CoreBody Blog

Keep Your Shoulder Blades On Your Back, Where They Belong!

The muscles around your shoulder blades and rib cage called Serratus Anterior serve as a postural role for your upper body, keeping your shoulder blades on your back, where they belong!

Our hand to back connection, engages front body to back body with the Serratus Anterior muscles providing “shoulder girdle stability”. Without shoulder stability, clients suffer from neck and shoulder tension, built up from poor posture, excessive sitting, and poor shoulder movement patterns.

Serratus Anterior, when properly engaged has these protective features

  • Protracts your shoulders preventing “winging” of your shoulders blades;
  • Helps keep your shoulder blades down, avoiding neck tension or pain;
  • Helps you to hold good posture;
  • Aids in respiration allowing for an open de-compressed rib cage

The Serratus Anterior is a large muscle that wraps around the outsides of your rib cage like long-taloned calls attaching underneath your should blades at their inner rims.

How to Protract the shoulders for stability with the Serratus Anterior

To stabilize the shoulders, we protract the shoulder blades. Protraction occurs when you press your arm bones forward as in a push up.  Pressing the heels of your hands into the foot bar, carriage, mat, peddles of the chair or against the push-thru bar, draws your shoulder blades away from each other, towards the front of your rib cage, stabilizing your shoulders.

If your serratus anterior fails to do this, your shoulder blades will ricochet right back into your body after you push, greatly decreasing the power and effectiveness of your effort – and possibly tweaking your shoulders. 

Winging + Collapsing Serratus Anterior & Rhomboids
Serratus Anterior + Rhomboids are engaged and the shoulder blades lie flat on the back in this plank

Functions of The Serratus Anterior

Serratus Anterior works with your rhomboids to keep shoulder blades down

Serratus Anterior and your Rhomboids co-engage keeping your shoulder blades down, as well as keeping them from flying apart or collapsing inwards.

Serratus Anterior + Rhomboids raise your arms above shoulder height

Movement of the arms is also contingent on strong functioning of these muscles in conjunction with the rotator cuff muscles.

When you think of pulling the back of your arm pits towards the ceiling when raising your arms, your serratus anterior on each side, tilt your shoulder blades upwards at their outer edges. Your lower trapezius as well, to help keep your neck free and clear.

Pilates builds shoulder stability when focusing on the Serratus Anterior. When properly engaged it helps keep your shoulder blades where they belong, on your back!

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