As you prepare for shirtless season, it’s time to forget your “Arms Five Days a Week” program and start focusing on your serratus. The serratus muscles run between your chest and your shoulder blades and, when they’re defined, make those diagonal cuts you see on shredded boxers. Combine them with wide latissimus dorsi (those huge, wing-like muscles that most people mean when they talk about back day), and you’ll start building the torso of a fighter without ever stepping in the ring.
While there aren’t a lot of moves specifically for the serratus, you can actually hit it along with your lats with one old-school move that deserves more love. It’s called a dumbbell pullover and, besides making your lats more flexible (important for just about any back exercise), it’ll make those serratus muscles pop like crazy. Personally, after adding these regularly to our own workouts, We not only experienced a bigger, more muscular back, but also our front squat mobility increased dramatically.
Are you sold yet? Good. Here’s how to do a perfect dumbbell pullover:
- Lay across the short side of a bench press with a moderately heavy dumbbell.
- Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips, allowing your body to arch around the bench. Your head should complete the arch so you end up looking behind you, upside down.
- Hold the dumbbell above your chest, elbows slightly bent, and fingers pointed toward your head.
- Keep the dumbbell about an inch above your chest and bring it back toward your face. Keep the same bend in your elbows and the same spacing between the bell and your body.
- Send your arms overhead, keeping the same arch around the bench and bend in your elbows.
- Once you almost reach the dumbbell to the floor behind you, bring the bell back up, making sure to keep the bell as close to your body as possible without touching.
- Return your weight to the upper chest and repeat.
If you’re having trouble reaching back far enough, your lats are probably tight. An easy way to tell is if you feel your hips lift up before your upper arms are parallel to the floor. If this is a problem, make sure you stretch your lats first.
This exercise is best when performed in sets of eight to 12 with moderate weight. Don’t go extremely heavy with this movement. Spend your energy on keeping good form with slow, controlled movement.