• Leanne

What are the Pecs?

Learn more about these major movers.


The pectoralis major muscle is a large muscle in the upper chest, fanning across the chest from the shoulder to the breastbone. The two pectoralis major muscles, commonly referred to as the "pecs," are the muscles that create the bulk of the chest. A developed pectoralis major is most evident in males, as the breasts of a female typically hide the pectoral muscles. A second pectoral muscle, the pectoralis minor, lies beneath the pectoralis major. The pectorals are predominantly used to control the movement of the arm, with the contractions of the pectoralis major pulling on the humerus to create lateral, vertical, or rotational motion. The pectorals also play a part in deep inhalation, pulling the rib cage to create room for the lungs to expand.

Pectoralis minor sits under pectoralis major as a secondary working muscle.

If you lift weights or swim, you're probably really familiar with your pectorals. But did you know they are worked when you get dressed in the morning, work in front of a computer all day, or spend time in your garden? They work as part of the team of muscles for reaching forward and up for overhead activities. They are activated when placing objects on a shelf, hanging clothes, washing your hair, getting dressed and driving. Lifting a child or an object from the ground also requires this action. Sometimes, you may notice pain or tension in your upper back instead of your pecs. This is often because the pecs are so "tight" they are pulling and overstretching your upper back muscles.


Do you spend a lot of time curled over a keyboard? Are you doing a lot of lifting (of weights or a kidlet)? Do you feel tension or pressure in your upper back? Schedule a massage and we can work on reducing the hypertonicity in these muscles and give you the relief you seek. This is especially important for swimmers, parents and anyone who games or computes for extended periods of time.


Additional Resources: Area, Anatomy & Function of the Pectoral Muscles - Video  Easy Pectoral Muscle Stretches (with pictures) 

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