Tight Shoulders & Pecs Slowing Your Punching Down?

Tight shoulders are hardly unique to boxers or punchers of any kind.  All types of athletes experience lack of range throughout their shoulder joint which ultimately leads to poor sport performace.  This is certainly happening during this fine Spring season as baseball has begun.  Mike Pelfrey from the New York Mets has been experiencing shoulder tightness, impacting his ability to play and the same has been true for LA Angels' Maicer Izturis. Fighters often face the same type of discomfort these ball players experience.  It can lead to inflamation in the joint and a level of discomfort that mimics ligament tears.  If you feel pain, tightness, stiffness or lack of mobility in the front of your shoulder through the top of your pecs, do not fret right away because it may just be poor flexibility - which can be easily fixed.

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Having adequate range of motion in the shoulder joint is key in preventing injuries to more than just the shoulder iteself.  You can avoid neck (or trapezius) and upper chest (pectoralis) injuries as well.  Even people who lift a lot of weights, particualrly chest and shoulder without incorporating range of motion exercises or dynamic movement of some kind, can be prone to injuries in this area.  

muscles1.jpgThe pecs are attached to the humerus (upper arm bone) right at the shoulder joint.  They are attached in a fan like arrangement which ultimately provides a circular range of motion to the area [with two sets of muscles pec major and minor (minor are underneath)].  pectoralis-major-anatomy.gifThe shoulder muscles or deltoids are comprised of a rounded framework that has three sets of muscle fibers.  One in the front, the side and the rear (anterior, lateral and anterior).  We are focused right now on the front set which cooperate with the pecs (major and minor).  When these are tight it causes posture that is rounded forward (very common in fighters because of the fighting stance) and a constricted appearance of the overall musculature.  For some it may even look like they are slouching.  
If yoga is not a regular part of your training, which would offer a balanced and dynamic workout for your pecs and shoulders, then you may want to consider the stretch below as a regular part of your workout routine.

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