This is Brent coming at you with our
progressions video. I'm excited about this video because it's one of our first
I have to get my friend Rob Fluegel a shout out. He's one of the faculty for
the Maitland Manual Therapy courses that I had gone through a few months ago and
he came through one of my workshops, which was awesome. One of the
advancements and exercise selection courses. We started talking about how to
progress this particular exercise, being serratus anterior activation, and here's
what we kind of came up with. It started with some stuff he knew. We took some of
the overactive synergist stuff that I've talked about in previous videos, and what
we came up with I think is an exercise you guys are going to love, especially
for some of your more advanced individuals with a history of upper body
dysfunction. All of my athletic trainers with overhead athletes. All of my
physical therapists looking to progress their individuals outside of that rehab,
kind of acute rehab program, and of course all of my personal trainers who
are working on postural dysfunction with their clients.
I'm going to have my friend Yvette come out. She's going to show the Sahrmann technique
that this kind of all started from
first. I'm gonna have you go ahead and put your forearms against the wall,
parallel, just wider than shoulder width.
All right now what we're going to do is we're going to use the friction from the
wall to resist upward rotation of the scapula, to start activating the serratus
anterior. Now the hard part is of course, keeping tucked under, and drawn in.
So let's go ahead and see that she's going to slide her arms against the
wall. It's actually her body weight against the wall that's creating some
Good, let's see that again.
Alright so this is not a bad exercise. I do have my little issues with it. I think
it kind of limits how much flexion we can get. Of course, if we limit flexion,
we're not getting all the upward rotation we can. From my math, from my
refinements of the upper body dysfunction model,
I think the subscapularis has a propensity to get overactive for
serratus anterior, the way levator scapulae has a propensity to get overactive
to stabilize the scapula. Of course, we have pec minor as well, so I
would like to find methods of reciprocally inhibiting those muscles and I think we
can do that fairly effectively on this exercise. As well as the friction against
the wall, to me, is kind of bothersome.
It usually doesn't end up being very even. You'll find people kind of get stuck
at different points in the wall as you kind of go up the wall, higher and higher.
Some people's arms will come away from the wall and there will be less friction.
It's just not very even resistance throughout. So first things first, let's
figure out how to fix the friction thing, because I think that we can work on the
reciprocal inhibition thing, and get this completely straightened out, and we can
show you guys some really hard progressions.
So all we're going to do is we're going to have Yvette put a foam roll against
the wall, and then she's going to start with her hands against that.
Now this alone is a progression, guys, it takes a lot more to stabilize this foam roll
against the wall than it does to have the forearms against the wall, but as I
mentioned before this is progressions from our other video. If you guys want to
go back to serratus anterior activation you guys will see some of the beginning
exercises I use. I'm going to Yvette to draw in glutes tight, tuck under.
All right the biggest cue you're going to have to give here is people want to
start with the foam roll in the middle of their forearm. You need to make
sure they start with the form roll on their hands, and probably their hands a
little higher than they normally would to start, otherwise you will run out of
foam roll. Drawing in, now go ahead and push up.
You guys can see we have nice,
smooth flexion. We have all the upward rotation we can get because of that Yvette
can actually lean forward. Her face doesn't get in the way of the wall.
All right, back down.
Go ahead and this time I want you to really concentrate as you're lifting your
I want you to depress your scapula.
So depressing her scapula reciprocally inhibits her levator scapulae. It
happens a lot easier when we have a foam roll, because it's nice and smooth start,
we don't get that initial elevation. Let's go ahead and come back down.
There's also not as much resistance on the way back down, which I appreciate,
because the pec minor is definitely one of those muscles that has a propensity to
get really overactive for an inhibited serratus anterior. The way we
had it done before, there was a lot of friction pulling the arms back down.
Remember, downward rotation and depression is what the pec minor does
and we're already protracting to get more serratus anterior activity. So that
just pulling the arms down might reinforce that overactivity of the pec
Let's see one more before I make this even tougher. Now the kind of
paradoxical, weird muscle, that comes into play a lot with serratus anterior
inhibition is the subscapularis will often try to take over to stabilize the
the shoulder and the scapulothoracic shoulder girdle stability. It doesn't
work out very well obviously for the human body, and creates a lot of postural
dysfunction so we need to find a way to inhibit that muscle as well. All
we have to do is external rotation, so what we're going to have Yvette do is she's
actually going to take a very weak,
this is a light, light, light, fit loop. She's going to put it around her
This is a little tricky to get set up on your own, just so you know guys.
It'll take a little bit of practice.
Now, what I've done is if she
has a fit loop around her forearms, and I cue her to make sure that she stays
parallel here, as in elbows don't flare out, and hands can't collapse inward. She
has to then work to keep an external rotation of the shoulders which is going
to reciprocally inhibit subscapularis, and ensures that this stays totally
serratus anterior. We don't have subscapularis coming in to try to
stabilize the shoulder.
So let's go ahead and try this. How does that feel?
All right this time, I want to try to not elevate. All the way out.
This is actually a pretty good progression right here. This is very
challenging for Yvette.
I can see her having a real hard time maintaining external rotation, so I would
probably let her work on this.
I'm going to go ahead take this a little further, just so you guys see the other
So if I take this foam roll from her, I can go a little further. I can go a little
further by using a stability ball.
Guys, this is tough. This is super, super, tough. Right, so she's got to now keep
parallel here, and so keep those wrists pressing outward, elbows stay tucked in.
now try to press up, keeping the scapulae depressed.
Keep your wrists straight. Like I said, this might be a step beyond where I would
have Yvette go if she was training with me, but I wanted to show you guys this
You can make this incredibly tough, just by backing somebody's feet up.
Go ahead and back your feet up a little bit. That creates more resistance under the
ball. Go ahead and push up. It makes it harder and harder to maintain that
scapular stability, that scapular depression, maintain tucked under, and
maintained external rotation.
How are you feeling? Starting to feel it in your serratus anterior? I remember the
first time I did this particular variation, I got to 8, which maybe not
all that impressive. It took me a little while to get to 3 sets of 20 within
a warm-up circuit.
I think you guys are going to find this incredibly challenging. I think you guys
are going to get some great results.
Pay very, very, careful attention to your cues on this exercise, guys. Make sure
that people aren't dragging down their arms, recruiting a lot of pec minor. You're
keeping scapulae depressed and of course, forearms parallel, pressing out with
their wrists to keep external rotators activated.
Make sure you keep them drawn in and tucked under. If somebody can do all of
this, I think you guys will find that the strengthening that you get, the
reinforcement of the mobility you guys have been working on, will stick around
a lot longer.