Serratus Anterior Stretch

This blog post contains 7 of the best ways to perform a Serratus Anterior stretch.


Start here:

Serratus Anterior Release

Before stretching the Serratus Anterior, it is recommended to release this tight muscle first.

release serratus anterior

Instructions

  • Lie down on your side.
  • (The side that will be stretched will be the one that is closest to the floor.)
  • Place a foam roller underneath the Serratus Anterior muscle.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of your body weight on top of the foam roller.
  • Roll your body over the foam roller.
  • Make sure to cover the entire muscle.
  • Continue for 2 minutes on each side.

How to Stretch the Serratus Anterior

Note: It can be quite difficult to feel a stretch in the Serratus Anterior. Make sure that you try ALL of the different stretches as suggested below to see which one is the most effective for you.


1. Stretch in Side Lie

(This is my personal favorite Serratus Anterior stretch!)

side lie serratus anterior stretches

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your side.
  • (The side that will be stretched should be closest to the floor.)
  • Prop your torso up with your forearm resting on the floor.
  • Make sure to keep your upper arm perpendicular to the floor throughout this stretch.
  • Sink the weight of your torso into the shoulder.
  • Keep your shoulder completely relaxed.
  • Bow your torso towards the floor.
  • Take slow and deep breaths into the side of your rib cage.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your ribs.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

2. Floor Stretch

serratus anterior stretch on floor

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Assume the bottom of a push up position.
  • Place a block underneath the hand that is on the side that you will like to stretch.
  • Pull your shoulder blades backwards.
  • Lean your weight onto your shoulder that has the hand resting on a block.
  • Turn your torso away from this side.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

3. Chair Stretch

stretch to serratus anterior

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Reach behind you and place your hand onto side of the chair backing.
  • Pull your shoulder blade backwards.
  • Keep the hand anchored to the chair.
  • Lift your elbow up slightly.
  • Keep your shoulder completely relaxed.
  • Turn your torso away.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

4. Wall Stretch

wall stretch for serratus anterior

Instructions:

  • Place your hand onto a wall at shoulder height.
  • Assume a lunge position.
  • Pull your shoulder blade backwards.
  • Lean your body weight into the arm that is on the wall.
  • Turn your torso away from this side.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

5. Side Sitting Lean

how to stretch serratus anterior

Instructions:

  • Sit sideways on the floor.
  • Place your hand on the floor towards the side of you.
  • Keep this arm completely straight throughout this stretch.
  • Sink your body weight onto this arm.
  • Make sure to keep your shoulder completely relaxed.
  • Bow your torso towards this side.
  • Lift your hips slightly off the ground as you place more of your body weight onto the arm.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

6. Hanging Stretch

serratus anterior stretch hanging

Instructions:

  • Hold onto something above you.
  • Bring your arm and shoulder blades backwards.
  • Allow your body to sink down.
  • Keep your shoulder completely relaxed.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

7. Eccentric Strengthening Exercise

(This exercise will strengthen the Serratus Anterior muscle as it is lengthening.)

eccentric serratus anterior strengthening

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your side.
  • (The upper side will be targeted.)
  • Hold onto an appropriate amount of weight.
  • Straighten your arm so that it is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep this arm straightened throughout this exercise.
  • Elongate and reach your arm towards the roof.
  • Pull your shoulder blade towards the spine as you slowly lower the weight.
  • The movement should be coming from the scapula gliding back onto the rib cage.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

Any Questions?

Do you have any other questions that you would like to ask me? Feel free to leave me a question in the comment section.


a) What causes a tight Serratus Anterior?

rounded shoulders serratus anterior

One of the main causes of a tight Serratus Anterior is having the Rounded Shoulders posture.

When your shoulders slouch forwards, the shoulder blade protracts forwards along the rib cage.

This places the Serratus Anterior muscle in a chronically shortened position.

Over time – this can lead to tightness in the Serratus Anterior.

b) What does a tight Serratus Anterior feel like?

One may experience tightness and/or pain at the sides of the rib cage.

It can also lead to difficulties moving the shoulder above shoulder height.

c) Can the Serratus Anterior cause rib pain?

As the Serratus Anterior attaches directly onto the ribs 1-9, any issue in this muscle can refer pain into the side of the rib cage.


Serratus Anterior Weakness and Winged Scapula

winged scapula

The Serratus Anterior is the primary muscle that anchors the scapula flat onto the rib cage.

If there is weakness and/or poor control of the Serratus Anterior muscle, this can lead to a Winged Scapula.

This is where the medial border of the shoulder blades protrudes off the rib cage.

If you experiencing this scapular winging, it is likely that you will need to learn how to activate and strengthen your Serratus Anterior.

For more information: Serratus Anterior Exercises for Winged Scapula.


Conclusion

If you have tightness and/or pain around the sides of the rib cage, this may suggest that you have a tight Serratus Anterior.

Try out the Serratus Anterior stretches as suggested on this blog post to help relax this muscle.

Remember – it can be quite difficult to stretch this muscle. Try to position your body to the best of your ability to achieve the desired stretch.


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

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3. Start doing the exercises!


Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

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