Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your “Wings”

Serratus Anterior Exercise

The serratus anterior muscle is located at the top of your shoulder blade. It helps to lift your arm up when performing any type of overhead movement such as bench press or pull ups. Its main function is to raise your arm above the head during lifting movements.

It is often called the “wings” because it resembles wings when raised. It is one of the most common muscles in the body. There are many different types of serratus anterior. They all have similar functions but they differ slightly due to their specific location and size.

One of the most commonly used serratus anterior exercises is the lat pull down. It involves pulling your arms straight back behind you while lowering them under control. You then raise your hands up off the floor with palms facing each other. This exercise works both sides of the serratus anterior muscle and helps strengthen it in both directions.

Another popular exercise is the side lateral raise from a plank position. It works the muscle when you lift your arm out to the side of your body. Raising your elbow as high as you can is an excellent way to target the lower and middle part of the muscle.

Finally, one of the best exercises for all three parts of this muscle is to do a full push up and then at the top point of the movement bring your arms out to the side. Hold them in that position for a second or two before lowering yourself back down. This exercise should be done several times a week to get the best results.

Serratus Anterior Exercises: The Best Three

Exercise 1: Overhead Press

The best overhead press for targeting the serratus anterior is the barbell press. It is one of the best mass builders for this muscle and it over-arches during this movement and keeps your shoulder in its socket. Start by grabbing the barbell with your hands at shoulder width. You can either keep your back against the bench or arch it. Bring the bar from above your head down until it touches the middle of your chest.

This is one repetition.

Exercise 2: Single Arm Dumbbell Press

One of the best serratus anterior exercises is the single arm dumbbell press. This works the middle and lower parts of the muscle that are tricky to target with other movements. To do this with proper form, grab a dumbbell in one hand and hold it against your chest. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Press the weight straight up until your arm is almost fully extended.

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

Exercise 3: Lying Dumbbell Press

The last exercise on the list is the dumbbell lying press. This is a great mass builder and allows you to really control the weight and hit the muscle from many different angles. To do this with proper form, lay down on your back on a flat bench. Grab two dumbbells with your palms facing out. Press them up until your arms are almost fully extended.

Benefits of the Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior has many benefits to it. It helps with many day to day activities such as moving your arms around in a certain way. It also helps with breathing and helps you maintain a good posture. The serratus anterior is also one of the muscles used when throwing an object with force.

This muscle also helps protect the ribcage and it helps to develop your six pack.

Serratus Anterior and Injury

The role of this muscle is mainly to protect the rib cage from injury. If you take a direct hit to the side of your ribs, it can cause strain to this muscle and pull on the ribs themselves. This can cause a great deal of pain and even bruising.

In some cases if the muscle is damaged severely enough, surgery may be needed to reattach the muscle to the ribs itself. Leaving it unattached can lead to decreased range of motion and less protection for your vital organs.

Serratus Anterior and Breathing

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

As mentioned earlier, the serratus anterior is also intertwined with your breathing mechanics. If this muscle is weak or damaged, it can lead to a host of problems such as shortness of breath and even asthma. That’s why if you have asthma or shortness of breath, then you need to start performing serratus anterior exercises on a weekly basis to strengthen the muscle.

Serratus Anterior and Your Core

As mentioned earlier, the serratus anterior overlaps your abdominal muscles. This means that if you strengthen it, you will indirectly be strengthening your core as well. This is a good thing because having strong and durable abs will prevent you from getting injured while doing abdominal exercises.

Having strong serratus anterior muscles will also help with throwing motions. It helps when punching or throwing a punch with force. It will also help with throwing an object with more distance or force.

Common Injuries with the Serratus Anterior

Much like any muscle in the body, the serratus anterior can be strained or torn if placed under a lot of stress. If you overwork this muscle by doing too many repetitions or too much weight, then you can put yourself at risk for a strain or tear. In some cases, if the muscle is severely damaged, surgery may be needed to reattach it to the ribs itself.

In some cases, the nerve that controls the serratus anterior can become pinched. This causes numbness in a small part of the ribcage. Patients report that the area feels numb and is sometimes painful. This is very similar to thoracic outlet syndrome and can be fixed in a similar way. In most cases, patients are prescribed physical therapy and are given exercises to do for the serratus anterior specifically.

Strengthening Exercises for the Serratus Anterior

Now that you know everything there is to know about the serratus anterior, you can start strengthening it. Don’t just jump into the exercise though. You should begin by warming up and then doing a set of 12-15 reps of the first exercise before moving on to a harder exercise. This is to prevent injury and to make sure that the serratus anterior is ready for more challenging exercises.

1. Start off with a yoga mat to prevent slippage on the floor

2. Stand up straight with good posture

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

3. Clasp your hands together in front of you at belly button level with your elbows out

4. Slowly raise your clasped hands in front of you until your fingers touch your chin

5. Hold for 1 sec. and then slowly lower your arms back to the starting position

6. Repeat 11 more times

7. Rest and then repeat the exercise, but this time do 14 repetitions

8. Continue to increase the number of repetitions by 1 each time you perform the exercise until you reach 15

9. After a few days, start over again at 11 repetitions and work your way back up to 15

Once you’ve reached 15 repetitions with no discomfort, you can move on to the next exercise, which involves a wall.

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

1. Stand facing a wall about a foot away from it

2. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and elbows bent

3. Keeping your legs straight, slowly push your body away from the wall

4. Hold and count to 5 and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position

5. Do 12 repetitions

6. Rest and then perform the exercise again, this time do 15 repetitions

7. Continue to increase the number of repetitions by 1 each time you perform the exercise until you reach 15

Once you’ve reached 15 repetitions with no discomfort, you can move on to the next exercise. This exercise involves a medicine ball.

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

1. Stand upright with good posture and hold a medicine ball with both hands

2. Slowly and carefully lean back as far as you can without losing your balance

3. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then slowly come back up to the starting position

4. Do 12 repetitions

5. Rest and then perform the exercise again, this time doing 15 repetitions

6. Continue to increase the number of repetitions by 1 each time you perform the exercise until you reach 15

Once you’ve reached 15 repetitions with no discomfort, you can start working on some plyometric exercises. These are exercises that require a lot of power and force. The plyometric exercises listed here will not only strengthen your serratus anterior, but they will also strengthen your intercostal muscles, which are the muscles between your ribs.

1. Stand upright with good posture and your arms by your sides

2. Begin taking short, quick steps to the side while keeping your upper body still

3. Continue to step in the same direction for 30 seconds and then stop

4. Rest for a minute or more and then repeat the exercise, but this time switch direction halfway through and continue for another half minute

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

5. Continue to perform the exercise in both directions for another 30 seconds each until you’ve reached a full 5 minutes. This is one set.

6. Rest for at least 2 minutes before starting your second set.

7. After you’ve completed your second set, rest for at least 3 minutes before beginning your third and final set.

During this exercise you may find it helpful to close your eyes or look down at your feet. This will help you focus on the muscles you’re trying to target without being distracted by your surroundings or other muscles that want to take over.

Once you’ve completed your third set, rest for at least 4 minutes before moving on to the next exercise.

The next exercise is a simple twisting motion. This exercise helps strengthen your serratus anterior as well as other internal muscles and should be felt throughout the entire length of your torso.

1. Stand with your feet together and bend your knees slightly

2. Place your hands on your hips and slowly rotate your upper body to one side as far as you can without losing your balance and then slowly return to the center and repeat on the other side

3. Continue this process for 1 minute and then rest

4. After you’ve completed your first set, rest for at least 2 minutes before beginning your second set

Getting to Know Your Serratus Anterior: Strengthen Your

5. After you’ve completed your second set, rest for at least 3 minutes before beginning your third and final set

Continue this series two to three times per day every other day until you start noticing an improvement in the strength of your serratus anterior muscle. Once you start seeing the desired results, you can increase the intensity or add the exercises into your daily routine and/or onto your schedule every day.

It is important that you do not push yourself too hard too quickly. Give your body time to heal in-between workout sessions.

You can continue these exercises for as long as you like and see desired results. However, it is recommended not to continue any longer than is necessary as your muscles will eventually build immunity to the exercise routine if overused or given too much of a good thing.

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Variation and atrophy of flying wings of some carabid beetles (Coleoptera) by PJ Darlington Jr – Annals of the Entomological Society of …, 1936 – academic.oup.com

PILATES–SAY WHAT? by K Karter – 2001 – Penguin

Essential Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors: How to Live Stronger and Feel Better by LO Liu – 2016 – ekut.pw

Isolated serratus palsy etiology influences its long-term outcome by A Halverstadt, A Leonard – 2000 – books.google.com

A comparison of functional and morphological adaptations in the Common Murre (Uria aalge) and Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) by M Vastamäki, L Ristolainen, H Vastamäki… – Journal of Shoulder and …, 2017 – Elsevier

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