Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

What Are the Best Evidence-Based Strengthening Exercises for Serratus Anterior?

December 9, 2021

The serratus anterior muscle is located on the side of your chest and attaches your scapula to your ribs. The purpose of this muscle is to stabilize the scapula, especially during overhead movements. Its specific actions are scapular upward rotation and protraction which are important movements for many movements in rock climbing.

Weakness of the serratus anterior is a common impairment contributing to shoulder impingement syndrome and often associated with pain and dysfunction in the neck, thoracic spine, and ribs. This muscle often gets inhibited or weak in response to postural changes. Many of these postural changes can be found in the usual “climber’s posture” where the shoulders are rotated inward, the thoracic spine is rounded forward, and neck posture is also pushed forward.

While nearly every shoulder exercise will load the serratus anterior muscle, there are certain exercises that strengthen this muscle more effectively. Using electromyography, researchers have determined the best exercises to activate and strengthen the serratus anterior. Watch this video to see the 5 best evidence-based exercises to target the serratus anterior.

If you have shoulder, neck, or thoracic spine pain click here to schedule a free consultation to see if weakness to your serratus anterior may be a contributing factor to your symptoms.