P.T. Ph.D. and Vickery, Steve. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. Owl Books. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York, New York, 1999. Stretch and Reach p.236

By Anne Asher, CPT
Anne Asher, ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, and orthopedic exercise specialist, is a back and neck pain expert.