Strengthen Scapular Protractors

Strengthen Scapular Protractors

What’s our favorite exercise to strengthen scapular protractors?

  • Serratus anterior (image on left) & Pectoralis minor (image on right) both originate from portions of the scapula & insert onto the ribs. As a result, they both contribute to scapular protraction but their activation & involvement differs due to their structure. The serratus anterior has a large cross-sectional area & travels a large distance from origin to insertion, which result in a large mechanical advantage & role in movement. Basically, it is the most important muscle for this action!

  • The pectoralis minor is much smaller & travels a much shorter distance, so specifically targeting this muscle is almost impossible. Thus, for training we will focus specifically on the serratus anterior. Our favorite exercise for optimal activation is:

    • Cross body cable pushes with elbow at 90° flexion
    • Planks with end range scapula protraction (rounding your shoulders)

We can use these exercises in order to target the serratus anterior in order to strengthen our ability to protract your scapula. This will result in optimal performance & minimal injuries!


  • Neumann, Donald A. Kinesiology Of the Musculoskeletal System : Foundations for Physical Rehabilitation. 2016.

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