Stretching for Pectus Excavatum
Correcting Posture is of fundamental importance for fixing Pectus Excavatum.
A kyphotic spine, rounded forward shoulders & anterior pelvic tilt is often a by product of Pectus Excavatum and these postural positions drastically accentuate the visual extent & prominence of the indented chest, the rib flare & the potbelly.
A rounded spine & shoulders make the indent appear deeper & more severe. In contrast perfect posture with a proud chest & shoulders rolled back will drastically lessen the visual extent of pectus (see image above).
Furthermore, anterior pelvic tilt will push out your belly making the pectus potbelly and rib flare appear worse than it is. By fixing this you will be able to reduce the prominence of the potbelly and the rib flare.
So how do we correct Posture?
- Train chest only and neglect back in the gym
- Sit and walk in a rounded hunched position
- Train your back
- Practise good posture as much as possible
- Perform postural exercises
I have created a daily stretching routine for pectus which is designed to fix the rounded shoulders, a kyphotic spine and anterior pelvic tilt.
This routine will loosen tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles which will pull you into postural alignment.
This combined with pectus specific workouts will enable you to fix your posture as my training regime is designed to strengthen weak muscles that contribute to the pectus posture. These are your abs, back & glutes.
You should aim to complete the stretching routine below daily. I’d recommend doing it first thing in the morning.
The following stretches are designed to combat the rounded shoulders associated with pectus.
Roudned shoulders is caused by tight chest muscles, which is a by product of pectus excavatum therefore these exercises are focused on loosening the chest.
Doorway Lunge Stretch
2 sets x 20 seconds in each position (there are 4 total positions with a high and low position for each hand)
Shoulder Dislocation Stretch
2 sets x 10reps.
2 sets x 10 slides. Aiming to keep your lower back, wrists, head and forearms all on the wall the whole time.
As long as necessary with a trigger ball or even your hands. You should feel this losening your chest. I'd recommend atleast a couple of minutes. A Theragun can also be effective to losen up tight muscle tissue in your chest.
Hold the position for 10-30 seconds x 2 sets
T-Spine Foam rolling & release
30 seconds-2 minutes of rolling & 3-6 inhalations in extended position.
The following stretches are designed to combat anterior pelvic tilt associated with pectus.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt is caused by tight quads, a tight lower back, weak glutes & an inactive core. Therefore these exercises are focused on losening those tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles.
2 sets x 20-30 seconds hold each leg
Wall Hip Stretch
2 sets x 20-30 seconds hold each leg
Lying Pelvic Tilts
1 set x 10 reps
2 sets x 10 reps
Lower Back Trigger Ball
As long as needed
It may also be necessary to release your hips and quads with a trigger ball too! I would recommend rolling your TFL (tensor fasciae latae) & IT Band with a trigger ball if you feel they are tight. A simple YouTube search should find you some great tutorials on how to best loosen tight quads and hips.
TRAINING ABS FOR POSTUREAs I mentioned earlier, a weak core will contribute to anterior pelvic tilt. This is one of the many reasons we need to train our abs frequently for pectus excavatum. Check out & try this ab workout I posted on youtube to start strengthening your abs for Pectus
Daily postural awareness is another integral part of fixing your posture. The exercises provided on the previous pages will help make correct posture an easier position to hold but habitually practicing this posture day by day will actually fix your posture.
Mentally draw awareness to your posture as much as you can throughout your day.
When walking, sitting, driving, watching TV, doing work and even exercising always ensure your back is straight, shoulders are rolled back, neck is neutral and chest is proud.
If you work or study and are at a desk I would recommend getting a standing desk and doing many hours of work standing. Also, there are many amazing chairs on the Internet that will help with your posture.
I hope you found this article helpful and will now start incoporating these stretches & exercises into your regime. Another important element of fixing posture is your actual workout regime in particular a regime that has the right ratio of back to chest exercises. For an explanation on how training chest too much and not training back enough can make pectus worse and how to combat this click here
If you want to start following a program specifically designed to make your pectus less noticeable & receive coaching from Riley Byrne (the worlds only Pectus Excavatum specialised Personal Trainer) then go to www.fixpectus.com/ to apply.