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Can't even tell if I have a serratus

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:54 pm
by flies
Obviously I do have one. But I can't find it on my body. I am a relative beginner (5'10" 175 lb squatting 130 lb).

I've been doing incline shoulder raises about once a week for the last few months. I can lift A LOT of weight (relatively); I mean, I can comfortably lift as much as I can squat at like 20 reps. (I'm doing this on a Smith rack. There's no way I could safely do this with dumbells since my shoulders are nowhere near strong enough to stabilize that weight.) So if I'm lifting that much weight, why is my serratus anterior so small as to be undetectable?

How do I flex it? I'm feeling the ribs beneath my armpit as I pull my shoulder up and forward, flexing, and I just feel ribs. Is this to be expected for someone at my level of development?

Re: Can't even tell if I have a serratus

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:10 pm
by Travis
ts a pretty small muscle and mostly a stabilizer. If I think about moving my scapula under my arm and towards my sternum, my serratus flexes but I can hardly see it.
I imagine the issue of body fat is also relevant-- some guys carry a lot in there backs.
I bet you're using more than just the Serratus Anterior in lifting that weight; probably some pecs and maybe jerking your body a bit.
Quit using the smith machine and try using dumbbells focusing on feeling the flex.

Re: Can't even tell if I have a serratus

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:08 pm
by robertscott
your problem doesn't so much sound like a lack of serratus, more just a lack of muscle in general. Only squatting 130lbs is a dead giveaway.

You only really need to do specific work for your serratus if you have some kind of shoulder issue, such as winged scapulae. I'm not saying to stop doing the serratus work, as it'll keep your shoulders healthy, but fixating on it will detract from the big picture, which is to develop muscle all over.

If you are pressing overhead, and using dumbells for your chest work then your serratus'll develop just fine along with the rest of you. If you really want to work it on its own, try dumbell protractions and the "serratus punch," both of those will work better than shoulder raises on the smith, as the smith removes the stabilising component, which is pretty much what your serratus does. Another little fancy trick you can try is on your last set of overhead presses, try and bang out a load of partials in the top position. In other words, just lower the bar a couple of inches from the top and press it up again. Do that until you feel like your eyes are going to bleed. That'll get your serratus working.

I understand where you're coming from though, a well developed serratus looks totally awesome, but getting a good looking serratus is more about having a muscular physique in general and low bodyfat. It's just too small a muscle for you to waste time doing loads of different exercises for. It just sort of takes care of itself as you get bigger.

So to summarise: don't worry too much about your serratus. Just get big and strong and you'll have an awesome serratus without having to worry too much about it.

Re: Can't even tell if I have a serratus

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:43 am
by flies
thanks for the replies. i'll keep workin.