How Do You Strengthen The Serratus Anterior Muscle?

Serratus anterior muscles are found under your armpit near the rib cage. The muscles are mainly used to allow the rotation of the arm. Keeping the muscles in good shape makes it easy to move your upper body. There are various exercises that you can do to strengthen your serratus anterior muscles. This article gives a lot of exercises that you can choose from to activate the serratus anterior muscles.

Some serratus anterior exercises that you can do include dumbbell pullover, modified push-ups, scapula push-ups, and many others. This article gives the many more of these exercises that you can do with or without equipment. In addition, the text below also gives exercises that you can do if you have a shoulder injury.

Serratus Anterior Exercises With Weights.

The serratus anterior muscles are found on your sides below the armpits. Serratus anterior muscles start from the surface of the ribs from the side of a chest.

These muscles are used to allow the rotation movement of the arm. In addition to that, it allows you to pull your scapula forward as well as around the rib cage. When moving the objects up above the head, the serratus anterior muscles get engaged to allow the motion. The serratus muscles can be developed by doing various weights. Below are weight exercises that you can to target the muscles.

Dumbbell Pullover.

Serratus Anterior Exercises - Dumbbell Pullover

This exercise targets the anterior, pecs, lats, and triceps. The dumbbell pullover is good for strengthening the upper body muscles. Having stronger muscles makes it easy to move, push, and carry things. To strengthen the muscles you can use a medium to the heavy dumbbell. You can follow these steps to do the dumbbell pullover exercise;

  1. Start by lying on the bench facing upwards while holding a dumbbell with both of your hands. Keep your feet planted on the ground.
  2. Engage your core and lift the dumbbell up above the chest and towards the roof.
  3.  Then lower your arms over your head keeping them straight until the biceps touch your ears.
  4. After that, bring the dumbbell back to your chest.
  5. You can do several reps according to your training plan.

Incline Barbell Straight Arm Raise.

The incline barbell straight arm raises exercise is good for developing the anterior muscles.  In addition to that, it also targets the pecs, delts, traps, and arm muscles. To make the exercise more intense, you can increase the weights. However, you must make sure that the weights are manageable.

That is, you must be able to exercise in the right form without being overpowered by heavy weights. Hence, you should choose the weights that can make you execute the exercise correctly. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by setting up the bench. You can set it to a 45-degree angle.
  2. Then grasp the barbell in an overhand grip. Your hands must be at shoulder-width apart. Keep your fully extended before moving the barbell.
  3. Lower the barbell towards your hips and drive it up before touching the hips.
  4. Repeat the motion

Incline Dumbbell Front Raise.

Serratus Anterior Exercises Physical Therapy.

Serratus Anterior Exercises - incline dumbbell front raise

This exercise targets the serratus and delts muscles. The incline barbell front raise strengthens these muscles and also add the size. To do the exercise, you can follow these steps;

  1. Start by sitting on the 45 degrees inclined bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Let the arms hang by your sides while fully extended.
  3. Pull up the dumbbells towards your hips and keep on driving the weights up. You can drive the dumbbells up until they are above the shoulders.
  4. Then pause in that position and count up to two before lowering the weights.
  5. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
  6. Repeat.

If you are experiencing upper body pains around the shoulders and serratus anterior, there are exercises that you can do to lower the pains.You can also lower the risks of shoulder injuries by doing different exercises. Below are the exercises that you can do to keep the muscles in good shape.

Wall Slides.

The wall slides active the serratus anterior muscles. As you lift the arms up, the muscles under the arm get attention.They get stretched thereby lowering the pain around that area. To perform the exercise, you can follow the steps below;

  1. Lift your arms up and rest them against the wall at shoulder height.
  2. Lean forward and slid your arms up above the head to form a ‘V’ shape.
  3. Keep your back in a neutral position and don’t let it form an arc.
  4. Then lower your arms slowly to the starting position.
  5. Repeat and do 2 to 3 sets of 1 or more reps.

Modified Push-Ups.

There are a lot of push-ups variations. In this case, you can do the push-ups that are in modified to plank.

This exercise targets the muscles around the rib cage and under the arms. In addition, other muscles that get worked include the chest and arm muscles. To do the exercise, you can follow the steps below;

  1. Kneel on the floor and plant your palms on the floor at a shoulder-width apart. Your arms must be fully extended to keep your upper body off the floor.
  2. Keep your upper arms facing away and engage the abs to push your chest down towards the floor.
  3. Lower your chest. Your chest may not go far to the ground.
  4. Return your upper body to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
Serratus Anterior Exercises - Modified Push-Ups

Scapular Raises.

This is another exercise that activates the serratus anterior muscles that might not be receiving attention. The shoulders also get exercised.

In addition, the scapular raises exercise to lower the risk of shoulder injuries. To do the exercise, you can follow the steps below;

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bend and feet planted on the floor.
  2. Let your fists rest on your thighs with the thumbs pointing to your head.
  3. Then pull the shoulder blades towards the floor.
  4. Keep the shoulder blades pinned to the ground and lift your arms up over your head until the arms are on the ground.
  5. Your arms must reach the ground on your back or over your head and then you can open up the hands.
  6. Return your arms to the starting position.
  7. Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Serratus Anterior Exercises No Equipment.

There are a lot of exercises that you can do without equipment to target the anterior muscles. Below are some of the exercises that you can do;


The traditional push-up moves are good for activating the serratus anterior muscles. In addition to that, push-ups also target the triceps, pecs, anterior deltoids, and many other upper body muscles. More so, the push-ups are good for building strength. To do the exercise, follow the steps below;

  1. Plant your hand palms on the ground. The hands must be wider than the shoulder-width apart distance. Keep the arms fully extended.
  2. Balance with your toes on the ground and keep your legs straight.
  3. Then lower your torso to the floor until the chest nearly touches the floor.
  4. Pause before driving your body back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat.

Wall Push-Up.

Serratus Anterior Exercises - Push-Ups Variation

Doig a wall-push-up hits the muscles differently compared to the traditional push-up. The traditional push-up is more intense than the wall push-up.However, the wall pull-up is good for the serratus anterior muscles more than the traditional push-up.

Interestingly, the wall push-up can be done by those who are suffering from shoulder injuries. To do the exercise, follow the steps below;

  1. Stand facing the wall with your foot about 2 feet away from the wall.
  2. Your hands must be fully stretched in front of you. Plant your palms to the wall.
  3. Then bend your arms and move your torso to the wall until your face almost touches the wall.
  4. You can return your body to the starting position.
  5. Repeat

Serratus Anterior Exercises For Winged Scapula.

To fix your winged scapula, you can do exercise that targets those muscles. A winged scapula is a shoulder plate that protrudes on your back instead of being flat.As such, to fix it, you must do exercises that will improve shoulder mobility. Inactive serratus anterior muscles can lead to the winged scapula.

Therefore, you must do exercises that will activate your serratus anterior muscles. Below are the exercises that you can do to fix your winged scapula.

Scapula Push-Up.

This exercise can activate the serratus anterior muscles thereby healing the winged scapula. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Plant your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders.
  2. Keeping your spine in a neutral position, engage your glutes and core to avoid sinking with your hips.
  3. Make sure that your arms are fully extended. Then bring your shoulder blades together and draw them apart before lowering your body.
  4. Then lower your body a bit and push back.
  5. Repeat.

Dumbbell Shoulder Protraction.

This is another exercise that can help you to fix your winged scapula. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Start by lying on your back on the ground or on a flat bench.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with one hand. Make sure that the dumbbell is of light weight.
  3. Raise the dumbbell up in front of you to straighten your arm.
  4. Lower your arm to the starting position.
  5. Do reps and then exercise your other arm.

In addition to the above exercises, some exercises that can be helpful in fixing the winged scapula include, pec stretch and release, dumbbell pull-over, wall slides,

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the strong serratus anterior muscles help you move your shoulders without any hassle.However, inactive serratus anterior muscles may expose your shoulders to injuries. However, there are exercises that you can do to develop serratus anterior muscle strength.

Whether you have the equipment or not, the paragraphs above give various exercises that you can do to strengthen your serratus anterior muscles.

Serratus Anterior Exercises - scapular raises

Some exercises for serratus anterior include push-ups, scapular raises, dumbbell pullover, and many others discussed above.To fix your shoulder injuries such as winged scapular, you can do exercises such as scapula push-up, wall slides, pec stretch, and release, and many other exercises discussed above.

Which exercises do you prefer to strengthen your serratus anterior? Share your experiences.

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