How often do you perform chest stretches? While many people do some flexibility work as part of their workout, chest stretches often get ignored.
This is actually an area that needs regular flexibility work. Chest stretches are important because of the huge combination of muscles that combine in this area.
In addition to the pectoral muscles, this is also the anchor point for the biceps, and the muscles of the shoulders. Regularly stretching this area will help all these areas stay flexible.
It can also help with good posture, as tightness in this area can pull the shoulders forward, leading to an unattractive round shouldered look.
The good news is that it's easy to keep this area flexible. The best stretch is performed against a doorway, or any convenient piece of gym equipment.
Standing with feet shoulder width apart, hold your arm out straight to the side, parallel to the floor, and place the fingers of the left hand against the doorway/equipment.
Gently turn the body to the left - you should feel this in the front of the shoulder, where the pectorals meet the shoulder muscles. Turn until you feel a tightness, then hold for thirty seconds. Relax, and repeat with the other arm.
Alternatively, try this easy one - you can even do it sitting at your desk at work!
Bend your arms and place your hands behind your neck. Clasp your fingers and draw your elbows back as far as they will go. Hold for thirty seconds, then relax. Be sure to keep your neck relaxed while you do this, and don't push against your head/neck.