- The serratus anterior is dagger shaped muscles that protract the scapula.
- They are critical stabilizers for all pushing movements.
- Scapula pushups are a corrective movement that targets the serratus anterior.
For Part II of the Muscle KO series we’ll be looking at the serratus anterior, the “boxer’s muscle”, which is incredibly important for stabilization during pushing movements. In the figure, Manny Pacquiao’s serratus anteriors are the dagger-shaped muscles that run along his rib cage. The most important function of these muscles is to protract (shift forward) the scapula.
The reason scapular stabilizing muscles are so important is that the scapula does not have strong bony attachments like other bones. Instead, the weight of the scapula and arm is supported by attachments to the clavicle which attaches to the sternum. This arrangement allows for increased scapular mobility but decreased stability. Muscles then take on stabilizing roles and, if weak, can lead to dysfunctional movement.
In cases where patients have a weak or dysfunctional serratus anterior, “winging” of the scapula is observed when they push against a wall (see figure). This is to say that loss of control of the serratus anterior leads to destabilization of the scapula and inability to brace when pushing.
At Prevail, the serratus anterior is most obviously worked in the scap pushup (see figure below). These pushups are done with locked elbows and build up the serratus anterior and improve scapular mobility. Corrective exercises like the scap pushup prepare your stabilizing muscle groups to assist in bigger lifts.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Anatomy Course 2017
B.S. – Cellular Molecular Biology (Westmont)
M.D. Candidate – University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Tyler was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California and began training at Prevail in October 2016. While at Westmont he graduated summa cum laude, led a student-run homeless outreach program, and volunteered with Hospice of Santa Barbara.
After Tyler’s mother was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), he became interested in the cellular mechanisms behind the disease. He conducted his Major Honors project at Westmont and conducted summers of research at Harvard Medical School studying RA. Tyler is interested in orthopedic surgery and is currently conducting a systematic review on the outcomes of reverse shoulder reconstructions. His research has resulted in seven presentations, three at national medical conferences.