How to Stretch Your Chest for Pain Relief and Tight Shoulders

Looking to know how to stretch your chest? Here are 8 easy stretches that you can do just about anywhere. They’ll help you relieve tightness and stiffness from stress or sitting in front of your screen all day.

Tight chest muscles bring your shoulders forward. This causes bad posture.

In addition, it also limits the range of motion of your arms and chest. This not only makes it harder to move, but it also makes your shoulders prone to easily getting injured.

Unfortunately, because of all the time we spend in front of our devices, most of us suffer from tight pectoral muscles.

To help counter its effects, here are the best chest stretches for better pec flexibility. They’re great for relieving sternum pain, shoulder tightness, and upper back fatigue.

How to Stretch Your Chest: Best Chest Stretches

1. Doorway Chest Stretch

This is the simplest of all chest stretches. All you need is a doorway or a wall.

In this exercise, you’ll be putting your forearm against the doorway to give your shoulder and chest a good stretch. It opens up your pec region while you relax.

Note that you can do this stretch with one or two arms at a time. Using both arms allows for a simultaneous stretch on both sides of the chest.

How to Do the Doorway Pec Stretch

  • Stand in the middle of a doorway.
  • Raise your right arm so that your elbow is slightly higher than your chest. Rest the inside of your forearm on the door frame.
  • Turn your head slowly to the left. Facing the side opposite your raised arm intensifies the stretch in the chest, shoulder and upper trapezius areas.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Do the same for the other side.

2. Corner Pec Stretch

This is another chest stretch that you can do anywhere. All you need is a room. It will help open up your pecs as well as give your shoulders and biceps a good stretch.

How to Do the Corner Pec Stretch

  • Go to the corner of the room. Position yourself so that you’re standing straight and looking right into the crease of the corner.
  • Take a staggered stance, so one leg is in front of the other.
  • Bring both your arms up on your sides and rest your forearms on the walls.
  • Gently lean forward to give your pectoral muscles a good stretch.
  • The farther you lean forward, the deeper the stretch will be.
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds.

3. Lying Chest Opener

This is probably the most relaxing of all the stretches on our list. You not only get your entire front side stretched out but also get to lie down doing so.

How to Do the Lying Chest Opener

  • Place a foam roller or roll up a blanket on the floor. You can also use a narrow bench for this movement.
  • Lie vertically on the foam roller so that your spine is in line the foam roller.
  • Bend both knees, so they point to the ceiling. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
  • Extend both arms out to your sides at chest high.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

You can also extend your arms to your sides above or below your chest. You’ll notice that as you move your arms up and down, it also changes the region of the chest that’s begin stretched.

4. Side Lying Chest Opener

This drill is excellent for anyone who is tight all over. It not only stretches your chest but also provides some thoracic spine rotation. The latter will help relieve any stress or pain in that area.

How to Perform the Side Lying Chest Opener

  • Lie on your right side so that your hips are perpendicular to the ground.
  • Extend both arms chest high while bending your left (top) leg at the knee forward.
  • From the previous position, move the top arm over to the left side. Do this by rotating your thoracic spine (upper back).
  • Resist the temptation to rotate at the waist or hips. Doing makes your trunk do the turning.
  • This reduces the stretch on your chest and shoulder area.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Return your left arm to your right side.
  • Turn over and do the same procedure on the other side.

5. Seated Chest Opener

This seated stretch does the complete opposite of what our regular sitting posture does. As a result, it helps counter the bad hunchback and forward head posture that sitting all day does.

We love this movement because you can do this on your desk now and then. All you need is a straight object to put your arms over.

How to Do the Seated Chest Opener

  • Get a blanket or broomstick.
  • Sit on a chair and place the blanket over the top of the chair.
  • Pull your arms back so that your underarms are right over the blanket. This posture brings both your elbows and hands behind the chair. It also expands your chest up and out.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

6. Standing Pec Stretch

If you don’t like having to use chairs or walls to stretch your pecs, here’s a good one that uses your arms as leverage.

Essentially, by bringing your arms behind you, you’ll be able to expand your chest giving it a nice relaxing stretch.

How to Perform the Standing Pec Stretch

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Bring both arms behind you and interlace your fingers.
  • Pull your shoulder blades together to get a deeper stretch.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  • To get more of a stretch, slowly bend forward at the waist. The farther you bend forward, the more you’ll feel your chest stretching.
  • Be sure to keep your spine straight throughout the movement.

7. Prisoner Stretch

This movement can be done on your own or with the help of a partner. You’ll get much deeper and controlled stretch with someone’s help.

The video below shows this stretch with a partner. But, as mentioned you can easily do it on your own.

How to Perform the Prisoner Stretch

  • Sit on the floor or a chair.
  • Bring your hands to your head and clasp your fingers together.
  • If you’re doing this solo, pull your elbows back to increase the stretch.
  • If you have a partner, have them slowly and gently pull your elbows backward.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

8. Open Arms Chest Stretch

You can do this stretch seated or standing. All you need are your hands, nothing else. This is probably the simplest stretch of all. Yet, it’s very effective.

As with the others on the list, it helps to stretch and relax the chest and shoulder muscles.

How to Do the Open Arms Stretch

  • Sit on a chair.
  • Bring your arms up to chest level. Extend them in front of you.
  • Slowly move both arms outward to your sides.
  • The farther back you bring your arms behind your body, the deeper the stretch you’ll feel.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.