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The serratus anterior is often an overlooked muscle, yet it plays a vital role in stabilizing the shoulder blade and helping to generate power during upper-body movements. Strengthening this muscle can help improve posture, reduce pain, and boost performance in various activities. Here are five of the best exercises for targeting your serratus anterior muscles.

What is the Serratus Anterior Muscle & Why Is It Important?

The serratus anterior muscle is a set of nine thin muscles near the ribs. It is primarily responsible for stabilizing and moving the scapula upwards and forwards. In addition, it plays an important role in pulling the shoulder blade away from the rib cage during overhead arm movements.

This unique capability makes it a key muscle in various athletic activities such as swimming, weight lifting, and javelin throwing. Although its importance may sometimes be overlooked because of its lesser size when compared to other muscles, it is extremely important for maintaining proper posture throughout everyday activities.

Injury of the serratus anterior can result in medical conditions such as scapular winging or displacement, which may seriously impede physical movement and cause pain if left untreated.

Why is Strengthening the Serratus Anterior Muscle Important?

When the serratus anterior is weak, it can lead to poor posture and pain in the back and neck. Furthermore, this can cause poor sports performance or physical labor requiring a strong torso.

Strengthening the Serratus Anterior Muscle can help keep muscles and joints properly balanced, creating a better posture that reduces strain and injury risk. In addition, with improved muscular stability, athletes can increase their performance potential and reduce fatigue caused by having to work against incorrect body mechanics.

All these benefits together make strengthening the Serratus Anterior Muscle a good practice for anyone interested in improved health or greater athletic ability.

5 Serratus Anterior Exercises

Now that we know what the Serratus Anterior Muscle is, let’s look at 5 of the best exercises for targeting it.

  1. Wall Slide
  2. YTWL
  3. Prone Cobra
  4. Standing Punch
  5. Bent-Over Row

Wall Slide

The first exercise recommended for targeting the serratus anterior muscles is the Wall Slide. This simple exercise can be done by standing with your back against a wall; arms extended to the side. From there, slowly slide your arms up and down the wall, feeling the muscles in your shoulders, chest, and ribs working as you do so. To make this exercise more difficult, you can add resistance bands for added resistance.


The second recommended exercise is known as the YTWL. This exercise will target the serratus anterior muscles by having you start in a standing position with your arms straight out in front of you and your palms facing the ground. From there, you will mimic the letters Y, T, W, and L by performing a series of arm movements involving raising each arm simultaneously.

Prone Cobra

The third exercise recommended is called the Prone Cobra. This exercise requires you to lay on your stomach with your hands placed shoulder-width apart on the ground. From there, you will lift your upper torso off the ground, using your serratus anterior muscles to stay up and lower yourself back down.

Standing Punch

The fourth exercise is known as the Standing Punch. For this exercise, you will begin standing and punch upwards with one arm while keeping the other arm outstretched at shoulder level. This helps to strengthen both your serratus anterior muscles and shoulder muscles.

Bent-Over Row

Finally, the fifth exercise recommended for targeting your serratus anterior muscles is Bent-Over Row. For this exercise, you will stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend forwards from the hip, keep a straight back, and pull up on a weighted object while keeping your elbows close to your body.

How to Incorporate These Exercises in Your Workout Routine

  • Start with a warm-up routine to prepare your body for the exercises.
  • Incorporate wall slides, YTWLs, and prone cobras into a dynamic stretching routine or circuit training program for best results.
  • Consider doing standing punches and bent-over rows on alternate days to allow adequate rest between workouts to avoid overtraining the anterior muscles of the serratus.
  • Take breaks during each exercise session if needed, especially when doing standing punches and bent-over rows with weights. They require more energy output than other exercises targeting the serratus anterior muscle.
  • When incorporating weightlifting into your workout routine, start using light dumbbells or resistance bands and work up as you get stronger.
  • Finally, always finish with a cool-down period consisting of static stretching exercises such as shoulder rolls and deep breathing exercises to help reduce any soreness or stiffness of the serratus anterior muscles resulting from the workout.


Strengthening the Serratus Anterior Muscle is important for maintaining good posture, reducing pain and fatigue from incorrect body mechanics, and improving physical performance. By incorporating these five exercises into your regular workout routine, you can target this muscle group more effectively.

It may take some time to see results but don’t give up! With consistent effort and dedication, you’ll soon begin reaping the benefits of a stronger serratus anterior muscle.