How to do a scorpion stretch – and why experts love it?

Stretch out like a scorpion

If you’ve ever come face to face with a live scorpion, you know that a glimpse of its sting is enough to make you flee.

The scorpion stretch is designed to mimic the look of a scorpion — not to deliver a system-shattering sting.

The big question you’re probably asking right now is, “Why would I want to imitate a venomous creature?”

Because it offers a great stretch-intended pun.

Benefits of the scorpion stretch

The beauty of the scorpion stretch is that it simultaneously targets two chronically tight areas — the hip flexors (the muscles at the top of your thighs) and the lower back — while working on the rotation of the spine.

Why is that important? Spinning the lower back is critical for everyday movement. Think about it: You turn when storing dishes or reach to pull out a desk drawer. Restrictions in rotation can negatively affect daily activities.

Another reason exercise experts and enthusiasts love the scorpion stretch is because it targets the glutes (butt) and can even stretch your quads and abs if you tend to be tight through your hips and core.

And because you need to keep your chest and shoulders stable throughout the exercise, the move can relieve tightness in those areas of your upper body.

Bonus: It’s easy to check your form, even if you’re doing the move alone at home. Simply check that your shoulders, chest and arms remain stable and connected to the ground throughout the movement.

When should you do the scorpion stretch?

The scorpion stretch is versatile. You can add it to your routine in several ways.

Try it as a dynamic stretch, which you will do during your warm-up routine. The scorpion stretch is a great move for a lower body or core workout.

This is a great move to make for practically any sporting event. Whether you’re playing tennis, basketball, ultimate frisbee or golf, spinal rotation and lower body agility are usually quite important. That way, the scorpion’s rack can make you nimble to run, change direction, swing, or throw.

But spinal rotation and hip flexor mobility are also important for general daily living. So even if you’re not getting ready for a hard workout or a football game, you can use the scorpion stretch static to maintain or improve flexibility.

To do that, add the stretch at the end of your workout to loosen up your back and hips.

When should you skip the scorpion rack?

The thing about the scorpion stretch is that while it’s incredibly effective at targeting multiple muscle groups, it’s not for everyone. It’s not the stretch for people with low back pain.

“This stretch can be difficult for those with tight chest and shoulder muscles and for those with tight hip flexors and should be approached with caution,” said Hannah Daugherty, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and health coach who writes for the Fitter Living site.

While generally considered safe when performed correctly, the rotation of the lower back and hips can make it inaccessible to those with hip or lower back pain.

Daugherty also stresses that if you experience pain in your shoulders (or anywhere else!) when you try to reach your raised leg across your body, stop the exercise. You want to enjoy a light stretch, but you should never experience any pain.

Courtesy of Laura Williams Bustos, MSEd., ACSM EP-C

How to do the scorpion stretch?

Unlike its namesake, the scorpion strip is safe for most people. You just have to be careful to do the move correctly.

Ready to make like a scorpion? Follow these steps:

  1. Lie face down on a mat with your legs fully extended behind you and your arms extended out to either side. Your body should be in the shape of a T.
  2. Rest your chin on the mat and look down so that your spine is in a neutral position from your neck to your tailbone.
  3. Lightly press your palms on the floor to remind yourself to keep your upper body in this position. While stretching, avoid moving your upper back, chest, or shoulders.
  4. Lift your right leg off the floor and bend your right knee at about a 90-degree angle. Reach your right foot over your left leg and try to touch the ground outside your left leg with your right toes.
  5. Your hips and lower back will rotate as you move, but your chest and shoulders should stay in place.
  6. When you feel a stretch through your right hip flexor, your right gluteal muscle, and your lower back, stop moving. (Your toes don’t have to touch the ground, or even get close.)

From here you have two options: perform a static or dynamic stretch.

Static stretching

Hold your extended position for 10 to 15 seconds before returning your right foot to the floor. Repeat the exercise three to four more times before switching sides.

Dynamic stretch

When you feel your hip flexor stretch, hold the position for a second, then gently reverse the movement and return your right foot to the floor in the starting position. Immediately switch sides and perform the same stretch with your left leg.

Alternate between performing the scorpion stretch to the right and left for a total of 20 reps. Rest and then repeat one or two more times.

Then try the pigeon rack, another great move for your hips.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.