When it comes to muscle strengthening exercises, we tend to focus on our core strength and legs and forget about the myriad of muscles that make up the rest of our body. While it is, indeed, easier to focus on the main muscle groups and their workouts which come to light more than the others, the rest of the muscles need to be focused on.
One such largely ignored muscle is the serratus anterior. Also referred to as the ‘big swing muscle’ or ‘boxer’s muscle’, the serratus anterior is a muscle that originates from the underside of the shoulder blade, on the top surface of the first to eighth ribs, at the side of the chest. It extends along the entire front length of the border of the scapula. The serratus anterior is largely hidden from view underneath the shoulder blade, therefore most tend to forget this vital muscle.
6 Serratus Anterior Muscles Strengthening Exercises
The serratus anterior is the most optimum muscle to create an upward rotation of the shoulder blade. It helps to aim the socket upwards. It is imperative that the shoulder blade rotate upwards in order for you to reach anything higher than shoulder level and to perform any ordinary day to day activity. Exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior are important to keep this function going strong. If your serratus anterior muscles are weak, or damaged in any way, the shoulder blade isn’t flexible enough to work out of the way of the arm. It can lead to a pinching pain at the top of your shoulder, which can eventually result in a cuff tear.
Here are some exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle.
#1. Wall Presses:
This is one of the simplest exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle and can be easily done at home. It not only strengthens but also improves flexibility of the upper body.
- Stand upright facing a wall, at the length of an arm’s distance.
- Stretch your palms up to the shoulder height on the wall.
- Lean forward, start extending your torso towards the wall.
- Do not bend your arms.
- You will feel your shoulder blades coming closing together at your spine.
- This implies that you are flexing the rhomboids and stretching the serratus simultaneously.
#2. Incline Push Ups
This is one of the most effective exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle and may need some basic upper body strength to maintain plank position.
- Get into the plank position, with your feet on the floor, and your hands positioned on a immobile platform, like a chair step.
- Bend your elbows, and very slowly, lower your body and then go back up.
- Do not let your upper back sag.
- Add on tension in your lower back. This decreases the risk of back pain or injury.
#3. Shoulder Raises
This too is a simple exercise to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle, very useful and simple for beginners.
- Hold a dumbbell at your hip.
- Raise that arm slowly until you reach shoulder height.
- Return the dumbbell to the starting position, and repeat.
- The serratus anterior is the main muscle required to perform the raise, hence it is very effective.
#4. Dumbbell Punches
If you are in good shape and want to upgrade your upper body strength, dumbbell punches are one of the exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle.
- Hold dumbbells.
- While bending your knees just slightly, lower your body to a quarter squat position.
- Do a set of boxing punches, while holding the dumbbells tightly.
- In this exercise, a static exertion is placed on the serratus anterior muscle in order to maintain control of the dumbbell.
- Additionally, rotating your body slightly, and dropping the other arm back will further work the serratus anterior.
#5. Power Drops
This exercise works your shoulder muscles, arms, chest and abdomen in addition to strengthening your serratus anterior muscles.
- A training partner is highly recommended in order to do this exercise to completion.
- Lie on the floor, perpendicular to an exercise bench.
- Keep your head near the bench.
- While bending your knees, place your feet flat on the floor, and extend your arms vertically above your chest.
- At this point, your partner needs to stand on the bench and drop a medicine ball right down into your outstretched hands.
- Catch the ball with both hands, and allow it to fall to your chest while controlling its deceleration.
- Push it away from your chest, to your partner and repeat.
#6. Floor Presses
- With your feet on the ground, and your legs crossed, sit on the floor.
- Rest your palms on the floor, by your hips.
- Keep your arms straight.
- Try to raise your body away from the floor by using the serratus anterior.
This is a slow exercise to begin with, but soon you should be able to move your feet in the air, of course given that your torso is suspended high enough to be able to gain ground clearance. This indeed is a great exercise to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle.
Now you know that it is vitally important to exercise even the muscles in your body that you cannot see, to be able to perform simple day to day actions, the exercises to strengthen your serratus anterior muscle will be of great help.