If you're like many women, you may tend to work out only the parts of your body you can see, such as your quadriceps, triceps and abs. While these muscles play the leading roles in producing movement, other muscles work quietly as the supporting cast. One of these pushing and pulling muscles is the serratus anterior, which is a broad muscle that covers the sides of the upper ribcage. It assists other muscles in your chest, back and shoulders to move the shoulder blades away from the center of your body and to rotate them in various directions. Without the serratus anterior's help, the leading actors will not perform well.
Dumbbell Chest Press
Lie on your back on an exercise bench and hold two 15-pound dumbbells over your chest with your arms extended and your knuckles facing out to your sides.
Inhale and lower the weights to your upper ribs near your shoulders with your elbows pointing down to the floor.
Exhale and press the weights back to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Incline Shoulder Raise
Adjust the bench to about 45 degrees and sit on it. Raise the 15-pound dumbbells over your upper chest and shoulders.
Exhale and raise your shoulder slightly toward the dumbbells. Keep your elbows straight.
Inhale and retract your shoulders downward. Perform two to three sets of eight to 10 reps.
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Bend your torso forward at your hips and keep your knees slightly bent with your arms hanging down below your torso.
Exhale and lift the weights toward your torso near your armpits. Do not hunch your back, and keep your elbows close to your ribs.
Inhale and lower the weights to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Standing Dumbbell Press With Twist
Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand over your shoulders with your elbows close to your body.
Exhale and turn your torso to your left, pressing your right arm overhead. Inhale and lower the weight to your shoulder and turn your torso back to the starting position.
Exhale and turn your torso to your right and press the left weight over your head. Inhale and return to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 10 reps per side.
Things You'll Need
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.