I visited a massage therapist for the first time in several years. During the massage, the therapist and I noticed my arms flopped wildly whenever she massaged my pectoral muscles. Although this did not surprise the massage therapist I was shocked. My arms were flopping uncontrollably on the table and I just knew something was wrong with me.
I asked the massage therapist what was wrong and she explained that my pectoral muscles shortened from my daily activities. What was she talking about?
She said when my arms are lying flat my hands should naturally lay face down with my thumbs toward my thighs. Mine were not. My hands naturally rolled over away from my legs, and I had to concentrate to force them to lay the other way. When asked why this was happening, she asked me several questions about my daily activities.
Do you use a stroller a lot?
I used my stroller all the time. Using the stroller takes effort, especially when you're pushing two kids at a time. The weight of my stroller and two children combined were 100 lbs. The combined weight and constant tension of pushing the stroller helped to shorten my pectoral muscles.
As a mom, have you ever wondered how much time you spent doing this activity? It never dawned on me.
Do you carry your children often?
I never really thought about it, but yes, I did, and still do carry my kids often. Moms hold their kids for hugs, when their tired and for a hundred other reasons.
It is no wonder this contributes to shortened pectoral muscles. When moms carry kids, one arm is curled in and under your child, or with both arms crossed over to hold them. This is constantly pulling the pectoral muscles in.
Who grocery shops?
Grocery shopping is much harder and heavier than it looks, especially if the cart is full with a child in it. Pushing and moving that extra weight around the store takes a lot of effort. It also takes a lot of time. Each time you push and stop, push and stop, the movement acts like a bench press.
How often do you work out?
Working out is one of my regular activities, but I realized it was the combination of all of these activities that caused my arms to hop like frogs on the table.
What about other mothers?
Chunk & Jaden
Although this concept was new for me on a personal level, I knew it occured with powerlifters. It is common for powerlifters, or men and women who do heavy bench presses. Over time, the shortened pectoral muscles pull in, making them looked hunched.
I'm no powerlifter, but it still affected me, as well as other moms, but many moms don't realize it. It is something that should be addressed.
Where do shortened pectoral muscles in moms really begin?
The basis of shortened pectoral muscles in moms actually begins with pregnancy. Women's Program Development Program by Ann F. Cowlin explains that it's due to bony alignment and muscle imbalance; specific changes that occur during pregnancy and are heightened by activities moms partake in.
Massage therapy and exercise to the rescue
Massage therapy is one way to help with shortened pectoral muscles, as well as the use of specific exercise programs to regain balance.
Lisa M. White
Copyright ©2011 CPT Lisa M. White™. All rights reserved.