The scorpion exercise is a popular stretching exercise that strengthens your core and lower back while enhancing hip mobility.
It comes highly recommended for people who spend most of their days sitting down such that they develop rounded backs and weak glutes over time.
If you happen to be one of those people, then you’re in the right place!
Follow these steps to do the scorpion exercise correctly:
- Begin by sitting on the floor, knees bent and hands behind you.
- Lift your butt two inches off the ground and get into the crab position.
- Tighten your core.
- Hold this position for a few seconds, making sure to feel the stretch travelling through your shoulders.
- Then, move your left elbow towards your right knee and twist your upper body through a 180-degree angle so that your chest is facing the ground.
- With your left foot, both hands and eyes on the ground, continue twisting in a fluid motion by driving your right leg upwards and back so it comes over your left leg and opens up your hips.
- Raise your right hand and twist your back, and then lower your right foot to the ground.
- As you get back to the crab position, keep your right hand up and left leg extended.
- Repeat the steps with the opposite limbs for your desired number of reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE SCORPION EXERCISE WORK?
The scorpion exercises uses spinal rotation to primarily target two main chronically tight regions of your body – your lower back and the hip flexors at the top of your thighs.
Aside from the two areas, it also recruits your core entirely, even going as far as to work the hard-to-reach oblique muscles on the sides of your abdomen.
The quadriceps at the front of your thighs too get a bit involved when they help extend your knees and flex your hips during the movement.
BENEFITS OF THE SCORPION EXERCISE
GREAT WARM UP EXERCISE
Most people use this exercise to activate and stretch out muscles before an intense full-body workout.
It makes for a great warm up exercise because it recruits most of the major muscle groups, both in your upper and lower body.
The scorpion exercise doesn’t only work your core, glutes and lower back; it involves so many other stabilizing muscles that play a part in holding your body in position as you stretch it out.
NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
This exercise gives you the full benefit of a dynamic stretch without you needing to have any specialised fitness equipment, which means you can do it anywhere, at any time.
This movement works multiple muscles in your body, but one of its main areas of focus is your lower back.
When you develop a rounded back from having poor sitting or standing posture over a long time, you are likely to experience pain in your lower back.
What’s worse, a weak back could also make your spine unstable, which heightens your risk of spinal injury.
Thankfully, all these complications and risks could be prevented by working your lower back through the scorpion exercise.
WORKS THE CORE
This movement is not a core-centric exercise per se, but it gives your core muscles quite a chunk of the workload when you tighten them to keep your body stable during the workout.
ALTERNATIVES OF THE SCORPION EXERCISE
The revolved lunge does not look anything like the scorpion exercise, but it works the same muscle groups and shares most of its benefits.
How to do it:
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then take a big step back with your left leg and bend your right knee at 90 degrees.
- Next, press your palms together by clasping your hands and place the back of your left arm on the front of your right thigh.
- Rotate your torso and deepen the stretch by pushing your arm gently against your leg.
- Hold for a few seconds before easing out and switching sides.
SEATED SPINAL TWIST
The seated spinal twist mobilizes your spine by rotating it gently to stretch your core, lower back and shoulder muscles.
The only drawback of this movement is that it does not work your hips as much as the scorpion exercise, but it does a pretty good job with all the other shared target muscles.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit on the floor with both legs extended out.
- Bend your left leg and place the foot outside the right knee.
- Cross your right arm over your left knee and place your left hand behind you on the floor to provide extra support to your spine.
- Rotate your shoulders and head to the left only as far as you feel comfortable.
- Use your right arm to push you around a bit further if you need to.
- Hold this position for as long as you want.
- Slowly ease out and switch sides.
The supine twist is a gentler alternative of the scorpion exercise that you can try if you’re looking for something a bit milder.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie on the floor on your back with your legs extended and your arms stretched out so that your body is in a “T” shape.
- Bend your right leg and place the foot on the floor.
- Place the left hand on the right knee.
- Pull the leg over gently and toward the floor. Your right arm and shoulders should be flat on the floor.
- Hold this position for a minute and switch to the other side.
SCORPION EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE
Tightening your core makes it easier to keep your body stable and rotate your spine, in addition to working your abdominal muscles.
Your body was not made to stay stationary- it was designed to move, and staying sedentary for long periods of time is probably just as bad for your muscles as smoking is for your lungs.
Stretching your body regularly using exercises like the scorpion exercise can help offset the muscular damage cause by sedentarism.
Try the scorpion exercise and see for yourself how nice you feel afterwards.
But if your muscles are too tight for this particular movement, you can begin with the other alternatives provided in this article until you gain enough mobility.