The serratus anterior packs a punch.
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If you've ever thrown a punch, or watched one being thrown, you've witnessed the serratus anterior muscle in action. The effectiveness of a punch comes from the scapula protracting and retracting. In addition to being essential for a fight, they're also helpful in flight, as they are used in breathing. They keep the shoulder blades stable and spread the ribs for inhaling.
Shrug it Out
Pec shrugs will isolate and work the serratus anterior. Choose a light dumbbell to start. Lie on the floor or on a bench. Holding the dumbbell, extend your right arm with the weight up perpendicular to the floor. Go straight up with the weight, pushing the dumbbell toward the ceiling, elevating the shoulder blade off the floor or bench, then let it come back down. Work one arm at a time for 10 repetitions. Repeat with the other arm. You can gradually increase the weight to a moderate amount of weight, but nothing heavy. Start with one set of 10 shrugs, and work your way up to three sets.
Take one fairly light dumbbell and lie on the floor or a bench. Put the weight between both hands and bring it overhead. Lock your arms straight up perpendicular to the floor. Keeping your arms straight, bring them back behind and level with your head, then raise your arms back to the start position. If you are on a bench, the weight can drop a little lower when it is behind your head. Start with one set of 10 and work your way up to three sets.
Take it to the Water
The serratus anterior is one of the main muscles used in the supine position when swimming the backstroke. Warmup with arm circles and stretch your triceps and shoulders. Swim six sets of 50 yards of backstroke with a 20-second rest at the end of each 50. Work up to swimming 10 sets of 50-yard backstroke. Then advance to six sets of 100 yards.
Yoga Wheel Pose
The upward facing bow, or wheel pose in yoga, works the serratus anterior, and might work on your courage, too. Lie supine on the floor. Bend your knees and put your feet on the floor with your heels close to your fanny. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, fingers pointing toward your shoulders. Press your feet into the floor, exhale and lift your buttocks off the floor. Press your hands into the floor and your and lift up onto the crown of your head. Press your feet and hands into the floor, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms. An easier version is to do the skill while on top of a stability ball for support.