Most bodybuilders enter the gym and tackle large, compound movements. After working through their 6 or 8 or 10 sets, they move on to isolation exercises, targeting the back, chest, legs, shoulders and arms. Sometimes at the very tail end of a routine, they'll add a few sets for abdominals or forearms. They believe they've achieved a complete, full-body workout and covered all their bases required to build a complete physique. However there is one muscle group, which is evident in every front and side pose in bodybuilding, which they overlook, much of the time: The serratus.
The serratus is a set of muscles, which connects the lats, pectorals, intercostals, and external obliques. This small muscle group resembles a set of fingers, and is truly the union point for the back and front sides of a bodybuilder- the minority muscle group that ties everything together and sits in the direct center of the body on either side. Properly developed serratus muscles accentuate the lats and make the athlete look over onstage. They also deliver a sort of 'finish' that you see among seasoned competitors. Unlike many other body parts which are measure with a tape measure, the completeness of the serratus is measured by the eye, meaning the smaller / drier man can win this battle every time.
Functionally, the serratus pulls the shoulder forward and down. The serratus muscles are utilized in movements such as lat pull downs, chin-ups, dumbbell or barbell pullovers, and most effectively, on the Nautilus Pullover Machine. The bodybuilder should place extra effort into mentally focusing upon the serratus when the emphasis of the workout is upon this muscle group. Move through the repetitions slowly, concentrating upon feeling the burn in the targeted region. Form should be strict, and repetitions should be in the medium to high range. The rib cage muscles should be sore from DOMS in the 1-3 days after this workout, especially in early serratus-targeting workouts when they are hit for the first time.
Complete bodybuilders have complete physiques. To obtain a complete physique, bodybuilders must utilize complete training regimens, which include specific exercises for each single visible muscle group. This includes large groups (chest, legs, back), small groups (biceps, shoulders, calves) and overlooked groups, which include the serratus. While the serratus may receive some stimulation from compound exercises, focusing specifically on and being aware of its importance in the overall package presented will ensure you own a complete physique on show day!