These Serratus Anterior Exercises Get Real Results In No Time At All
In bodybuilding, as in many sports, aesthetics and ideal body proportions are important. Many people forget about this and just chase general muscle mass.
Now consider a small muscle group located on the ribs called the serratus. Although they are small in size, they play a significant role in the overall picture.
Embossed and voluminous muscles on the ribs perfectly emphasize well-developed abs so to understand how to pump up these serrated muscles you need to understand what areas they play a role in.
If you’ve spent any amount of time studying the anatomy and basic muscular functions you’ll understand that it’s not possible to select specific exercises for these superhero muscles.
It simply doesn’t exist. They only actively work in certain movements, for example, in chest and shoulder training. The serratus anterior muscles can’t be pumped with isolation movements, but there is a group of exercises that can load them as much as possible. We’ll get into these shortly.
Anatomy And Function Of The Serratus Anterior Muscles
Located in the front of the chest, the upper part of the serratus is covered by the pectoral muscle, and the lower part is on the surface of the ribs.
The muscle fibers are directed back and up, covering the outer surface of the ribs and passing under the scapula. This is a list of some of the functions it performs:
- Shifts the scapula forward and outward
- Raises arms above horizontal with the participation of other muscle groups;
- Promotes the expansion of the chest
Given the functions performed, we can now determine the best way to pump these desirable serratus muscles, namely, the exercises that are most suitable for developing these muscles.
In training, you need to perform movements that are physiologically aligned to the function of each muscle.
In other words, when it comes to serratus anterior exercises we can see that based on the way these muscles are designed to operate, our exercise selection will be focused on pumping the pectorals, shoulders and back.
As previously mentioned, it’s not possible to isolate and train these jagged, tooth-like muscles. They work strictly as a supporting muscle group in various exercises.
How To Train The Serratus Anterior Muscle
As strange as it may sound, it is believed that the best way to enhance these muscles is when you stand in front of a mirror and do a bunch of posing. Seriously.
The lat pose especially hits at this target muscle. Let’s consider this in more detail.
- Take the correct position – feet shoulder-width apart, stand straight, rest your hands on the sides of the body
- The whole process happens in the upper body. Start by straining your lats while simultaneously arching your lower back and pushing your pecs forward
- First, the shoulder girdle will move back, and then forward along with the elbows
- The shoulder blades should be spread apart as much as possible.
Having felt the maximum tension, you need to keep it and hold it as long as possible. It is at this point that the serrated muscles on the ribs receive the maximum static load.
Do at least three of these poses, stretching after each round to relax all your muscle groups. That covers training these muscles without any weights so let’s look into using some weights now.
How To Build Serrated Muscles With Weights
There are several exercises that put a load on these rib muscles. For a general understanding, here’s a list of all of them according to the main groups.
- Bench Press. Any chest press exercise promotes the development of the serratus. The inclination of the bench can be different as well as the choice of the equipment. This is even possible in a bench press machine.
- Inclination. Any tilt of the bench engages the target muscle. Use dumbbells, a cable crossover or do flyes.
- Press Up. Any shoulder press movement rocks the serratus. Whether you use a barbell, dumbbells, exercise machines or special techniques such as the Arnold or Bradford bench press, all of these engage the serratus.
- Standing Upright Rows. Pull up to the chin.
The whole complex aimed at pumping the chest and shoulders can activate the serratus muscle, even at home. There is one exercise, however, that makes this muscle work the hardest and that’s the dumbbell pullover.
There are various techniques for performing a pullover using dumbbells, a barbell, an incline bench, straight arms and so on. We’ll focus on the classic version with dumbbells.
This exercise is very valuable for young athletes because it can make the chest deeper which will make the chest more pronounced.
The pullover is aimed at the formation of the pectorals and includes the broadest part of the back, the triceps and serratus anterior. This exercise used with increasing weights over time strains the serratus muscles more than any other method.
That’s the reason this is the best exercise to achieve the formation of muscles on the ribs. Let’s move on to the proper technique and take a closer look at how to increase the size of these muscles.
- Lay across a bench with your upper back locked into position. Rest your feet firmly on the floor with a 90-degree angle of the knees. As an alternative to a bench you can use a chair or fitball.
- Take a dumbbell from one side with your palms together and facing the ceiling. Lift it above your chest.
- Maintain a slight bend in the elbows so you can avoid possible injury. Position yourself so that your pelvis is below shoulder level.
- Lower the dumbbell behind your head while inhaling, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. Lower until you feel a strong stretch in your back. The greater the range of motion, the more the serratus anterior muscles contract.
- Use the optimal weight that will enable you to perform 12-15 reps for 3-4 sets. Reverse the motion as you exhale.
The pullover was a sought-after exercise in the golden era of bodybuilding for a reason.
How To Build Your Rib Muscles With Crunches
One last thing to note is that any abdominal training contributes to the development of the intercostal muscles.
Naturally, the stress on these muscles can be increased by doing exercises that emphasize one side of the body at a time such as side crunches or diagonal leg raises.
You’re now armed with enough knowledge to develop your rib muscles by means of serratus anterior exercises that you can even do at home.