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Brian Schiff’s Blog

Injury Prevention, Sports Rehab & Performance Training Expert

Tag: serratus anterior

This is a follow-up to my previous post with respect to scapular strengthening for optimal shoulder function. Serratus anterior weakness is a common issue with overhead athletes, especially throwers. It may present clinically as scapular winging, however, it often fatigues quickly with repetitive throwing and contributes to scapular dyskinesia and shoulder dysfunction. Since throwing is an asymmetrical activity, I like to include some unstable and progressive strengthening exercises for the dominant arm.

In the video below (as part of my ‘Functionally Fit’ column for PFP Magazine) I will demonstrate how to use a bottom up kettle bell approach to strengthen the serratus anterior muscle.

To see the full article with progressions and regressions check out the link below:

http://fit-pro.com/article-4136-Unilateral-bottom-up-serratus-punch.html

By far the most common problem I see in the clinic is shoulder pain. Most of the time it is related to overuse, rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement and labral tears. Because we are geared more toward sports rehab, I also treat a lot of overhead athletes (baseball players, volleyball players and swimmers).

A common thing I will see in those suffering from impingement or rotator cuff pain is scapular winging. Most of the time the muscle is simply deficient in strength/endurance and it along with the lower trap become overpowered by the upper trap, levator or even the rhomboids. Shortened scapulohumeral muscles, poor posture and pec tightness can also impact winging.

There are many traditional exercises such as serratus punches, push-ups with a plus, and serratus plank push-ups to name a few, but I wanted to include a closed chain exercise that can be very effective for facilitating proper activation of the serratus - quadruped rocking.

In the video, I show it with both hands fixed on the floor progressing to one hand (on the involved side). The key is quality of movement throughout. After you check out the video, be sure to scroll down and click the link to a full column I wrote for PFP magazine on this exercise as it further explains the technique and application.

Click here to read the online column for PFP Magazine.