The scarecrow is a workout technique that can help strengthen your upper body. When performed without weights, the scarecrow can be used as a dynamic flexibility exercise. When weights are added, the exercise can help strengthen your muscles. An effective workout would start with one set using the basic technique to loosen up your muscles and then progress to two sets of weighted scarecrows. The good news is that scarecrows can be done at home -- not in a field.
Basic Scarecrow Technique
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms straight out to your sides so your body looks like the letter "T." Bend your elbows 90 degrees into a "put-your-hands-up" position. Open and point your palms forward and point your fingers toward the ceiling. This is the starting position.
Rotate only your shoulder joints and slowly lower your hands forward as far as you comfortably can. Keep you upper arms shoulder high and parallel to the floor throughout the movement. When you can't lower your hands any further, slowly reverse the movement and return to the starting position.
Rotate your arms in opposite directions for a variation. Start with your right hand in the up position and your left hand in the down position. Rotate your shoulders and in a robot-like manner, simultaneously lower your right hand and raise your left hand. This completes one repetition.
Grab a 3-pound dumbbell with each hand to add more resistance. Using the same basic scarecrow technique, perform one set of 10 reps or until fatigued.
Add a trunk rotation to work and strengthen your core muscles. Start in the basic scarecrow stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Contract your core muscles, twist and rotate your trunk to the left. Keep your left hand up, right elbow bent 90 degrees and lower your right hand toward your left hip. Return to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand, twisting and lowering your left hand toward your right hip. This completes one repetition.
- Start with 3-pound weights and one set of 10 reps with each exercise variation. Gradually increase the reps, sets and weight as your strength level improves.
- Avoid shrugging your shoulders or slouching. Maintain a straight back and keep your head up throughout the exercise.
- If you have had or are susceptible to shoulder pain, talk to your doctor before starting a scarecrow workout routine.