If you want to get in touch with your Serratus Anterior and really feel the way it helps integrate your whole magnificent muscular core, Mega Plank is absolute perfect Yoga Tune Up® pose for you to practice.  Not only will it prepare you for every Chatturanga, arm balance, and Downward Dog you will attempt in your career as a yogi, but it will also make you a fabulously impressive Pilates pupil.  Honestly, any Pilates instructor who saw you do this pose the Yoga Tune Up® way would be so flabbergasted and impressed by your precision and strength, she would want to marry you! (or something).

Here’s how to do it:

The forearms are parallel to each other, shoulder-distance apart. Shoulder sockets are vertically joint-stacked over elbows. Body is stiff as a solid board, while belly inflates slightly to ignite the abdominals into full tension.

Megaplank with Active Serratus will strengthen you from armpit to pelvis!

To activate the serratus anterior, protract the shoulder blades by pushing the ground away while the upper back hunches, then depress the shoulder blades as if pulling a window shut while the arms remain pinned to the floor.

Maintain all actions at once. Hold for about 30 seconds.

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Najla Said

Najla Said was born with a lot of energy. Constantly searching for a place to channel it, she tried every sport/dance/activity that was made available to her as a young child, only to discover early on that the ones she enjoyed the most and seemed to excel at (dance, gymnastics, yoga, and running) were destroying her extremely hypermobile body. While studying acting in New York City in 1996, she was advised by her teachers to try Pilates, Alexander Technique and martial arts in order to build the strength and stamina she would need for a career on stage. After 8 years of private sessions and countless classes, she was certified to teach Classical Pilates in 2004 and has been constantly teaching and learning since. Having attempted to return to yoga safely with her Pilates knowledge in the past few years, she found she wanted to know more, and naturally gravitated toward Yoga Tune Up®, in which she was certified in 2012. Her memoir, "Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in An Arab-American Family" will be published by Riverhead Books (a division of Penguin) on August 1, 2013.

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Debbie

This pose activates all the core muscles in a powerful way. Thank you for the detailed description! I did it today, both on my knees and on my toes, and I felt the fire in my muscles!

Yang

I like the way you cue the action to activate the serratus anterior!

Geneviève Nadeau

Thank for the revision!

Laurie

Thank you! Great instruction here on how to do the Megaplank and nice context too, informing us on what poses it will prepare us for.

Adeline

Thank you for making this clear and simple. Doesn’t mean easy and i always seem to end up holding my breath while doing this pose. I’m naturally flexible so this is so vital for me to keep my shoulders and back healthy.

Catherine de Marin

Great guidance and explanation of pose benefits.

Morgana Tessler

I am always trying to help my students to activate their serratus anterior while in planks or even just hands and knees. I’ll usually put my hand between their shoulder blades and ask them to “press-up into my hand”. This usually results in a flexed thoracic spine as is shown in the picture. Do you have any suggestions for how to also get the retraction of the shoulder blades at the same time?

Nadia

Thank you for the clear instructions. The mega plank is such a great investment of time and effort. It pays back big time!! Basic does not mean easy but foundational. The mega plank is the foundation of so many yoga postures.

Melissa

This pose is fantastic and really gives a whole new awareness in chaturanga. What a way to connect deeper into the core by recruiting the serratus, a muscle that is often weak and bypassed in down dog and plank. It takes these traditional poses to another level in the sense that your calling forth the orchestra for full activation.

Robert Ouellet

Thank you Najla ! You give me a better understanding of the muscle who are key player in the megaplank. I try it this morning, those 30 seconds, make me hot and happy in the same time. 🙂

Pamela Ferner

What a great fiery pose. Your description was really helpful (and oh so positive). When I tried it I felt both release and strength when I protracted my shoulder blades. This action definitely stabalizes the pose once all of the abodominals are activated. Also a great prep for headstands.

Tracy E.

Wow! This alignment took my forearm plank to another level. When I practiced the pose I noticed not only strengthening in my my arms and core but relief from tension in my upper back.

Katie Rutterer

I imagine practicing this regularly would help posture as well.

Eva Roig

Megaplank is a great pose to remind me to activate my deep abdominals while engaging my serratus anterior, in order to protect my hyper-mobile shoulders. Thanks for sharing how it connects!

Marie-Pierre Gauthier

Merci pour cet article : )
La planche… bien comprise, prend une toute autre forme!
Mes “cues” plus précis permettront de fermer la chaine et de se connecter davantage au tronc.

Lyson

La planche c’est une chose mais la méga planche tune up c’est un autre monde. Un 30 secondes bien investi.
merci

Gabi Schaeffer

What an astute connection! Didn’t realize how important this is for so many poses. Can’t wait to teach it and put it into a sequence ensuring my students are practicing safely.

Sharon

I recently attended a YTU level 1 cert course and just love the polishing up and remakes on the ‘old’ poses! I have added so many to my daily practice and teachings, they just make sense and a big difference!

Hilary Hug

I like your title, connecting our shoulders to our core!

Stacy Jackson

Yes this shoulder to core relationship makes the serratus anterior the main player !The serratus is in continuity with the rhomboids, those are the muscles that pull your shoulder blades together, serratus does the opposite it pulls them apart. So the action of protracting and depressing brings the correct movement of the scapula which is critical in shoulder placement in downward dog, chatturanga, and plank.

Catherine

Megaplank is awesome for everyone. Since I practice this pose, I have no more pain in my upper back.

Sebastien Noel

Tres bien expliqué, merci!

Marianne

Thanks for the clear instruction on how to activate the seratus. Chatturanga and downward dog are for sure challenging poses for most people and we need the assistance of all the muscles that can help support these poses. While external rotation of the shoulders is often cued in class, I feel like I never heard of the seratus appart in Yoga Tune Up.