In today’s last muscle of the day of the week we are are finishing off our shoulder focus week with a muscle that is misunderstood in overall shoulder function and movement.
That muscle is the Serratus Anterior.
This muscle is always considered the culprit in what people call excessive scapular winging and its role in that is completely misinterpreted.
The main job of this muscle is to help provide some stability to the shoulder, help elevate and lower the ribs and help move the arm back down when it is in a raised position.
So why is this muscle involved in shoulder movement and stability?
It usually kicks in when the other structures of the shoulder, specifically the rotator cuff are not working properly.
Usually they are loaded up with adhesion from over use, which makes the muscles a lot weaker and less flexible.
When this happens the shoulder can’t move how its supposed and needs to recruit other muscles around the shoulder to help out.
This is where the serratus comes in and when we see that excessive scapular winging it is a compensation to help make up for a lack of function in the rotator cuff.
Almost every musculoskeletal provider and trainer/coach completely misunderstands this and thinks its a problem with the serrates itself and try to address that directly with strengthening or stabilization of the serratus with any of the following:
Push up plus
The problem here is that the serratus doesn't need more strength, what it needs is to be unburdened by getting the rotator cuff back to normal functioning!
The important lesson here is finding someone who can interpret everything going on in your function and not just try to put it into one simple category that it must be your serratus because you have excessive winging.
The difference is in the details!