Effects of Lower Extremity and Trunk Muscle Recruitment on Serratus Anterior Muscle Activation in Healthy Male Adults

Document Type


Publication Date




Poor activation of the serratus anterior (SA) muscle may result in abnormal shoulder rhythm, and secondarily contribute to impingement and rotator cuff tears. Sequential activation of the trunk, pelvis, and lower extremity (LE) muscles is required to facilitate the transfer of appropriate forces from these body segments to the upper extremity. Myofascial connections that exist in the body, and LE and trunk muscles (TM) activity may influence scapular and upper limb activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of simultaneous recruitment of the LE muscles and TM on the SA muscle activation when performing a forward punch plus (FPP) and six variations of the FPP exercise.

Study Design:

Experimental, within‐subject repeated measures.


Surface electromyographic (EMG) activity of the SA, latissimus dorsi, and external oblique muscles on the dominant side, bilateral gluteus maximus muscles, and contra‐lateral femoral adductor muscles were analyzed in forward punch plus (FPP) movement and six variations in twenty one healthy male adults. The percentage of maximum voluntary isometric contraction (%MVIC) for each muscle was compared across various exercises using a 1‐way repeated –measures analysis of variance with Sidak pair wise comparison as post‐hoc test (p < 0.05).


Pairwise comparisons found that the EMG activity of the serratus anterior (SA) during the FPP with contralateral closed chain leg extension (CCLE), FPP with ipsilateral closed chain leg extension (ICLE), FPP with closed chain serape effect (CS), and FPP with open chain serape effect (OS) showed significantly higher EMG activity than the FPP.


Simultaneous recruitment of the lower extremity and trunk muscles increases the activation of the SA muscle during the FPP exercise.

Clinical Relevance:

Rehabilitation clinicians should have understanding of the kinetic chain relationships between the LE, the trunk, and the upper extremity while prescribing exercises. The results of this study may improve clinicians' ability to integrate the kinetic chain model in a shoulder rehabilitation program.