The Serratus Anterior

Before the second part of my sun salutation anatomical breakdown, here is a quick look at the serratus anterior. This muscle is mentioned frequently in part two so I thought it would be helpful to understand this muscle a little more.



The serratus anterior is an major stabiliser of the shoulder blades (scapula). It originates on the side of the upper ribs (image above). It runs between the shoulder blade and the ribs and inserts onto inner edge of the shoulder blade. When it contracts, it pulls the shoulder blade forward and around the side of your ribcage (a movement known as protraction). This balances out the work of the middle trapezius and rhomboids (which retract - or draw the shoulder blades closer together). The serratus anterior also upwardly rotates the shoulder blade, a movement that is necessary in order to reach your arms overhead.


Serratus anterior was named for its finger like muscular origins that look serrated. “Serratus” comes from the Latin serrare meaning “to saw”.


Serratus is known as the boxer’s muscle because it is the strongest protractor (sending it forward) of the scapula. This movement is seen in a punch. Hence the nick name.


Here is a conversation between Stu Girling and David Kiel talking about the serratus anterior.


Zahir Akram has a number of qualifications in Human Biomechanics (the understanding of human movement) and Anatomy & Phsysiology. Zahir will be teaching various modules of our yoga teacher training programme beginning in May 2017 and is available for 121 bookings. For more information contact Zahir on 07577 422132.

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