Cuban bench press and scarecrow - strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the shoulders

The Cuban bench press is an exercise for training the shoulders, performed with dumbbells or a barbell of small weight. It helps to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder girdle, to work out the relief and make the ligaments more durable and elastic. The latter allows you to avoid injuries when performing more difficult exercises, for example, such as an army bench.


According to statistics, the shoulder joint is one of the most frequently injured during sports. This is the most mobile, but not the largest joint of our body.

An important anatomical element of the shoulder is the rotator cuff. It is formed by several small muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and round) and allows us to rotate the shoulder in any direction.

Damage to this cuff provokes serious pain and leads to the inability to exercise until recovery. Therefore, the task of each athlete is not only to train large muscles, but also to strengthen the ligaments and small muscles.

Cuban bench press and scarecrow - strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the shoulders

The Cuban style bench press, however, like its variation, which is jokingly called the bogeyman with dumbbells, great for achieving these goals.

The main working muscles in the exercise we are considering are the front and middle bundles of the deltoid muscles, as well as the trapezium. Since the movement consists of several successively alternating phases (traction, rotation, bench press), a mass of small muscles of the shoulder girdle is involved in its execution. The role of position stabilizers is performed by the muscles of the arms, chest, back, and press.

However, it is worthwhile to warn that if you already have injuries to the shoulder joints or pain or discomfort occurs during training of your shoulders, it is better to refrain from doing the exercise until consulting a doctor.

Minimal weights are used in the Cuban bench press or scarecrow - these are small dumbbells or a light barbell.

Exercise, although it is basic, does not apply to mass. It serves to study the relief and strengthen the ligamentous apparatus. It can be performed after basic exercises on the shoulders or as a warm-up before training.

Technique of execution

First you need to learn a simplified variation of the exercise, which is known as the scarecrow. Take the starting position: stand upright, take the dumbbells, spread your shoulders to the sides and bend your arms at the elbows.

Lift your shoulders so that they are almost parallel to the floor. Lower your forearms down, the angle at the elbows is straight.

Cuban bench press and scarecrow - strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the shoulders

We begin to do the exercise:

  1. On the exhale, without changing the angle at the elbows, raise your hands with dumbbells, first forward, then up. You rotate in the shoulder joints.
  2. When arms with dumbbells are at the highest point (the shoulders are also parallel to the floor, and the angle at the elbows is straight), fix your position for a few seconds.

  3. On inspiration, slowly and under control (in the same rotational movement), return to the starting point.

The Cuban bench press is actually the scarecrow described above, plus the dumbbell bench press up. This supplement allows you to complicate the exercise by loading the deltoid muscles harder. In other words, at the top of the movement, squeeze dumbbells over your head.

Cuban bench press and scarecrow - strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the shoulders

Phase sequence of the Cuban bench press:

  1. Starting position.

    You are standing straight, arms with dumbbells are bent at right angles, shoulders are spread apart and parallel to the floor.

  2. Lift the dumbbells forward and up due to rotation in the shoulder joints. The angle at the elbows and the position of the shoulders does not change.
  3. Squeeze dumbbells over yourself. Do not straighten your arms at the elbows - a small angle remains.

  4. Again, bend your arms to a right angle and return your shoulders to a parallel floor position.
  5. Rotate the dumbbell forward and down. This is one replay.

Exercise can be done 15-20 times in 3 sets. The pace of rotation is slow, you can press up a little faster.

The secret to success in this exercise is perfect adherence to the technique. Cuban bench press has a lot of variations. It can be done both standing and sitting. The latter option is simpler, since you do not need to spend energy on maintaining equilibrium. As a shell fit dumbbells or barbell.

Useful Tips

To make the exercise as effective as possible, read the following recommendations:

  • When doing a bench press, try to raise the dumbbells as high as possible without bending your arms to the end.
  • Use small dumbbells or a light barbell while mastering the movement. In this particular exercise, the goal is not so much to lift the weight as to work out the rotation phase.

Cuban-style bench press and scarecrow are exercises for strengthening the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder girdle. Regular performance of any of them will help you improve your results in the shoulder presses, as well as in other exercises where the shoulder joint, for example, in pull-ups, takes an active part.



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