post 6 Scorpion Stretches (Improve Your Workout Flexibility)

6 Scorpion Stretches (Improve Your Workout Flexibility)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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Most people just look at pre-exercise stretches as a part of their warm-up routine to activate muscles and get the blood flowing. But the scorpion stretch can provide a lot more training and overall well-being benefits.

To help our clients and readers gain a better understanding of how to do the scorpion stretch for maximum benefits, we’ve put together this guide on this vital lower body stretch.

I also asked a physiotherapist registered with the American College of Sports Medicine to provide some details of all the benefits this stretch provides.

Quick Summary

  • The scorpion stretch can relieve tightness in the hips and lower spine that would otherwise become uncomfortable and even painful.
  • While it might look like this ground stretch requires a lot of flexibility to get started, it’s relatively easy to do when you follow some key instructions.
  • According to Sage Open Medicine research, the scorpion stretch enhances spinal rotation and hip flexibility, aiding in yoga, pilates, and weight training like squats for better muscle growth.
  • Based on my years of fitness training, incorporating the scorpion stretch regularly can significantly boost joint health and mobility.

How To Do The Scorpion Stretch

A woman doing a scorpion stretch on the ground

These steps will help you do the dynamic scorpion stretch without needing someone to supervise or help you with the movement.

  • Step 1: Get into the starting position and lay flat on your stomach on a yoga mat with both legs straight and toes pointed to the ground.
  • Step 2: Stretch your arms out to each side perpendicular to your body with palms flat on the ground.
  • Step 3: Lift your left leg off the ground and slightly bend the left knee.
  • Step 4: Twist your hips to bring your left leg over the right leg until you touch the ground with the left foot.
  • Step 5: Hold the left foot in place for a few seconds and then slowly bring the left foot back to the starting point.
  • Step 6: Now, it’s time to keep your left leg straight and repeat the process on the other side.

You should feel this stretch predominantly from your mid back to your upper thighs.

But let’s take a closer look at what this does specifically.

What Does This Stretch Do?

A man doing the scorpion stretch in the gym

The scorpion stretch can help you release tension and loosen muscles all the way from your knees up to your shoulders.

According to MedlinePlus, stretching your hip flexors through this movement can prevent or loosen tight hips [1].

The main muscles worked are:

  • Hip abductors
  • Hip flexors
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Obliques
  • Multifidus
  • Erector spinae

What I challenge my clients to do during scorpion stretches is to focus their minds on each muscle group individually.

You’ll quickly notice all the different areas from your left foot all the way to your right shoulder.

It can also have a meditative effect, reducing stress and enhancing mental clarity. This psychological aspect of stretching is often overlooked but is vital for holistic well-being.

Benefits of Scorpion Stretch

An athlete doing the scorpion stretch in the field

These are the main benefits you’ll gain from doing a daily scorpion stretch based on my clients' experiences.

1. Relieve Lower Back Pain

Unless you have serious sciatica issues, doing regular scorpion stretches can reduce back muscle stiffness while at the same time improving mobility as shown by Very Well Health [2].

If you are dealing with nerve issues in your spine, then these kinds of stretches aren’t going to solve that. 

But if it’s just sore and tight muscle, then it’s going to work wonders.

“While stretching isn’t a remedy for all lower back pain, in many instances, it can provide relief.”

- Brooke Mathe, MS, CSCS

2. Improve Leg Muscle Activation

You’ll also experience that twisting your back and stretching the hip flexor muscles will greatly help with muscle activation during weight training as shown in studies published by Frontiers in Physiology [3].

In my coaching practice, I've observed clients achieving better knee extension and overall leg strength, essential for exercises like squats and leg curls, after regularly performing the scorpion stretch.

Interestingly, some athletes who initially struggled with unilateral leg control have found this stretch particularly beneficial in enhancing their range of motion and stability.

3. Increase Mobility Of Hip Flexors

A woman doing yoga for her hip flexors

According to Physiopedia, hip flexors are the muscles at the front of your hips that help to tilt your pelvis and pull your legs up [4].

You can tell if there’s tightness here by standing tall and trying to bring your left leg and left foot up in front of you. The more difficult it is to bring your knee close to your chest, the more tension you may have here.

In my experience, clients with varying levels of flexibility have benefited from tailored modifications to the scorpion stretch.

Beginners often start with a reduced range of motion, gradually building up as their flexibility improves, while advanced individuals are encouraged to explore deeper stretches for enhanced benefits.

4. Allows Flexibility In Workouts

By being able to comfortably increase your spinal rotation, you’ll find it a lot easier to do many types of yoga and pilates exercises.

And by having more flexibility in the hips, you find it easier to do weight training like squats, where the added range of motion can help to increase the amount of muscle growth as shown by Sage Open Medicine research [5].

5. Better Coordination

Additionally, incorporating animal movement patterns, like the scorpion stretch, can enhance proprioception and body awareness, crucial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

This biomimicry approach, emulating the scorpion's movement, not only improves physical agility but also contributes to neurological development, aiding in better coordination and reflexive responses.

Read Also: FST 7 Workout

FAQs

Is The Scorpion Stretch Safe?

Yes, the scorpion stretch is safe as long as you don’t have any problems with damaged discs or sciatic nerve compression. You can also gradually build up the stretch to avoid doing any joint or muscle damage.

How Long Does It Take To Do The Scorpion Pose?

It can take just three or four minutes to do the scorpion pose. Because your body is flat on the ground, there’s no major muscle tension, and you can do as many repetitions as you feel comfortable.


References:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000682.htm
  2. https://www.verywellhealth.com/exercises-that-could-worsen-sciatica-297246
  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.01468/full
  4. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Hip_Flexors
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6977096/
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