Common muscle imbalance – pec minor dominates lower traps
Pec minor is a muscle that sits on the anterior wall of the chest and affects the movement of the scapula (shoulder blade). Tightness in the pec minor will lead to anterior tilting and downward rotation of the scapula and prevent full upward rotation, elevation and posterior tilting of the scapula which is required for full shoulder elevation.
Tightness in pec minor can therefore, contribute to shoulder injuries such as shoulder impingement, rotator cuff pathologies, glenohumeral instability, internal impingement, adhesive capsulitis, to name a few.
Due to the adverse effect pec minor can have on the scapula function and upper limb mechanics, it is important to try to overcome pec minor tightness with stretches and soft tissue release techniques of pec minor to try lengthen the muscle and reduce the tone. This then needs to be followed by strengthening the lower trapezius, initially in isolation so can master the activation of this muscle group and then integrate into functional movement and strengthening.
Identifying this common muscle imbalance is key for treatment of certain shoulder injuries, and also for injury prevention!