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Scorpion Exercise: How To, Benefits,…

There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing the scorpion exercise, what will the effects be?

Scorpions, also known as scorpion stretches, are an exercise where you start lying down on your stomach with your arms horizontal out to the sides.

To do the exercise you fold one knee to a 90-degree angle and move the foot of that leg towards the hand of the other side as far as comfortable.

The scorpion exercise can be useful as a warm-up, to improve flexibility in your hip flexors, abs, quadriceps, and chest muscles, to improve hip mobility, and to improve coordination.

For other fitness goals, there are likely better exercise options. You do get a tiny amount of muscle engagement when doing scorpions but generally not that much.

Whether you should add the scorpion exercise or alternatives to your routine depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do the scorpion exercise

For the scorpion exercise you preferably want a yoga mat or other soft surface to lie on. To do the scorpion exercise take the following steps:

  1. Lie down on your stomach with your body in one straight line and your arms horizontally out to the sides.
  2. Fold one leg at the knee until this knee is at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Move the foot of the folded knee to the hand of the other side as far as comfortable. You want most of the movement happening in your hips, not your lower back.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

Make sure to do the same number of repetitions on each side to keep things balanced.

You can go for a more static stretch by holding the position in step 3 for a few seconds. Another option is doing a more dynamic stretch by only holding the end position for a second or so.

You don’t want to overdo it in terms of how far you move your feet, especially at the beginning of a workout. As you get more warmed up or more flexible over time you can focus on moving your feet farther.

How to do the scorpion exercise

Scorpion exercise muscles worked

The scorpion exercise is mainly for stretching your hip flexors, and to some extent abs, quadriceps, and chest, and improving hip mobility.

To do the scorpion exercise movement you also work muscles like the hamstrings, core, and erector spinae to a small extent.

Exercise beginners may even be able to build a tiny amount of muscle with the scorpion exercise. However, this exercise will likely stop being challenging enough soon to see a lot of muscle growth and strength progress.

Any progress is a nice addition but if you are serious about building muscle you likely want to turn to resistance training exercises.

In theory, you can strap on ankle weights to see more hamstring and lower back muscle growth. Even then, there will be more effective ways to strengthen these muscles.

Scorpion exercise benefits

Some people question how useful this exercise can be but adding the scorpion exercise to your routine can offer you some helpful benefits. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Injury prevention: Warming up your muscles with the scorpion exercise before pushing them hard can help you reduce your injury risk. In turn this can save you from weeks of training downtime.
  2. Flexibility and mobility: The scorpion exercise can push your boundaries when it comes to range of motion of certain body parts, mainly your shoulders. By doing this you can gain some flexibility and mobility.
  3. Improved athletic performance: Warming up your muscles before they have to perform in a competition with scorpions can make them work better (generate more power, work faster,…). Generally stick to a dynamic scorpion exercise for this.
  4. No equipment or location required: Since scorpions are a bodyweight exercise you don’t have to invest in equipment or be in a specific location.
  5. Busy schedule friendly: To get the benefits of the scorpion exercise you only need a few spare minutes throughout the day. You can even do this exercise while talking to friends and family.

While inevitably many workouts are better for some of these benefits than the scorpion exercise, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that the scorpion exercise can be hard on body parts like your hips, shoulders, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are sensitive or weak in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any hip or back pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing scorpions into your workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that the scorpion exercise is not (yet) for you.

Scorpion exercise alternatives

While the scorpion exercise can definitely be a great addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training similar aspects of your physical health. Some of these scorpion exercise alternatives include:

  • Hip flexor stretches
  • Standing quadricep stretch
  • Spiderman stretch
  • Butterfly stretch

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.


Many people will benefit from adding the scorpion exercise with the right technique to their routine to improve flexibility in hip flexor and quadricep muscles, to improve hip mobility, to improve coordination, or to warm up and the benefits that come with these things.

For other fitness goals, other exercise options are likely better.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If doing the scorpion exercise is a workout you love, great. If not, other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement the scorpion exercise more make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.