PT on the Net Research

Pigeon Chest Strength Training


My 15 year old client has a pigeon chest. What can be done to prevent this from protruding further? His goal is to increase muscle mass on his pectorals without increasing the protruding problem. Do chest flys cause this problem to worsen?


Given your client's age, you must be careful not to allow a hypertrophy driven program (chest mass) to create greater structural change. If your client was older, it most likely wouldn’t matter.

Our advice is to use a two to one pull to push ratio:

  1. Stretch the pectoral region after every set of pushing.
  2. Train him to move the thoracic spine (it’s a major rotator and will decrease stress to the sternal area IF its moving properly).
  3. Re-assess your clients structure weekly (i.e., take side view pictures).
  4. When you perform a push movement, be sure the shoulders blades are moving around the thorax as opposed to keeping them retracted. A retracted position will increase stress to the sternal region, potentially creating unwanted stress. Note: on some benches, the shoulder blades become restricted due to the compressive forces of the weight and body mass.
  5. Be sure to follow the form failure principle. In other words, STOP when perfect form fails. Too often, kids are over-jealous and create unnecessary stress on their bones.
  6. At his age and given his structural deformity, I would recommend higher repetitions, which will still create the hypertrophic changes he desires (provided he’s eating correctly and resting in between workouts).

We hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask – we will do our best to assist you!