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  1. #1
    noodle arms Chubbawubba's Avatar
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    Serratus anterior exercises?

    Hey up. I would like to know if there are any exercises that specifically hit the Serratus anterior muscles. I have a bit of definition there already and am confident I can really make 'em stand out. But I am at a loss, I dont really know what they do but they look like good muscles.

    Any help would be great, cheers!
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    Registered User Pullup17's Avatar
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    I don't know of any isolations for the serratus but pullovers work that area.
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    Thumbs up

    The serratus controls the shoulder blades. It abducts, rotates upwards and elevates. So pec shrugs and overhead presses will exercise them. Pec shrugs: lie face UP on a bench, hold a barbell in the top bench press position with locked arms, shrug your shoulders up and down. Best done in a smith machine. Alternatively, dip or overhead shrugs. Same thing but on dip bars or with a barbell overhead. Mostly, however, I reckon it comes to diet. The leaner you are the bigger they will appear.
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  4. #4
    Registered User jigls's Avatar
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    Pullovers and Dips are super.

    Please look here: http://www.fitness-xl.com/81,0,brust,index,0.html

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  5. #5
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    I know it sounds weird, but, overhead presses and "overhead shrugs" and stuff like holding a weight overhead at lockout etc

    also see these exercises http://www.exrx.net/Lists/ExList/Che...l#anchor682036
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  6. #6
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  7. #7
    Keto FTMFW! Uriel_da_man's Avatar
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    Shoulder presses plus the stabilization on chest presses should be enough.
    It's UriEl btw

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  8. #8
    noodle arms Chubbawubba's Avatar
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    Excellent, thank you very much for your help, those are some great resources! Never considered doing overhead/pec shrugs before. I'll give them a go next thursday!
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  9. #9
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    warning...they are freaky, lol
    "Humility comes before honor"
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  10. #10
    Registered User John Prophet's Avatar
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    in connection to the thought of serratus being involved in overhead pressing etc...check this photo

    http://www.dlc.fi/~gold-cam/gym4.jpg
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  11. #11
    noodle arms Chubbawubba's Avatar
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    Nice find! I would kill to be that big...and be able to hold such a huge rock

    Cheers.
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  12. #12
    recovering small guy gymgrown's Avatar
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    What I was told for serratus is to do dips with your arms locked straight, pushing your body up by pushing your shoulders down.
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  13. #13
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    Just do push ups. Go deep then when you push up try to push higher than normal (like doing a pec shrug). I just did a few sets of them yesterday and my serratus are pretty sore right now. Do lots of push ups. When you can't do anymore, switch to girlie push ups until you're spent. Somehow the pec shrug scares me as I feel that it's not too good for the shoulders/
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    Originally Posted by Chubbawubba
    Hey up. I would like to know if there are any exercises that specifically hit the Serratus anterior muscles. I have a bit of definition there already and am confident I can really make 'em stand out. But I am at a loss, I dont really know what they do but they look like good muscles.

    Any help would be great, cheers!
    Overhead Squats will hit them.
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  15. #15
    noodle arms Chubbawubba's Avatar
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    Thank you for you help everyone. It was a chest day today so I tried some overhead shrugs at the end. Found it incredibly difficult as I was already very fatigued, also I have never done them before so form was lacking I'm afraid
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  16. #16
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    hang in there

    you'll get the hang of it. also the wheel is good for rolling out in front while on your knees with arms straight. Pullups with a close grip triangle attachment are good. You have to go side to side with your head(on both sides of triangle attachment). Cable rope crunches are good while on your knees nice and slow with good stretch at top. Standing one arm side cable pulldowns(pull cable down so elbow touches hip bone - also works obliques) and get a good stretch at top. Stiff arm lat pulldowns out in front are good - start with arms straight out in front - grip over lat bar and pull down to waist keeping arms straight. You can also superset some of these exercises and get a good pump on them. Do them nice and slow with good form.

    Like someone mentioned, combine these exercises with being lean, they will really pop out.
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  17. #17
    lol I dunno mybody001's Avatar
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    wood choppers and pullovers ftw.
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  18. #18
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    Serratus anterior have been a favorite muscle of mine for a while. They just look kick ass, imo.

    I've been doing DB pullovers and overhead shrugs (...except I call them Shoulder Raises) for a while now, but I just recently found out about woodchoppers, so I'm going to add them in somewhere.
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    Cable crunches.
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  20. #20
    Registered User Dr Clay's Avatar
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    Push-ups with a + are commonly prescribed in rehab circles to strengthen the serratus anterior. Google "push ups with a plus" to see how to do them.

    Best,
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    The above is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be used as medical advice. Always consult your doctor prior to beginning any new diet, supplementation, or exercise program.
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  21. #21
    Registered User naturesally's Avatar
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    trusted neighborhood friendly...

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  22. #22
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    Woodchoppers woodchoppers woodchoppers!!
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  23. #23
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    Any suggestions for a starting weight on the chest babrbell raises????
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    it's an awesome muscle to develop i'm trying to get it more noticeable too. it's tricky though cause it's hard to isolate, all the exercises that have been posted already are the same ones i am doing. it's a fun challenge though & i'm looking forward to the results .. good luck to you
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    do weighted side planks. as your doing this drop your hip as you rotate slightly forward. return to the original position slowly and focus on isolation. If done correctly you will see results
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    in b4 tyciol
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    Originally Posted by Dr Clay View Post
    Push-ups with a + are commonly prescribed in rehab circles to strengthen the serratus anterior. Google "push ups with a plus" to see how to do them.

    Best,
    this x 1000000000000

    every other exercise recommended has nowhere near the serratus activation as the push up plus.
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  28. #28
    Wasp Killa Extraordinaire dethmetalanimal's Avatar
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    heavy upper body pressing: dips, military/push press, bench press ect.
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    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    OP, you can do protraction exercises, such as "scap pushups". You can also do a similar motion lying supine on a bench with a barbell (or a smith machine may be better for the added stability, this movement is very shrug-like so the smith doesn't interfere with form like it might in a bench which arces in powerlifting form). This will also work the pectoralis minor as it is also a protractor. The pec major will also help I think.

    I don't think the bench protraction movements would be as effective though since the scapulae get sandwiched between the bench and your rib cage, which gets weighted down by the added weight of the bar on your arms.

    Incline pushup position doing these shrugging movements is also very effective.

    Push ups are better than the bench press because of the allowed protraction, I think.

    Overhead pressing and handstand pushups are also very good. The serratus anterior is involved in upward rotation and elevation of the scapulae as well as protraction.
    Originally Posted by Pullup17 View Post
    I don't know of any isolations for the serratus but pullovers work that area.
    No they don't. The pullover does not involve any of the actions that the serratus anterior performs. You're likely feeling your teres major or pectoralis minor.

    This broscience myth needs to get resolved. Pullovers involve downward rotation of the scapulae, much like a pull up, so it's more in line with something that would hit the pec minor, the protractor which rotates down and depresses.

    Pullovers are generally done with the scapulae supported by a bench. If the serratus anterior's ability to protract were at all to be targetted, an unsupported position is more likely to do it. So, doing a pullover motion standing up facing away from a lat pulldown machine is more likely to work.

    Originally Posted by jigls View Post
    Pullovers and Dips are super.

    Please look here: http://www.fitness-xl.com/81,0,brust,index,0.html

    No, dips and pullovers don't involve the functions of the serratus anterior. Provide your reasoning sir, skeptics remain. Also, your link is dead.


    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    I know it sounds weird, but, overhead presses and "overhead shrugs" and stuff like holding a weight overhead at lockout etc

    also see these exercises http://www.exrx.net/Lists/ExList/Che...l#anchor682036
    Solid advice.

    Originally Posted by Eclectic1 View Post
    The serratus controls the shoulder blades. It abducts, rotates upwards and elevates. So pec shrugs and overhead presses will exercise them. Pec shrugs: lie face UP on a bench, hold a barbell in the top bench press position with locked arms, shrug your shoulders up and down. Best done in a smith machine. Alternatively, dip or overhead shrugs. Same thing but on dip bars or with a barbell overhead. Mostly, however, I reckon it comes to diet. The leaner you are the bigger they will appear.
    Pec shrugs can work but as mentioned may be bad as the scapulae are immobilized by torso weight. Then again, perhaps the friction they have to overcome in abducting/protracting while sandwiched could also be a form of resistance. Might not be the most comfortable on your back skin though. Perhaps this toughens one up for breakfalling as a pro wrestler.

    Dip shrugs: no. Overhead shrugs: yes. Normal shrugs should also work, the serratus anterior would assist the traps and levator scapulae, they are all elevators. I don't understand the differences between overhead and hands-down shrugging (in terms of muscle length and all that) to know which is better for hitting which muscles.

    Originally Posted by Uriel_da_man View Post
    Shoulder presses plus the stabilization on chest presses should be enough.
    Shoulder/overhead pressing, yes. I don't agree on chest pressing though. Many consciously retract the shoulder blades during bench pressing to get added balance and to stretch the pecs so that they will be more activated as a flexor especially at lockout. This would inhibit using the serratus for protraction as we might in a push up.

    Originally Posted by John Prophet View Post
    in connection to the thought of serratus being involved in overhead pressing etc...check this photo
    I can see his ribs, are those his serratus? I still have trouble spotting those muscles. Subtle.

    Originally Posted by gymgrown View Post
    What I was told for serratus is to do dips with your arms locked straight, pushing your body up by pushing your shoulders down.
    That's bad advice. That movement would involve depression, the serratus anterior is an elevator. This dipping-shrug movement is a great movement, but it works the lower traps, pec minor, pec major and lats. Great for decompressing the spine. Possibly some others I'm overlooking, but there's no reason I can see that the serratus anterior would be involved in it.

    Originally Posted by wpreston_2000 View Post
    Just do push ups.
    JUST push ups? Why? They are great but I see no reason for restrictions. Upward rotation and elevation are valuable motions that push ups do not target, unless they are incline/inverted.

    Originally Posted by wpreston_2000 View Post
    Go deep then when you push up try to push higher than normal (like doing a pec shrug). I just did a few sets of them yesterday and my serratus are pretty sore right now. Do lots of push ups. When you can't do anymore, switch to girlie push ups until you're spent.
    Sound advice.

    Originally Posted by wpreston_2000 View Post
    Somehow the pec shrug scares me as I feel that it's not too good for the shoulders/
    Why? Do they hurt?

    Originally Posted by Ibanez View Post
    Overhead Squats will hit them.
    I hadn't thought of this, but yeah, they should be involved a lot in an isometric role in terms of keeping the shoulder girdle elevated and upwardly rotated, especially if you are focusing on pushing the hands together rather than pulling apart. That said, I think you're supposed to retract the shoulder blades during this movement so I wonder if it might inhibit the SA and leave these roles to the upper trap?

    Originally Posted by goginski View Post
    you'll get the hang of it. also the wheel is good for rolling out in front while on your knees with arms straight.
    The narrow grip we assume on the wheel and how we probably protract the scapulae, I'd agree. However I think it might do it most on the top. I'm not sure when stretched out at the bottom... but it's certainly a much better candidate than pullovers since the bench isn't supporting the scapulae. Our rib cage probably wants to fall to the ground, probably all the scapular muscles help keep it tethered there. Difficult to picture how everything works together in this complex movement especially with the lats involved.

    Originally Posted by goginski View Post
    Pullups with a close grip triangle attachment are good. You have to go side to side with your head(on both sides of triangle attachment).
    How would this hit the serratus anterior? It should be deactivated during pull ups, it would inhibit the motion.

    Originally Posted by goginski View Post
    Cable rope crunches are good while on your knees nice and slow with good stretch at top.
    I don't see any reason why this would help, it may depend on how you're anchoring the cables to your body though. If you're pushing with straight arms, I can see how they would be working to help protract. However, if you are pulling down and the cable is crossing over the trap, I think that would take the load off the SAs.

    Originally Posted by goginski View Post
    Standing one arm side cable pulldowns(pull cable down so elbow touches hip bone - also works obliques) and get a good stretch at top.
    Obliques yes, serratus, I doubt it. Explain which function of the muscle this would work.

    Originally Posted by goginski View Post
    Stiff arm lat pulldowns out in front are good - start with arms straight out in front - grip over lat bar and pull down to waist keeping arms straight. You can also superset some of these exercises and get a good pump on them. Do them nice and slow with good form.
    Due to the lack of scapular support, this is a better candidate than supine pullovers, but I'm still doubtful this hits the serratus anterior, it's still more in line with the pectoralis minor's functions, as well as the lats themselves which indirectly mobilize the scapulae.

    Due to gravity, when you're upright the scapulae want to rotate down and depress anyway, the only way they'd be pulled up is by shoulder muscles that connect the arms to the scapulae (long tricep, posterior deltoid, infraspinatus, teres major/minor) which would be performing shoulder extension, pulling up on them. Keep in mind that if the lat takes over the movement, this would

    But anyway that's besides the point: the serratus do not rotate down or depress. The only way I could see them involved is if you bent forward during the pulldown, or in a role to prevent winging of the scapulae.

    Originally Posted by mybody001 View Post
    wood choppers and pullovers ftw.
    Doubtful.

    Originally Posted by hempick View Post
    I've been doing DB pullovers and overhead shrugs (...except I call them Shoulder Raises) for a while now, but I just recently found out about woodchoppers, so I'm going to add them in somewhere.
    The shrugs are the best candidate for actually doing something. The other two don't seem like they'd hit the SA. It's contraction would get in the way of doing those movements.

    Originally Posted by JoeyWallnuts View Post
    Woodchoppers woodchoppers woodchoppers!!
    I'll give the woodchopper a second thought though: if you were facing AWAY from the machine while doing them, and some ways away, then the SA could work to prevent the shoulders from pulling back when muscles that attach to them work to perform the motion.

    It's a very complex movement so it's difficult to evaluate, I have some vague ideas on how it might help.

    Originally Posted by Dr Clay View Post
    Push-ups with a + are commonly prescribed in rehab circles to strengthen the serratus anterior. Google "push ups with a plus" to see how to do them.
    Very good movement, yes.

    Originally Posted by naptown410 View Post
    Any suggestions for a starting weight on the chest babrbell raises????
    Just start with the bar and focus on RoM, then increase the rate. It's always best to start light when learning a motion just to see how much range you're capable of and learn the motion. I think it will rapidly go up.

    Originally Posted by -chris-odell- View Post
    do weighted side planks. as your doing this drop your hip as you rotate slightly forward. return to the original position slowly and focus on isolation. If done correctly you will see results
    This is a very creative idea and I think you were right. I didn't really associate planks (and especially not side planks) with the scapular protractor muscles, but it does make perfect sense.

    With a side plank, we may not think of it as "protraction" necessarily since it doesn't seem like we are moving to the "front", but it is definitely scapular abduction that is occuring because we're pushing the blades apart.

    Your post is mind-expanding sir.

    Originally Posted by joebrosef View Post
    in b4 tyciol
    =/

    Originally Posted by dethmetalanimal View Post
    heavy upper body pressing: dips, military/push press, bench press ect.
    Military/push or any other kind of overhead pressing, yes. Bench pressing, unlikely what with how people tend to retract the scapulae during them. Dips, not likely unless you're one of those guys who knows how to lean forward and attain a semi-prone angle during them. If you remain upright, scapular muscles will be doing downward rotation and depression, aka not the serratus anterior.

    Dips do have potention, but only with significant forward lean. It's still most likely that the pec major/minor will be the primar protractors though.
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    Modification of DB Bench Protraction/Retraction

    Performing the movement unilaterally on the bench will allow you to go through the full ROM without the shoulder blade being compressed by the bench. Lay on the bench as far over to the side as you can with a wide base at the feet for balance, your spine should essentially be on the edge of the bench. Take a dumbbell into a locked out vertical position with your hand over top of your shoulder. Now you can retract and protract the shoulder blade freely and engage the SA without the bench getting in the way.
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