Stretching before working out has proven performance results and that’s something you should do before working out.
…..but most people don’t warm up and jump right in. Injury prevention should be #1 when you’re lifting. Since if you injure yourself, you can’t lift. Seems pretty straight forward.
In this article I’m going to go over stretches that are best performed before your chest workout to get the best out of it.
What’s Involved With Chest Pressing?
Let’s break the topic down, which will then funnell into the individual stretches.
During chest pressing movements (eg bench press, dumbbell etc press), several muscles are used simultaneously, namely your pectorals (chest, duh), triceps, and deltoids (shoulders).
What About The Differences Between Barbell And Dumbbell?
Different tools and different demands are put on your body when using dumbbells versus barbells. Range of motion, instability and size are all different factors to consider when using either or.
Dumbbells can potentially give you a greater range of motion since you’re not restricted bar the bar on your chest.
For some the fixed hand and wrist position of a standard barbell bench press can cause issues and be an exercise to avoid at the gym. Dumbbells can be the solution.
Quoting from a study from Journal of Sports Sciences, vol. 29:
Across the whole exercise (both eccentric and concentric phases), Saeterbakken et al.  reported significantly greater biceps and less triceps muscle activity using dumbbells for the bench press compared to using a barbell or Smith machine. They reported no differences for anterior deltoid and pectoralis major muscles. Based on their results, it is plausible that the activation differences previously reported between varying angles of inclination during press exercises with barbells and Smith machines may be less when performed with dumbbells.https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jsm/2013/612650/#B4
So we can see that triceps can be used more in barbell chest pressing but the demands are mostly the same. 100lbs in your hand is still 100lbs.
So with all that being said, here’s the list of stretches and exercises to best warm up your chest.
Rear Deltoid and Pec Stretch
The easiest way and my general go-to stretch is band pull aparts with a latex or rubber band
Grab a light to medium resistance band and pull it apart at chest level 10-20 reps for a stretch of your chest and the back of your shoulder, your rear deltoid muscles.
Here’s the bands I use:
The band pull apart is versatile in that it can be used at multiple angles to target certain muscles.
There’s tons of rotator cuff exercises you can do (I mean tons), but let’s narrow it down.
For a shoulder flexion exercise, a great one is resistance band pull apart at a 45º angle.
You’ll get shoulder flexion of course at the bottom of your bench press, when the bar is nearest your chest.
Chest Dynamic Stretch Exercise
Wow that’s a mouthful.
Okay so it’s actually just getting 1 to 2 sets of chest flyes, either machine, dumbell or cable, for 20 reps. It pumps blood to your chest, getting it all fired up for a killer workout.