The pectoralis minor are, triangular muscles that sit above the rib cage and below the pectoralis major, the largest muscles in your chest. When exercising the chest, most men focus on the pectoralis major, primarily because having large, toned pecs enhances a man's appearance. However, if you want to maximize your chest's strength while improving your posture and the mobility of your shoulders, it is essential to regularly perform exercises that work the pectoralis minor.
Chest dips work various muscles in the chest, including the pectoralis minor. Chest dips use your body's weight as resistance, and each muscle group this exercise works activates the moment you get into the starting position. To perform this exercise, grab the handles of a dip machine, making sure that your knees are bent to a 90-degree angle and your lower legs are overlapping. Lean your torso forward slightly, and lower your body until your upper arms and the ground are parallel. At this point, you'll feel a slight stretch in your chest, which is your queue to slowly raise your body until you are back in the starting position. Perform eight to 10 sets of 12 repetitions at least twice weekly to strengthen your pectoralis minor.
Pec Deck Fly
The pec deck fly, also known as the butterfly, isolates the pectoral muscles, fully engaging the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. Sitting upright on the bench of a pec deck machine, grab the machine's handles, making sure that your elbows are bent slightly and your arms are parallel to the floor. Position your legs so that your knees are slightly wider than your hips. Exhale while pushing the handles together until your hands meet. Hold this position for one second, and inhale as you return to the starting position. Use 20 to 25 pounds of weight when doing this exercise if you are just starting out, and increase the amount of weight you use as your strength increases. Perform three or four 12-repetition sets of this exercise twice weekly to build your pectoral muscles.
Pushups develop and strengthen various muscles in your chest, arms, and shoulders, including the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. You can do pushups anywhere at any time without using equipment, and you can modify this exercise to isolate a specific muscle groups. To place greater emphasis on the pectoralis minor, get into a plank position, and make sure that your hands are at least three feet apart. Placing your hands closer together puts less emphasis on your chest muscles and more emphasis on the muscles in your arms. Inhale as you lower your chest until it almost reaches the floor, and exhale as you raise your body back into the starting position. Do three 15-repetition sets of pushups every other day to strengthen your pectoralis minor and to build your chest muscles.
Shoulder Girdle Stretch
The shoulder girdle stretch loosens the pectoralis minor and pectoralis major, which helps to minimize shoulder pain and chest discomfort. Stand upright with your back and arms against a wall. Slightly bend your hips and knees, and place your feet approximately five inches in front of the wall. Bend your arms to a 90-degree angle with your palms facing forward and your hands parallel to your head. Keeping your back, arms, and hands against the wall, lift your hands as far as they can reach, and then slowly lower them back into the starting position. Do 20 repetitions of this exercise daily to keep your pectoral muscles loose and limber.