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Serratus Anterior Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Serratus Anterior Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Serratus Anterior Muscle

Origin: Fleshy slips from the lateral aspect of the superior eight ribs and anterior intercostal membranes from the midclavicular line, the lower four slips interdigitating with external abdominal oblique
Insertion: Volar surface of the axillary border of the scapula, spanning the superior and inferior angles
Action: Protracts and stabilizes scapula, assists in upward rotation.
Innervation: Long thoracic nerve (C5, 6, 7)
Blood Supply: Thoracic branch of the axillary artery
Synergist: Pectoralis major, Pectoralis minor, Subclavius, Trapezius, Latissimus dorsi, Rhomboid major, Rhomboid minor, Levator scapulae
Antagonist: Deltoid, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres major, Teres minor, Subscapularis

For pain and symptom information see: Serratus Anterior Pain and Symptoms


Primary Actions of the Serratus Anterior:

1. Upward rotation of the scapula

  • Agonists: Trapezius
  • Antagonists: Levator Scapulae, Serratus Anterior (upper fibers) Rhomboid Major, Rhomboid Minor, Pectoralis Minor
  • Stabilizer: Trapezius

2. Downward rotation of the scapula

  • Agonists: Levator Scapulae, Rhomboid Major, Rhomboid Minor, Pectoralis Minor, Trapezius (middle fibers
  • Antagonists: Trapezius (upper and lower fibers), Serratus Anterior (lower fibers)
  • Stabilizer: Trapezius

3. Protraction of the scapula

  • Agonists: Pectoralis Minor
  • Antagonists: Trapezius (middle fibers),  Rhomboids Major, Rhomboid Minor

4. Depression of the scapula

  • Agonists: Pectoralis Minor, Trapezius (lower fibers)
  • Antagonists:Trapezius (upper part), Levator Scapulae

5. Stabilizes the medial border of the scapula to the chest wall during movement of the arm at the shoulder

Anatomy Reference Books

Anatomy Coloring Book


The Anatomy Coloring Book is one of the best study and reference books for beginning anatomy students. The diagrams are clearly labeled and allow you to see the relationship and placement of the various structures of the body. You will also be surprised how the act of coloring will help with recall. But this is not just a beginners book, it is also great for practitioners and therapists to have on hand to use with clients and patients to use as a visual reference.

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy


Out of the scores of books in my office Basic Clinical Massage Therapy is by far the most referenced book in my library. The musculoskeletal system is overlaid on human models allowing you to learn the precise location, origin and insertions of each muscle. The models are pictured in various poses throughout the book which also helps you visualize muscles in motion and their actions relationship with the skeletal structure and other muscles. Though it is written for massage therapists, it is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn about the muscular system. MT’s will benefit from recommended treatments for each muscle.




The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook – Claire Davies, Amber Davies, and David G. Simons

Basic Clinical Massage Therapy: Integrating Anatomy and Treatment – James H. Clay and David M. Pounds

Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain – Donna Finando and Steven Finando

Massage Therapy Principles and Practice – Susan Salvo

Theory & Practice of Therapeutic Massage – Mark Beck

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