Exploring the pectoralis major muscle
What does pectoralis major mean?The name pectoralis major describes the general location of this muscle. Pectoralis comes from the Latin word “pectus” meaning breast. Major comes from Latin and means “greater than”.
Where does the pectoralis major attach?There are two divisions of pec major – the sternal and clavicular divisions.
OriginThe clavicular portion originates on the medial (inner) half of the clavicle (collar bone). The sternal portion originates on the sternum and the upper 6 ribs.
InsertionThe two divisions of pectoralis major come together to insert on the lateral (outside) lip of the bicipital groove. The bicipital groove is the groove at the top of the humerus that the biceps tendon passes through.
What actions does the pectoralis major do?Fiber direction from origin to insertion is important in understanding how this muscle creates its actions. The origin of pectoralis is broad and its insertion is small. This means that pec major can create opposite actions depending on the circumstances. It can create a number of actions including:
- medial rotation
- horizontal flexion
Postures where the pectoralis major muscle contracts:
Postures where the pectoralis major muscle is lengthened:
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