How to Strengthen the Serratus Anterior

Push-ups strengthen your serratus anterior muscles.
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The serratus anterior muscle is one that is not as noticeable as your shoulder or arm muscles, but is nonetheless functionally important. The surfaces of your nine upper ribs closest to your sides are covered with the serratus anterior. The muscle connects your rib cage to your shoulder blade. As a stabilizer, your serratus holds your shoulder blades in place. When the serratus contracts, your shoulder blades separate and rotate slightly upward. If you have a weakness in this muscle, your shoulder blades will wing outward and add to poor posture. Specific exercises strengthen the serratus and correctly position your shoulder blades.


    Step 1

    Begin on your hands and knees. Keep your arms straight. Position your hands slighty wider than shoulder-distance apart. Face your fingertips forward.

    Step 2

    Straighten your legs behind you. Place your toes on the floor with your heels pointing toward the ceiling. Lower your hips until your spine forms a straight line from your shoulders to your hips. Leave your knees on the floor if you cannot perform a complete push-up, but still lower your hips to align your spine.

    Step 3

    Inhale, bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. Flare your elbows out to the sides. Contact your chest to the floor if possible.

    Step 4

    Exhale, straighten your arms and return to the starting position. Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 push-ups to strengthen your serratus anterior.

Snow Angel

    Step 1

    Lie face up on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.

    Step 2

    Rest your arms on the floor at your sides. Face your palms toward the ceiling. Relax your shoulders into the floor and press the shoulders towards your hips.

    Step 3

    Keep your upper arms on the floor, bend your elbows slightly and slide your arms away from your sides to approximately a 45-degree angle.

    Step 4

    Exhale and glide your arms along the floor until you can touch your hands over your head. Keep your arms in contact with the floor.

    Step 5

    Inhale and slide your arms back to the starting position. Complete eight to 12 snow angels.

Incline Shoulder Raise

    Step 1

    Hold onto a dumbbell in each hand. Sit on an incline bench that is on a 45-degree angle. Rest your back against the inclined back pad.

    Step 2

    Extend your arms toward the ceiling with your hands over your shoulders. Keep only a slight bend in your elbows.

    Step 3

    Exhale and raise the backs of your shoulders off the bench to raise the dumbbells into the air.

    Step 4

    Inhale and lower your shoulders to the starting position. Complete eight to 12 shoulder raises. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat.


    • Perform your strengthening exercises for the serratus anterior two days a week with two days of rest in between workouts.


    • Speak with your doctor before beginning any strength training program.

    Things You'll Need

    • Dumbbells

    • Incline bench

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