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Anterior Serratus Pushups

author image Joshua Bailey
Joshua Bailey has been writing articles since 2006 with work appearing at Bodybuilding.com and 2athletes.com. Bailey holds the following certifications: NASM-CPT, NASM-PES, NASM-CES and NSCA-CSCS. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Anterior Serratus Pushups
A young man is doing pushups. Photo Credit SanyaSM/iStock/Getty Images

Anterior serratus pushups target the muscles along the sides of your chest. The serratus anterior muscles are responsible for guiding your shoulder blades safely around your chest and help create forward extension of your shoulders. Two versions of serratus anterior pushups can be done. Each version provides its own challenges and benefits.

Pushup Plus

The pushup plus is what people traditionally think of as the anterior serratus pushup. This exercise takes the traditional pushup exercise and adds one extra movement at the end of the lift to really challenge the serratus muscles. Get into pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body fully extended. Perform a traditional pushup by bending at your elbows until your arms make a 90-degree angle, then push your arms back to full extension. Traditional pushups simply stop at full extension of your arms with a straight line from your shoulder to your upper back to your other shoulder. The twist comes at the full extension of the arms: push the area of your upper back upward so it is 2 to 3 inches higher than your shoulders. Repeat as many as desired.

Pulse Plusses

Pulse plusses can also be referred to as anterior serratus pushups. The key difference between this version and the pushup plus is that the traditional pushup is eliminated from the lift and the emphasis is on the plus alone. Assume normal pushup position and start with a straight and flat line running from shoulder to shoulder. Now, push on the floor trying to get your upper back 2 to 3 inches higher than your shoulders. Once this position is reached, quickly relax, reforming the straight, flat, line between your shoulders. Continue repeating this small motion quickly. This quick repetition is commonly called a “pulse” movement in exercise training lingo.


The pushup plus is best used to develop coordination and transition of strength between your chest and serratus anterior muscles. These two muscle groups serve similar purposes and improved coordination will allow movement of the hands away from the body to become more powerful. For instance, boxers require a similar motion and can benefit from this improved coordination. The pulse plus exercise helps improve muscular endurance of the serratus anterior. This is crucial for individuals having trouble with scapular stabilization and posture. For instance, any athlete involved in overhead throwing sports should consider adding pulse plusses to her routine.


Body weight is the main form of resistance for both of these exercises. However, using resistance bands or a weight vest can increase the challenge of the lifts. Remember to maintain a straight line in the back when adding extra resistance because it will cause increased downward pressure on your spine. These exercises are not designed to treat any medical condition and you should consult your doctor if you have had or think you have any injury that might impair your ability to protract your shoulder.

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