This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.
There are muscles that everyone knows and loves, like the pecs, biceps, delts, abs, obliques, quads, and glutes. And then there are muscles that everyone loves without even knowing it, such as the brachialis, the vastus medialis, and perhaps the most overlooked yet aesthetically pleasing muscle of all, the serratus anterior.
If you’ve ever witnessed a bodybuilder strike the classic “front lat spread” pose (standing tall with a puffed chest and fists on hips), you’ve seen the serratus anterior (SA) rippling just below the armpits. Located on either side of the ribcage, the muscle has a serrated appearance (hence its name), and on particularly chiseled bodies, it resembles a set of fingers squeezing either side of the upper torso.
The primary function of the SA is to protract (i.e. pull forward) the scapula, like when you’re throwing a punch (that’s why it’s also referred to as the “boxer’s muscle”). The muscle also plays a key role in the upward rotation of the scapula, such as when you raise a weight in front of you or press it overhead, and in the elevation of the ribcage when you breathe. And because it helps stabilize the scapula during arm movements, strengthening it can help reduce your risk of injury—especially in your shoulders.
Your move: Start giving the SA the attention it deserves in your workouts by performing moves that call it into action, such as the scapular pushup, the scapular pullup, punches, and any overhead pressing movement.
Need some more inspiration? Check out the six best serratus exercises.
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