A Consistent Chest Stretch to Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion

Chest Stretch

Performing a thorough chest stretch on a daily basis will greatly benefit your workout regimen. The chest is a major muscle group, and its wellness affects your entire upper body.

The chest is composed of 2 muscles:

  • Pectoralis major
  • Pectoralis minor

The majority of the chest muscle is made up of the pectoralis major, also known as your “pecs” – a key muscle group in building a lean, muscular physique.

Chest Pecs

A good stretching routine does not take long, and it should be central to any overall stretching and workout routine.

Table of Contents

Main Takeaways

  • Never static stretch cold muscles - always do a dynamic stretching warm-up first.

  • Chest stretches can be done without equipment.

  • Chest stretches improve blood circulation, promote better posture, improve flexibility, and reduce soreness.

Muscles Stretched

Primary Muscles Stretched 🙆‍♂️

  • Chest (Pecs)

Secondary Muscles Stretched 🙆‍♂️

  • Lats
  • Shoulder

Routines for Stretching your Chest Muscles

Keep these stretching basics in mind as you perform these routines:

  • Never stretch cold muscles – light cardio warm-up first
  • Always maintain good posture
  • Proper breathing – in thru the nose, out thru the mouth
  • Smooth, flowing motions – never jerky or sudden
  • Hold stretch to the point of slight discomfort, never pain

Chest Stretches

First, do some very light cardio and some dynamic stretches to prepare and warm your muscles for stretching (never stretch cold muscles).

Double Arm Stretch for Chest

Double Arm Chest Stretch
  1. Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Lift arms to your side to should height with your palms forward
  3. Push arms back until you feel the stretch in your chest and hold stretch for 10-30 seconds
  4. Recover

Double Arm Stretch Chest with Arms Behind Back

Chest Stretch Arms Behind Back

  1. Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Lift arms to your side to your rear, and interlock your fingers with your palms facing each other.
  3. Push arms back and ups until you feel the stretch in your chest, and hold stretch for 10-30 seconds
  4. Recover

Stretch using Anchor (wall, pole, etc)

Chest Stretch Using Wall

  1. Stand 2-3 feet from your anchor point (wall, pole), with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Lift 1 arm to the anchor point at shoulder height, making contact with the palm of your hand
  3. Push your arm straight back until you feel mild discomfort – hold 10-30 seconds
  4. Recover and alternate arms until both sides are stretched
  5. Now move your hand higher up the anchor point until your arm is at a 45˚ angle
  6. Push your arm straight back until you feel mild discomfort – hold 10-30 seconds
  7. Recover and alternate arms until both sides are stretched

Doorway Stretch for Chest

Doorway Chest Stretch

  1. Stand approximately 6″ facing away from a doorway, with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Grab the doorway behind you at a low angle (as shown)
  3. Slowly extend your midsection away from the door to feel the stretch in your chest  (You will feel a secondary stretch in your biceps)
  4. Hold stretch for 10-30 seconds
  5. Recover

Elbow Stretch With Arms Above Head for Chest

Arms Above Head Chest Stretch

  1. Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Lock fingers with your arms behind and above your head
  3. Slowly push your elbows back until you feel stretch in your chest
  4. Hold for 10-20 seconds
  5. Recover

Corner Stretch for Chest

Corner Chest Stretch

  1. Stand facing the corner of a room
  2. Place your hands above you on the wall several feet from the corner
  3. Lean into the wall until you feel the chest stretch
  4. Hold 10-30 seconds
  5. Recover

Kneeling Chest Stretch

Kneeling Chest Stretch

  1. From a kneeling position, stretch your arms forward to a bench or table.
  2. Slowly move your body to the rear while maintaining the position of your hands and arms on the table.
  3. Continue the backwards movement until you feel the stretch and tension in your chest.
  4. Hold 10-30 seconds
  5. Recover

Reverse Chest Stretch

Reverse Chest Stretch

  1. From a squatting position as shown with your knees and elbows bent, position your hands on a table or bench.
  2. With a firm grip on the table or bench, slowly lower your body until you feel a good stretch in your chest and biceps.
  3. Hold 10-30 seconds
  4. Recover

Benefits of Chest Stretching

There are many benefits to performing a consistent chest stretch:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves range of motion which will improve your workouts and chest exercises, as you will have the ability to extend further in the extension position (1)
  • Improve posture
  • Better circulation to help recover from your workout
  • Reduce soreness if your muscles are tight (2)
  • Increase strength as your chest workouts will be more effective with improved range of motion
  • Reduce the risk of muscle strain or injury during your workout routines, as your muscles will be more pliable and supple, and ready to take the load

Final Thoughts on Properly Stretching Your Chest

Chest StretchesRemember to only stretch warm muscles. Always keep the stretch slow and controlled, never jerky or sudden.

If you are new to stretching routines, start very slowly and do not push the stretch. Ease into the routine, and build on it each day.

You do not need to perform every stretch shown above to achieve an effective stretch – choose your favorite 2 or 3 that work for you.

Click to return to more stretching routines.

David Williams

David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Range of motion. Physiopedia. (n.d.).
  2. Sarnataro, B. R. (n.d.). Coping with sore muscles after physical activity. WebMD.

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