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Vol. 21. Num. 3.
Pages 153-224 (01 May 2017)
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Vol. 21. Num. 3.
Pages 153-224 (01 May 2017)
Original Research
DOI: 10.1016/j.bjpt.2017.04.004
Reliability and validity of active and passive pectoralis minor muscle length measures
Margaret Finleya,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author at: Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, Drexel University, Three Parkway Building, 1601 Cherry Street, Mail Stop 7-502, Office 763, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.
, Noel Goodstadta, Daniel Solera, Kristin Somervillea, Zachary Friedmana, David Ebaugha,b
a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
b Health Sciences Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  • This manuscript presents the measurement properties of a novel technique for lengthening the pectoralis minor muscle.

  • Active and passive lengthening procedures resulted in greater changes in pectoralis minor muscle length when compared to previously reported pectoralis minor muscle stretches.

  • This investigation provides the first evidence to support measurement of the extensibility of the pectoralis minor muscle.

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Tables (2)
Table 1. Relative and absolute reliability for pectoralis minor muscle length-3 conditions.
Table 2. Comparison of reliability studies for measuring resting pectoralis minor muscle length.
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Pectoralis minor muscle length is believed to play an important role in shoulder pain and dysfunction. Current clinical procedures for assessing pectoralis minor muscle length may not provide the most useful information for clinical decision making.


To establish the reliability and construct validity of a novel technique to measure pectoralis minor muscle length under actively and passively lengthened conditions.


Cross-sectional repeated measures.


Thirty-four healthy adults (age: 23.9, SD=1.6 years; 18 females) participated in this study. Pectoralis minor muscle length was measured on the dominant arm in three length conditions: resting, actively lengthened, and passively lengthened. Based upon availability, two raters, out of a pool of five, used a caliper to measure the distance between the coracoid process and the 4th rib. The average of two pectoralis minor muscle length measures was used for all muscle length conditions and analyses. Intraclass correlation coefficients determined intra-and inter-rater reliability, and measurement error was determined via standard error of measurement and minimal detectable change. Construct validity was assessed by ANOVA to determine differences in muscle length across the three conditions.


Our intra- and inter-rater reliability values across all three conditions ranged from 0.84 to 0.92 and from 0.80 to 0.90, respectively. Significant differences (p<0.001) in muscle length were found among all three conditions: rest-active (3.66; SD=1.36cm), rest-passive (4.72, SD=1.41cm), and active-passive (1.06, SD=0.47cm).


The techniques described in this study for measuring pectoralis minor muscle length under resting and actively and passively lengthened conditions have acceptable reliability for clinical decision making.

Muscle length


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