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Co-Activating the Trapezius and Serratus Anterior to Expand the Chest

Take a look at the videos on shoulder anatomy and kinematics. Now, let's see how to link the scapulae and ribcage to expand the chest in Full Arm Balance (handstand). This has two effects: first, it helps to stabilize the shoulder girdle. Second, it aids in taking a deeper breath by using the serratus anterior to expand the chest with the arms overhead. Click here for a cue on engaging this muscle with the arms at the sides in Dandasana. This is the first step in using it with the arms overhead.

Here’s the Anatomy:

anatomy of the serratus anterior
anatomy of the trapezius the trapezius and serratus anterior in full arm balance
Here's the Cue:

Once you're up in Full Arm Balance, draw the shoulders away from the ears by engaging the lower third of the trapezius. Then on your inhalation, gently attempt to drag the hands apart. Visualize the serratus anterior expanding the chest. Be sure to check out how to balance the forearms and wrists in this pose and also in Downward Facing Dog.

Also, feel free to check out our blog, The Daily Bandha.


Ray and Chris

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