Pectoralis major muscle


The pectoralis major is a very powerful, thick, fan-shaped muscle, situated at the chest (anterior) of the human body.  It makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

Underneath the pectoralis major is the pectoralis minor — a thin, triangular muscle — and together they are commonly known as the pectorals or “pecs”.

The pectoralis major moves the shoulder forwards and across your chest.  It is best known as the muscle that you develop with the bench press exercise.

It attaches to the humerus bone (upper bone of the arm) and is divided into two parts.  The upper part is known as the ‘clavicular head’ and the lower part the ‘sternal head’, based on their origins from the clavicle and sternal bones respectively.

The pectoralis major has a number of actions which are primarily responsible for movement of the shoulder joint:

The pectoralis major also assists in the downward rotation (inferior rotation), depression and initial protraction (abduction) of the shoulder blade (scapula).

The clavicular head is close to the deltoid muscle and contributes to flexion, horizontal adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus.  When at an angle of approximately 110 degrees, it contributes to abduction of the humerus.

The sternal head is antagonistic to the clavicular head, contributing to downward and forward movement of the arm and internal rotation when accompanied by adduction.  The sternal fibres can also contribute to extension, but not beyond the anatomical position.


The Role of the Pecs in the Golf Swing

For details of how the pectoralis major should work in the golf swing, see The Role of the Right Arm in the Golf Downswing.


If you have any questions or comments about this or other articles on Golf Loopy, please send us an email.


You May Also Like

Overview of a Great Golf Swing, which summarises the correct movements in a great golf swing.

Golf Anatomy and Kinesiology, a collection of articles describing the roles of the muscles involved in the golf swing.

The Role of the Deltoids in the Golf Swing.

Internal and External Rotation of the Arms in the Golf Swing.

The Role of the Right Arm in the Golf Downswing.


» Golf swing instruction home page.

Share the knowledge!