Cory Gregory is the Co-Founder of MusclePharm.
You know you’re lean when you’ve got abs.
But when it comes to getting super freaky, you know you’re there when your serratus anteriors are absolutely diced.
The serratus anteriors are the finger-like muscles attached on your rib cage and they can undoubtedly make observers do a double-take if they’re super shredded.
Of course, it’s not easy to get there, but over the years I’ve managed to figure out what it takes to get the serratus so diced.
I really like to think my serratus region has helped separate my physique from others, and that’s a huge advantage for me when I’m getting ready for shows and photo shoots.
Every little advantage counts and I’ve taken a lot of time and worked through a lot of trial and error to figure out what works in that area, and it’s paid off time and time again.
A lot of people have asked me how I’ve been able to get the serratus muscles so pronounced and how I get them to “pop” when the shows and shoots come along.
There’s certainly some secrets I’ll gladly reveal, but before that, I also go back to three things when you’re dealing with the iron game: consistency, angles and effectiveness of the exercises you’re performing.
All are needed and all are important to building your physique and it all starts there, even when you’re dealing with a muscle like the serratus. It may not be a major muscle group like your back or legs, but putting forth that same effort and applying that same consistency on your serratus can help set your midsection apart.
Sure, it’s nothing revolutionary, but pounding these exercises can make a big difference. Both of these exercises open up the rib cage and put your arms over your head, which are two key factors in truly working this area at a high level.
It also goes back to angles and if your arch is not done properly, you will not hit these movements effectively. For an area like the serratus that can be difficult to target, that mind-muscle connection is key to getting the correct stretch and contraction of these muscles.
If you get that in sync, it allows you to really dial in your serratus and makes your physique even sharper and more unique. In this game, it’s all about standing out among your competition, and some shredded serratus can definitely do it.
Now, a little more detail on the movements.
The pullover was always one of Arnold Schwarznegger’s favorite exercises in those golden-era days and I’ve kept it in my routine for years.
For whatever reason it’s seemed to fallen out of favor, but its importance and benefits have never been lost on me.
I always kept the reps between 8-20 on each set, arching my back (as it sits on a sideways bench) and concentrating on a solid stretch, keeping my elbows tight to my head.
As for the ab wheel, dust off the cobwebs, drag it out of the attic or go drop $10 at your nearest Mega-Store and reap the benefits.
The fact is, the ab wheel has been overlooked for a long time, probably because it’s much more difficult than your typical ab machine exercise.
But I always knew it could thicken my ab muscles to get that dense and pronounced look and it does the same with the serratus muscles as well.
Again, the work is simple in description – 4-5 days per week of 50-100 reps – but that much volume with the trusty ab wheel can make a massive difference.
Concentrate on the stretch, keep your back TIGHT, make sure your midsection is doing the work and the ab wheel can pay big dividends in getting some majorly pronounced serratus muscles.
So add these two exercises to your regimen and put those serratus muscles to work. Done correctly and done consistently, and you just may be on your way to standing out and going from lean to freaky lean.
How to Perform a Dumbbell Pullover
- Dumbbell Pullovers - 1-2 times per week 4-6 sets of 8-20 reps
Form is key:
Step 1: Grab a dumbbell and lay down on a bench so that your upper back is perpendicular to the bench. Only your upper back should be on the bench, and your knees should be bent, with your body in a straight line from your knees to your head. (Your head can be slightly off or all the way off the bench)
Step 2: Place both hands under inner plate of the dumbbell and position the dumbbell over your upper chest with your elbows slightly bent. Make sure to flex your hips during the movement but keep them below the bench (they may also rise up slightly).
Step 3: Keeping yours slightly bent, lower the weight in an arc behind your head until you feel a strong stretch in your chest, lats and rib cage. The dumbbell will be below your head at this point, and your upper arms will be in line with your torso keep elbows tight to the head.
Step 4: Using that same arc, bring the dumbbell back to its original starting position in a controlled manner. Hold at chest level for a split-second before repeating the movement.
Step 5: Take a breath between reps, exhaling only when reps are completed. Repeat until the desired reps are reached and then put the dumbbell down. Weight can be increased between sets.
How to Perform Ab Wheel Rollouts
Ab Wheel Rollouts
Step 1: Kneel on the floor and, with the wheel in front of your legs, place your hands on both sides of the wheel. A pad or mat can be used for your knees for comfort.
Step 2: Keeping your core and upper body tight, roll the wheel forward, going as far as you can without your back rounding or arching. Your elbows should be slightly. Your spine and hips should remain stationary throughout the movement.
Step 3: Use your abs and core to roll the wheel back to your original starting position. Again, your upper body should stay tight throughout the movement. Make sure your abs are doing the work rolling the wheel back and not your arms.
Step 4: Perform each full rep in a controlled manner, completing the desired number of reps until your set is finished. To reduce the risk of injury, do not roll too far until your technique is mastered and you have increased strength during the movement. Your goal should be to get parallel to the floor.