How to Exercise the Masseter Muscle

Senior woman touching jaw line with fingers, close-up

The masseter muscle is a broad muscle that envelops the jaw joint and is responsible for moving the mouth. This muscle creates the force necessary to chew through food and speak. When the masseter muscle is dysfunctional, it can lead to temporomandibular disorder of the jaw (TMJ). TMJ can cause headaches, jaw pain and pressure and difficulty eating and moving your jaw. Practicing masseter exercise may help to ease the pain of TMJ or strengthen your jaw to reduce the likelihood of developing TMJ.

Forced Closing Exercise

Open your mouth.

Place two fingers on the top of your bottom row of teeth.

Use resistance to press down on your bottom teeth as you simultaneously try to close your mouth. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Practice this exercise three times.

Forced Opening Exercise

Place your palm on the bottom of your chin.

Use resistance to press into the chin.

Try to open your mouth against the resistance of the palm.

Hold this stretch for 10 seconds, relax and repeat two more times.

Tongue Stretch

Place two fingers on your jaw joints right in front of the ear lobes.

Apply a steady and equal pressure on both sides of the jaw.

Open your mouth as wide as you can.

Stick out your tongue as far as you can.

Hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat two more times.


If you feel soreness in your masseter muscle, try eating soft foods and massaging your jaw joints.


If you experience pain during any masseter exercise, speak to your dentist. It may be an indication of a more serious condition.