How do YOU work your serratus anterior?

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Porovoz
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How do YOU work your serratus anterior?

Post by Porovoz » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:51 pm

For some odd reason, this muscle seems to be often forgotten. ExRx doesn't list much for it. And when asking people around the gym what they do to train it, they often cite some oblique exercise that doesn't seem to activate it much at all. So, how do you do it?

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Post by Ironman » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:35 am

The incline shoulder raise will isolate it. However incline bench hits it.

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Post by KPj » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:42 am

I do scap push ups before every training session, during my warm up. They might be too difficult (done correctly) to have in a warm up at first though, and may be better off as an exercise towards the end of your sessions.

I also do DB Protractions.

Shoulder Saver 2 in the following article shows clips of these exercises.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... ers_part_i

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:26 am

Like KPj I warm up with scap pushups, and I always finish my pushups up top, basically adding a scap pushup to the top of the regular pushups.

Like Ironman, I also incline bench.

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Post by Porovoz » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:26 pm

KPj wrote: I also do DB Protractions.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... ers_part_i
Are these better than the incline shoulder raises listed on ExRx?

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Post by Ironman » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:49 pm

It's all the same, just isolation moves. It gets plenty of work in pressing movements. I really don't see a need unless you are a boxer, or maybe some martial arts. Even in those cases, it seems like speed is more important than isolating muscle even if it is one that is important to your sport. Maybe some rehabilitation applications. But to make it short, just not something most people have to worry about.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:19 pm

I don't think that the serratus muscle experiences hypertrophy to the same extent as some other muscles. Like the abs, the only way to have highly visable serratus muscles is to have a low bodyfat percentage.

But I could be wrong. If anyone has had success in bulking up their serratus muscles, I'd like to hear from them.

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Post by KPj » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:20 am

I would actually say it's something 90% of people should worry about. The Serratus anterior helps keep the shoulder blades tight to the rib cage and posteriorly tilts the scap. If you consider the amount of people with winging shoulder blades, and also people who have anteriorly tilted shoulder blades (forward head posture), then I would consider it a very important muscle to target.

Pressing movements will only hit it if it works properly in the first place. A lot of people press, be it horizontal or vertically, with the shoulder blades in anterior tilt. In benching think of this as benching with a flat back (without popping the chest up). The only other way to really get at it via pressing is getting full protraction of the shoulder blades at the end of the movement, but that has more negative effects than positive. This is why incline presses allegedly emphasise serratus anterior, because if everything works properly, going into incline will posteriorly tilt the scap more, putting it at a mechanical advantage, but in the real world, that's just not very common.

In my experience on this forum and in the gym, people that ask about muscles like this aren't looking to bulk them up. Normally they have some kind of problem or think they do, came across a commonly weak muscle (like Serratus Anterior), and want to know more.

Therefore, for the OP, why don't you give some of these movements a try and see how it feels. If you find it easy, you're probably ok. If it's challenging, it's more than likely a weakness. Scap push ups are a good place to start, however, concentrate on what you're doing, keep the abs tight throughout, really watch especially for your lower back arching excessively during the movement, as this is a very common compensation pattern when doing these.


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Post by Porovoz » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:04 pm

KPj wrote: In my experience on this forum and in the gym, people that ask about muscles like this aren't looking to bulk them up. Normally they have some kind of problem or think they do, came across a commonly weak muscle (like Serratus Anterior), and want to know more.
Bingo! I recently realized that I have a rather weird winged scapula condition with associated mild discomfort when doing certain exercises. My back looks normal, but when I fold my arms back to place the back of my palms on my back - my left scapula protrudes very significantly, while the right doesn't at all. I thought I would try addressing this by strengthening my serratus anterior (from my reading it is the most important muscle in scapula alignment).

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Post by Ironman » Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:21 am

I can see mine when I flex it, and I'm not all that lean.

Well rehabilitation is the main application. So that is a reason to add some of those isolation moves. You probably have a lot of weak spots in the back too.

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Post by robertscott » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:23 am

my serratus seems to get hammered just from a normal bench press. It's hurting today after benching last night

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