I have a client with a very narrow chest area. I've heard that pull ups help to “open the chest up.” Is this so, and if it is true, would this still be possible for someone in his mid-20s? Are there any other exercises that would accomplish this? Thank you!
Thank you for your enquiry. There is a simple to complex answer to your question. First, structure feeds function, and function feeds structure. In your client’s case, his structure will govern his function to some extent. However, the extent will depend on two major things. First, what function(s) does your client want to partake in? Secondly, what will his structure allow relative to what he wants to do? My suggestion is to answer the aforementioned questions as part of his assessment. If the goal is to open a bony structure (congenital anomaly), then this will be unlikely. However, if the goal is for the structure not to progressively worsen, then it will be up to you to design a program where it doesn’t become a postural-stress problem (which will likely develop over time if not assessed and addressed in the early stages). So, are there any exercises that will open his chest? Not if the chest region is narrowed via the structure. It is true the soft tissues can change and adapt but not as a result of performing pull ups. My advice is to seek out a person who specializes in soft tissue therapy. Post therapy, you should follow up with proper stretching applications, apply a two to one ratio of pulling to pushing movements preferably with one arm in order to increase rotation and decrease excessive flexion (which will narrow chest area). Good luck!