Serratus anterior exercise is a method of stretching and strengthening the serratus anterior muscle. Learn more about how it works by reading this article.
Table of Contents
- The Serratus Anterior Muscles
- The Benefits of Training Your Serratus Anterior
- 8 Best Exercises to Strengthen your Serratus Anterior
- Technique Tips for Serratus Anterior Exercises
The Serratus Anterior Muscles
The serratus anterior is a fan-shaped muscle located on the mid-to-upper back, which ultimately ends in the scapula. It can be felt as a ridge running across your chest, and it helps raise the scapula. The top of this muscle attaches to the ribs near where they attach to the sternum, forming a “c” shape with the rib cage. The contraction of this muscle also stabilizes shoulder blades against each other by pressing them together. The serratus anterior is also responsible for making the upper back muscles broader. It can be considered as part of the erector spinae group of muscles.
Serratus anterior stretches are generally performed to relieve pain, reduce stiffness, improve posture, and strengthen this muscle. When this muscle is weak or under-developed, it makes the shoulder blades stick out. Strengthening your serratus anterior will help correct your posture and alleviate chronic neck or shoulder pain.
The Benefits of Training Your Serratus Anterior
The serratus anterior is a small muscle under the shoulder blades that are often overlooked in favor of larger muscles. However, strengthening this small muscle can help you achieve numerous benefits in your overall physique.
Maintain Good Posture
One of the biggest benefits of stretching your serratus anterior is that it will help you to maintain good posture. When your chest, shoulders, and hip are all aligned, your body effortlessly creates an “S” shape with the rest of the muscles in this area. When you use bad posture, these muscles rotate outwards and become weak. Bad posture can damage your back and lead to pain down the road. When you strengthen your serratus anterior, you’ll be able to keep your posture in check.
Stabilize the Shoulders
When the serratus anterior is fatigued, it can contribute to shoulder problems. A common joint problem that can be attributed to this muscle is frozen shoulders. When this muscle becomes weak or under-developed, the muscles behind it are forced to contract too much. This can cause tension in the shoulder joint and lead to pain in the upper back and neck areas. In cases where this muscle is too weak to work autonomously, it can be strengthened by stretching it. When you do this, the muscles that have been contracted will become less tense and help stabilize your shoulders.
Muscle Therapy for Sports Injuries
One of the most common places this muscle gets strained is in shoulder injuries. When a muscle becomes weaker due to a sports injury, it often has a limited range of motion and doesn’t have the strength necessary to fully restore itself. When you stretch out the serratus anterior, it will restore its full strength and be able to work as it should again. A weak serratus anterior can also give way to bad posture. Strengthening this muscle can help relieve shoulder pain as well as strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder joint as a whole.
8 Best Exercises to Strengthen your Serratus Anterior
Serratus anterior exercise may increase not only your pushing power but also your fitness level in general. The muscle can improve chest expansion and improve respiratory functions. Strengthen your serratus anterior by training it with exercises like the one shown below.
Clockwise Arm Swings
If you want to strengthen the serratus anterior, start by doing arm swings. This will stimulate the muscles of your chest, including your pectoral, clavicular, and deltoid muscles.
To make this exercise, raise your arms up to shoulder height and swing them back and forth as high as possible, going from one side to the other. Repeat 10 to 20 times. Make sure your arms are straight and shoulder blades are retracted. When you’re doing this exercise, make sure to keep your shoulders back.
One of the best exercises for improving your serratus anterior is the Rhomboid Pull. Firstly, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your arms to the shoulder height and parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows, pull your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades. Return and repeat. Exhale when pulling back, and inhale when you return. Make sure your arms are parallel to the ground. Keep your triceps contracted. Perform three sets of 15-20 reps.
Another exercise that targets the serratus anterior muscles is wall pushups. Stand about 2 feet away from a wall, then place your palms on the wall and walk your fingers up until they reach eye level. Bend your elbows and lean forward at the waist until you feel a good stretch in your chest and shoulders, but not so much that it becomes painful. Finally, push yourself away from the wall to complete 1 rep of this exercise.
This exercise is basically the same as regular pushups, except your hands are placed on top of a wall or other elevated surface. This extra leverage will place more emphasis on the serratus anterior muscles, which lie just beneath the pectorals.
This is an excellent exercise for the serratus anterior. Sit with your feet slightly lifted and back tilted backward. Hold your hands together and twist from side to side. Exhale as your twist. Keep your legs still when twisting. Keep your neck neutral. Tighten your abs. Do this for 30 seconds. Make sure you are not moving your legs.
Tip: If you can’t hold your legs steady, put them on exercise balls.
Long Arm Crunches
This exercise will tone your stomach muscles and your serratus anterior, which elevate your shoulders. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms over the top of your head. Put one hand on top of the other. lift your shoulders off the floor, then slowly go back down. Use your abdominal strength. Exhale as you lift your shoulder, and inhale when you lower them. Do this for 30 seconds. You can also do this on an exercise ball.
This exercise strengthens the serratus anterior, also known as the chest wall muscle, which in turn helps to shape your pectoral muscles in a way that you can increase your upper-body power.
Stand with your back towards the pulley or elastic band device, knees slightly bent, and feet apart in a split stance. The handle of the pulley or elastic resistance device is then grasped at shoulder height with the elbow fully extended, the humerus internally rotated 45 degrees and the scapula in a retracted position. Then a protracted and retracted scapula movement is being made in a direction of 120 degrees because Serratus Anterior activity tends to increase in a somewhat linear fashion with arm elevation. Lastly, repeat with the other hand.
Band Chest Presses
This exercise targets the serratus anterior, which is located at the side torso. This muscle is responsible for stabilizing your scapula and also helps push up your arms during a push-up. Lie on your back, holding a band at the bottom of your chest. Then, slowly lift your arms up until they are straight. Your elbows should stay close to your sides. Hold for 3-5 seconds before slowly lowering back to the start position. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps for this exercise.
This exercise helps strengthen your serratus anteriorly and helps you improve endurance in your core. Lie on your side, keeping your elbow slightly bent on the edge of the floor with the palm of your hands on top of each other. Make sure you are stacked towards one shoulder so that toes are facing down on one side and upon the other. Lift your hips up off the floor and hold for 20-30 seconds, making sure to keep your body in a straight line. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps for this exercise.
So, now you know what are serratus anterior exercises. Always consult your physician before performing any exercise. There are many more exercises that can be performed to strengthen your serratus anterior. The important thing is that you keep working out the muscles in this area with these 8 specific moves. You will be amazed at how your body will develop after a few weeks of doing these simple moves.
Technique Tips for Serratus Anterior Exercises
When starting out, you should try these moves in small increments because your body generally learns quickly. If you start doing too many repetitions or increase the intensity too quickly, your body is likely to become injured.
To avoid injury, you should also make sure that you relax your neck and shoulders. You do not want to tense up because this will make it more difficult for your body to learn how to work the muscles.
Also, you should be sure to breathe appropriately. If you are not getting enough air into your lungs, your body will think that there is not enough oxygen to perform the exercise properly. This will make the muscles tighten up and stop working.
Finally, you should try to stay focused. The effects of these exercises are often immediate, which can be distracting. It is imperative that you stay in the moment and pay attention to what your body is doing.
Why Should I Perform Serratus Anterior Exercises?
Serratus anterior exercises are designed to strengthen the middle part of the muscle, which is responsible for lifting the scapula. They are effective at improving shoulder mobility and stability because they move the scapula upward or downward, depending on what is being done.
What Muscles do Serratus Anterior Exercises Target?
Serratus anterior exercises target the serratus anterior muscle, which is located near the base of the shoulder blade. It is responsible for moving and stabilizing the shoulder blade. Serratus anterior exercises do not bring the shoulder blade forward or backward, but instead, move it from side to side. It also does not move the scapula from back to front or from front to back.
What Equipment is Needed for Serratus Anterior Exercises?
Serratus anterior exercises do not require any special equipment, though you may want to wear exercise gloves to protect your hands if you are doing push-ups or planks.