April 21, 2020

Pectoralis Major, Subclavius – Soft Tissue Release


Pectoralis Major:

Pectoralis major originates on the sternum and medial third of the clavicle and inserts on the humerus just lateral to the intertubercular groove. It does adduction, horizontal adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus.

When working with female clients, explain that you will be working near breast tissue and get informed consent. Larger busted clients can use their opposite hand through the drape to pull their breast down to give you more room to work. Their hand will form a boundary, making the work more appropriate.

Have your client supine with their arm abducted to about 30 degrees and externally rotated. Stand on the opposite side of the table and start with your fingers on the sternum. Move your fingers back and forth in a spreading motion while working from the sternum toward the humerus. Follow through with using the heel of your hand. Go lighter over the coracoid process as this can be painful for your client.



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The subclavius originates on the first rib and inserts on the inferior aspect of the medial third of the clavicle. The subclavius pulls the clavicle down and forward.

Do the technique as before, but have your client abduct their arm as you are moving toward the humerus. Abduction will cause the clavicle to move in a superior direction, and having your client exhale helps to depress the first rib. This will give a stretch to the subclavius muscle.


Thank you to James Waslaski for the technique for Pectoralis Major, and to Tanya LaFave for the variation for working on the Subclavius.

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