The serratus anterior muscle is often called the “big swing” or “boxer’s muscle” because it is largely responsible for the protraction of the scapula i.e. the pulling of the scapula forward and around the rib cage that occurs when someone throws a punch.
The serratus anterior is innervated by the long thoracic nerve (Nerve of Bell), a branch of the brachial plexus. The long thoracic nerve travels inferiorly on the surface of the serratus. Damage to this nerve can lead to a winged scapula.
Serratus Posterior Inferior is called the “saw-tooth” muscle and attaches to the spine from the ligamentum nuchae, from between the spinous processes of C6-C7 in the neck to the upper T2-T3 thoracic vertebrae and from the supraspinal ligament.
The ventral ramus (branch) is the anterior division of a spinal nerve. In the thoracic region they are distinct from each other and each nerve controls a narrow strip of muscle and skin along the sides, chest, ribs and abdominal wall; also known as intercostal nerves.
In boxing each of these muscles are vitally important as not only do they help with throwing a punch but also the ability to take one too. Both of these muscles are involved in inspiration of the ribs when we breathe and during a boxing match the boxer needs to take air in, then lock or contract the muscles around the thoracic or chest area, this will ensure that the boxer does not become winded.
Repeated trauma to the chest or under arms area will generate temporary or permanent damage and to the nerve supply leading to muscle weakness where the boxer is unable to lift the arms and/or throw a punch.
At Therapyroom1 we see a lot of boxing injuries and we will be talking about boxing injuries and how to treat them in this section.