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The Serratus Anterior - the secret to stabilizing those shoulders!

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

There is a muscle that tends to not get a lot of attention but plays a very vital role in the placement and range of motion of both the scapula and shoulder; let's take a look into the Serratus Anterior!

Because the Serratus Anterior is more of a phasic muscle, it is prone to weakness and instability, primarily due to muscle imbalance or faulty movement patterns that encourage the use and activation of “improper” surrounding muscles. These muscles often constrain the use of the Serratus Anterior, leading to its inability to maintain correct posture in both static and dynamic movements.

These main “obstructers” of the Serratus Anterior are the:

  • Levator Scapulae

  • Pectoral Minor

  • Rhomboid Major and Minor

When these muscles continue to contract and activate within improper movement we begin to overload them, reinforcing these biases/compensations leading to more instability and possible injury.

Since the needed muscles are shutting off and not assisting the tonic muscles try to take charge, but become tight and shortened. This tightness, in turn, places the scapula/shoulder into a forward rotating position (protraction) leading to the following issues:

  • Tightness & Pain: Neck, Mid-Back, & Shoulders

  • Instability in upper extremities, possibly resulting in poor posture

It is important to stretch those surrounding tonic muscles and strengthen the phasic muscles!

Check out a few of the ways I mobilize & strengthen my Serratus Anterior as well as my go to stretches for those tonic muscles!




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