The One Shoulder Muscle That is Usually Neglected

The Serratus Anterior

On the days that you work out your back and shoulders you are most likely working out your deltoids, trapezius, and rhomboids but one muscle that often gets neglected is the serratus anterior. The serratus anterior muscle is responsible for the shoulder’s ability of upward rotation.

The shoulders are one of the most flexible joints in the human body. Besides relying on the serratus for only for the upward rotation of your arms it also protects the scapula. The serratus anterior stabilizes your shoulder blade and helps in performing certain exercises that require a lifted posture or open chest. If you want to improve your punch when boxing strengthens the serratus anterior to add more power to your punch.

The reason that the serratus anterior is often neglected during a workout is that it is located beneath the shoulder blade and near the inner ribs. This makes the muscle hard to target when working out. Try out the three exercises listed below to strengthen the serratus anterior and prevent rotator cuff issues, neck problems, and scapular winging that result from weak serratus anterior muscles.

Three Exercises to Workout and Strengthen the Serratus Anterior

These three exercises will help you to target and strengthen the Serratus Anterior. 8 to 10 reps will help strengthen the muscle.

1. Wall Angels

Instructions: Stand with your back flat against the wall, your head must also be against the wall, bend your knee and lift your arms up to the side at a 90-degree angle. Place arms and the back of your hands against the wall and slowly lift and them lower them back into position.

There are several things to remember when doing this exercise:

  1. Keep your back and head flat against the wall
  2. Don’t let any space in between the wall and back
  3. Keep your hands as flat against the wall as possible.

If you can’t place your hands directly on the wall, that’s okay, just work your way to getting there, eventually.

2. The Serratus Push Up

Instructions: Get into the traditional push-up position with hands placed apart and beneath the shoulders. Keep your arms straight, lower your body slightly but don’t bend the elbows. Alternate sliding the shoulder blades forward and backward. Squeeze them when you push backward and away from the floor.

The serratus push-up is a different take on the traditional push-up. Unlike the traditional push-up, it will not feel like the muscle is being worked, but this exercise is very effective.

3. Accordion Breathing or Bellows Breath

Instructions: Accordion breathing or bellows breath focus on slowly expanding and contracting the lungs. Place your hands on the side of your body or ribcage. Then slowly inhale and then exhale. As you inhale your shoulders blades will naturally move outward and when you exhale, they will return to the starting position.

People with asthma or other respiratory problems may benefit from strengthening their serratus anterior. Remember to breathe from the diaphragm when you inhale and exhale. Start off slow and gradually increase when you inhale and exhale.

Results and Improvement

For a well-rounded workout don’t neglect the serratus anterior as so many do. Concentrate on performing accordion breathing, the serratus push-up, and wall angels to strengthen the serratus anterior and provide a nice companion workout on those days when you decide to work out the back, arms, and shoulders. This will give you a complete workout that strengthens the majority of muscle groups in the upper body and aids in the prevention of injuries to the neck area while also avoiding injuries to the rotator cuff.

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