Ultimate Chest and Deltoid Release for Maximum Upper Body Freedom – Get Your Shoulders Back & Down!

I can hardly contain my excitement about this one!!!

Some of the techniques I’ve come up with here at Mobility Mastery can mimic what I do with my private clients to very satisfying degrees, but I’ve spent years wondering how on earth I can give you all out there the chance to experience the kind of lasting upper body relief that a proper chest release can bring – like the kind I’m able to offer my in-person clients. I finally cracked the code on this a few weeks ago!

That’s the good news.

The “bad” news is you’re going to need a very specific medicine ball to get the most out of this one. Something like this 4lb no-bounce ball would work: click here for a link to Amazon (I have no affiliation with this or the following company). For another option – click here.

PLEASE NOTE: a baseball, lacrosse ball, softball, larger medicine ball or just about anything NOT what I demo in the video or link to above will NOT give you the best result, may cause bruising and soreness and I do not really recommend using any of these other balls for these reasons.

Why release your chest?

I would argue that everyone (at least in the western world) needs this one! We’re all slumped over desks and phones these days, and if you’re in another category of work like a farmer or factory worker then you’re definitely going to have tight fascia here too.

As you can see from the photo there are a lot of converging muscles, nerves and fascia here. The fascia of pec major can get stuck to the fascia of pec minor along with the front deltoid, leading to a “clogged” or stuck intersection, which can definitely lead to pain, less range of motion and shoulder joint issues.

The goal with this technique is to release that front fascia enough that the shoulders are freed to drop back and down where they’re supposed to be, which will relieve the neck and head as well as the arms and even your hips!

Use this technique to relieve or eliminate:

  • Shoulder pain – front, back or rotator cuff issues
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Forward head posture
  • Pelvic tilts due to shoulder imbalances
  • Pec minor adhesions or restriction
  • Shallow breathing due to chest tightness
  • Jaw and TMJ pain

In combination with other Mobility Mastery techniques can relieve or eliminate:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Elbow pain
  • Grip issues
  • Mid back pain
  • and more

How to perform this technique:

  • For the BEST results, please use a Mobility Mastery approved ball and a foam roller (preferably a soft foam roller, but if you want to simultaneously release your quad fascia then by all means go with a hard one 😛 )
  • Your thighs will be resting on the foam roller, and you can use your hip angle to put more or less weight into the ball to compress your chest fascia in whatever way works best for you. Keep in mind that the more weight/compression you can use the better your result will be, however – it will be more intense during the technique!
  • MOVE S L O W L Y !!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Slow movement helps you target the right spots, release fascia effectively and rushing through anything has a tendency to let your brain bypass the experience and not even register that something happened! In other words – if you move fast, you won’t get much benefit.
  • Go ahead and experiment with ball placement, arm movement, rotation, bending and reaching – there’s not “wrong” way to do this if it works for you! And every one of us has different anatomy, so what works for me might not work for you.
  • That said, most of you will get a good result with the bending reaching, especially arm moving “above” your head (on the ground), and if you have restriction in the front deltoid, definitely try the rotations!
  • Spend at least 3-4 minutes per side when you first learn this technique. After you master it you can spend less time. This one can often feel kind of good – and I’m not sure we can do “too much,” because it would simply feel like nothing if the fascia were healthy. So as long as it feels beneficial and you’re keen to get after it – go for it!
  • Remember to BREATHE!
  • Get up when you’re done with one side and move around – you’ll likely notice a significant difference left to right!

 

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How to Release Your Pec Minor Fascia – For Shoulder Pain & Shoulder Mobility Issues

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Pec minor – a small but very important muscle!

If you have shoulder issues of any kind – from shoulder pain, rotator cuff or shoulder mobility issues (including partially frozen shoulders or seriously forward rotated shoulders) then this technique should be at the top of your list for self-help techniques.

If you have breathing or rib issues this could be related as well.

Pec minor is actually somewhat difficult to get into. Pec major and the clavipectoral fascia sit on top of it, and when your arm is resting or hanging at your side you can’t get into it at all. In order to get at this triple headed small muscle and its fascia you’ll need to raise your arm and target a very specific spot for release. (I show you exactly how in the video).

To be clear, what we’re actually going after here is the fascial adhesion that can occur between pec minor and pec major (specifically the , the clavipectoral fascia and possibly coracobrachilais as well.

For such a small muscle, pec minor plays a critical role in shoulder joint, scapular/rotator cuff and rib health.

From the picture to the left you can see how (because of its attachment at the coracoid process of the scapula), if shortened or adhesed, pec minor can pull both the shoulder joint and the scapula into forward rotation, and/or elevate the ribs. Someone who, later in life, has a serious hunch or “wings” showing in the upper back – you can bet they have a very short, tight, adhesed pec minor (in addition to probably a lot of other fascial tightness in the front as well).

If you’re someone who has ribs “go out” a lot, I would instantly suspect ridiculously tight pec minor tissue. This would not be the thing itself that makes a rib go out, it just sets you up and makes it much more likely. This has been true of my clients who play lacrosse, train jiu jitsu or those who have experienced a traumatic fall or impact such as a car accident, falling onto a shoulder or their head while snowboarding etc.

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • You’ll need a lacrosse ball for this one. I do NOT recommend a tennis ball, softball, golf ball or really any other ball. This particular area is SO TRICKY to get into in a way that you can hold the position, so you’ll need the grip or stickiness of the lacrosse ball to make it work.
  • Spend however long you need to get the right spot! This technique will be almost useless (for its intended purpose anyway) if you don’t successfully find pec minor. It can be incredibly tricky to nail. Watch the video as many times as you need to get it right.
  • Look for (or FEEL for) a slight “THUMP” that would indicate an adhesion between pec minor and pec major.
  • MOVE SLOOOOOOOWLY. Slowly. Very very slowly.
  • Did I say move SLOWLY? Haha. If you move too fast on this one you’ll pop off of pec minor in half a second and not even know it.
  • There are probably only 2-3 spots MAX you can find and release here. Most people probably only have two spots worth doing.
  • Spend 20-30 seconds on each spot WHEN YOU GET IT RIGHT. If it takes 10 seconds at a time to find and re-find a good spot, that’s ok.
  • Move your arm after!
  • Notice what changed, if anything.
  • Obviously, if you have a serious impingement, mobility issue or pain present, this technique alone probably isn’t going to eliminate it. Use the search function on this website to find other techniques for your particular issue, or leave a comment with your questions.

 

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Pec and Front Deltoid Release for Relaxed Shoulders and Necks

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If you look down at your phone all day, work on a computer, have small children and carry them frequently, have forward head posture or forward rotated shoulders etc, then this is something you will want to include in a weekly fascial health routine.

You will need a lacrosse ball for these two techniques.

Release your pecs for more upper body freedom!

While we will certainly grab and stretch pec major in this technique, it is really THE FASCIA in and around pec minor that we want to target.

Pec minor attaches to the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs and draws the scapula forward and down, and elevates the ribs if the origin and insertion are reversed. 

The primary actions of this muscle include the stabilization, depression, abduction or protraction, upward tilt, and downward rotation of the scapula. When the ribs are immobilized, this muscle brings the scapula forward, and when the scapula is fixed, it lifts up the rib cage. (Excerpt from healthline.com)

As you can see it plays a huge role in shoulder mobility. When overly tight it contributes to forward head posture, forward rotated shoulders and the pain patterns that arise from this (which include neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches etc).

These techniques can help address:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Rotator cuff issues
  • Forward head posture
  • Forward rotated shoulders
  • Headaches, if they are tension related
  • Neck Pain
  • Whiplash
  • TMJ pain
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