An Ode to my Favorite Muscle

So, I have a favorite muscle. Is that weird? Do other people have one favorite muscle? I guess if you can be especially fond of a physical feature like your eyes, your legs, or whatever else, why not give special honor to a part that no one sees? Well the under-appreciated Serratus Anterior is mine, and it’s the best!

I love these little guys (one on each side), not because I am a fitness freak that picks a muscle and clings to it for dear life until another muscle-du-jour comes along, but because this is the first and only part of my body that I could connect with, and that I could call on to support me when I was recovering from a broken neck and spinal cord injury.

Of course I know full well that no one muscle ever acts alone, but the Serratus Anterior is special because the way they wrap from the shoulder blades and around the side of the ribs reminds me of two hands holding me up, and at the time maybe even holding me together.

This one unassuming muscle literally picked me up, held pieces together, and gave me some semblance of my formerly functioning body when I thought all was lost. For 5 years it was the only thing I could connect to in my body that helped me still feel strong and able. Serratus stepped up and gave me a glimmer of hope, and slowly but surely the rest of my body followed suit.

Even today on days when I feel less than stellar, which we all have, I still choose movements that call on Serratus and friends so I can reconnect again, and be reminded of how far I’ve come.

Recently a client asked me how I moved beyond pain and injury. The truth is, I made a choice. A choice to find something strong in my body, something stronger than the pain, rather than living in all that was wrong with it. That sounds simple, and it definitely was not, but the alternative to continue to wait for someone to give me the answer and to take the pain away wasn’t an option. I tried that for too long, and then decided that it was up to me.

So, Serratus Anterior, this is an ode to you. Thanks for having my back (of sorts)!

Written by
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

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