I wanted to share with everyone the best serratus anterior exercises you can do at home to help make those abs you’ve been working hard on to look their best. The muscles that frame the abs, like the obliques, are just as important to develop as the actual six-pack muscles.
The good thing here is that a whole lot of equipment isn’t needed. Just a few light dumbbells, since we’re not looking to add volume here, or your own body is good enough to make these muscles accentuate the abdominals.
One of the serratus anterior’s main purposes is to help with shoulder movement. The muscle runs from the rib cage to underneath the shoulder blades, or scapula, and pulls the shoulder down as well as moving it forward or upward.
(Photo: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker)
How to Get Your Abs Looking “Tight”….
Here’s my drill-down of exercises that’ll help you get your abs looking chiseled and cut. You don’t have to do them in the specific order I’ve listed them in—I only numbered them based on their effectiveness in my own workouts.
I do want to stress that you’ll want to use lighter weights for these exercises. Since our targeted muscles are not of the larger set, like the pecs for example, we want to keep from putting too much stress on this smaller set of muscle.
1. Pullovers - This is perhaps, out of all the other serratus anterior exercises, the most discussed exercise for getting the best results when aiming to craft the ribbed-look over your rib cage. While the Lats are the main muscle being worked here, the serratus is meant to act as a stabilizer, and could be a good starting point to warm up the muscle. To do these, lie on a bench while holding a pair of dumbbells or a single db cupped in both hands. To perform one repetition hold out the dumbbell over your body and lower it down past your head. Once you feel the stretch in the ribs, bring it back up to the starting position.
2. Serratus Pushups - The starting position is similar to the standard plank, with your weight resting on the forearms and toes. Drop your body toward the floor, as if you were doing a pushup, but make sure the shoulder blades angle into each other. Push with the elbows to arch the upper part of your back. The shoulder blades will pull apart and activate the serratus anterior in the process.
These can also do this against a wall. With the arms extended, perform the same movement as above to stimulate the shoulder girdle.
3. Dumbbell Press - While lying on a bench, hold a dumbbell straight over the body and press forward, or up in this case, so the shoulder blades get raised just off the bench, or floor if you don’t happen to have a bench.
4. Overhead Press - This is one of the more potent of the serratus anterior exercises because it will also help to stimulate other muscles at the same time.
This isn’t too much of a complicated exercise. But some tips to help perform this lift correctly would be to grip the barbell with the hands near to two inches wider than your shoulders—to reduce shoulder and wrist strain—and keep your head tilted back slightly so the bar can pass without you getting punched in the face.
5. Serratus Crunches - It’s best to do these while lying on the floor. While holding a set of dumbbells, just as you were going to do the dumbbell press, perform a crunch. Make sure you keep your arms parallel to the ceiling, and reach as far as you can. Hold the crunch for at least a couple of seconds, and then return to the starting position.
If you want more of a challenge you can try hanging serratus crunches. These are done by simply gripping a pullup bar and elevating your legs to your sides as much as possible. The side you elevate will contract, while the opposite side will get a good stretch. Alternate from sided to side, and make sure each rep is controlled and not carried through using momentum from the previous rep.
If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to get your abs looking their best, I’ve written a few tips that will help you move beyond the typical six-pack sticking points.
Even though targeting the obliques is important to sculpt a nice set of abs, I think the exercises above are a good starting off point. Simply adding them into your current abdominal routine will get you seeing some pretty stunning results.
But, don’t forget while serratus anterior exercises will help you sculpt your abs, your diet is the most important part in the equation. You’ll need to focus on getting lean before you start hearing all those oohs and aahs.