While the pectorals, or muscles of the chest, are some of the most used muscles in the body, they are often neglected when stretching and during massage. While very few people actually complain about sore, tired pecs, often upper back and neck pain is caused by tight pectoral muscles. Even if the pectorals do not seem taught and tense, pectoral massage should be part of every sport’s massage.
Begin your sport’s massage by warming up the pectorals. With your client face up on the massage table, stand just above his head. With your fingers facing towards his toes, place the heels of your hands just below each clavicle, or the collarbones. Push down with your right, then left hand, palming the muscle like kneading dough.
Massage the pectorals by engaging the muscle belly itself, a common technique in sport’s massage. Stand on one side of your client and bring her arm up perpendicular to her body. Hold her wrist with one hand and support her arm just above the elbow with the other hand.
Support the arm and ask your client to push down into your hands, only engaging about 20 percent of their strength and pushing only with the upper arm. This move forces the pectorals to work against resistance and releases tension deep in the muscle belly. Repeat twice more, asking the client to work at 40 percent then at 60 percent.
Work a bit deeper for those with tight pecs by holding the client’s arm only at the elbow with your outer hand and placing the heel of your palm near the clavicle with your fingers pointing up towards your client’s shoulder. Push into the muscle belly as the client engages the muscle. If the client finds this a bit awkward, they may find it helpful to lift the forearm and rest it against your arm.
Repeat on the opposite side and end the pectoral sport’s massage by again standing at the client’s head and kneading the muscles.