The boxer's muscle, also known as the serratus anterior, is a prominent muscle that stretches from the ribs to the shoulder blade on each side of the body. It is essential in stabilizing the shoulder and allowing the arm to move forward and upward. The muscle is is highly involved in many sports, and maintaining a strong serratus anterior is important for preventing serious shoulder injuries during activities.
The serratus anterior is called the boxer's muscle because of its significant role in throwing a punch. During a punch, the muscle quickly brings the shoulder blade forward. It is also essential in sports that involve throwing and catching a ball or frequently bringing the arms overhead. A strong boxer's muscle is not only important for athletes, however; all daily activities that require the arm to be raised or extended outward rely on the serratus anterior.
Athletes often perform exercises and lift weights in an effort to strengthen the serratus anterior. Individuals can perform push-ups, pull-ups, and bench presses to build strength and flexibility in the shoulders. Resistance training exercises with medicine balls and dumbbells are also popular means of enhancing the serratus anterior muscles. It is essential for a person in training to perform these exercises correctly and within his or her limits, as injuries to this muscle or surrounding tissue can cause long-term or even permanent damage.
An injury to the serratus anterior muscle can result in significant pain and a lack of flexibility. The boxer's muscle can be strained or torn due to repetitive use, overexertion in exercise, a direct blow to the side, or an awkward shoulder movement. An individual who has suffered an injury usually experiences constant pain, tenderness to the touch, and a restricted range of motion. An injury can also result in damage to the long thoracic nerve, which can lead to lifelong shoulder problems.
Minor strains are usually able to heal without medical intervention in as little as two weeks, with sufficient rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications. A more severe strain or tear should be inspected by a physician, who can determine the extent of damage. A patient might be prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory drugs, scheduled for physical therapy sessions, or ordered to undergo surgery so that damaged tissue can be repaired. Recovery time after a boxer's muscle tear can take four months or longer, depending on the exact location of the tear and the intensity of rehabilitation exercises.