I’ve seen so many people overuse the bench press and neglect to stretch their chest. I did it myself! Until my chest gains came to a complete halt and I wondered why.
Flexibility and strength are 2 sides of the same coin and to improve the chest as a whole, you have to work on both. If you just keep working your chest with no aim towards flexibility, your chest will continue getting stronger but it will also get proportionately tighter, shrinking its range of motion so much that it can’t be effectively overloaded, which will stop your progress. In addition, a small range of motion is the number one cause of injury and leads to multiple potential imbalances in supporting muscles.
Here’s a really simple foam roller technique that revolutionized my chest gains, I hope it does the same for you!
Align your tailbone, spine and head on the foam roll. keep your chest/sternum high and don’t allow it to sink/hunch. Keep breathing as deep as you can, especially when it’s tough to do so. In this video I start with my hands behind my head until my elbows reach the floor. Then I move to elbows at 90 degrees, then to various outstretched arm positions, occasionally pinching my chest for more of a release (yes, i told you to grab your tits, I won’t judge you). Consciously relax your chest; this is the most important part! these are YOUR muscles, and they will listen to you if you learn to control them, so look to FEEL every bit of your chest lengthening. It takes a lot of focus, but the more you focus on it the stronger the mind/muscle connection will become.
For first timers, start with 30 seconds and improve as you feel safe. When dismounting, carefully slide off to the side and mobilize yourself a bit before jumping back up. Try it out today and see how good it feels!