Tutorial: Scorpion Push-Ups
This Scorpion Push-Up, a Summer-Fit original, is an advanced core and upper body workout designed to be a fun challenge for the most jaded of fitness professionals, and really bring your shoulder stabilizers and abs to the next level. When doing it optimally, you’ll be able to feel a great deal of effort in your lats as well.
A set is 20 repetitions (right is one rep, left is one rep) but start from where you are and work your way up to this (look below at the "make it work for you" section for tips and advice, and an alternate way of doing the exercise for beginner and intermediate Summer-Fitters).
The only equipment used in this video is a yoga mat, though in truth, so long as your hands and feet are on a surface with a good grip, no equipment other than your body is needed.
Proper Technique, Posture and Tips
- Keep your feet together, hands wide apart with your thumbs outside of the shoulders and below the armpits. All fingertips (except for the thumbs) should be pointing straight forward.
- Make sure your weight is forward over your hands and not too much towards your feet throughout this exercise.
- Square your shoulders off and pull in your abs as much as you can. If you feel pressure in your shoulders, you may have shifted your body weight towards your feet, so shift back onto your hands until the pressure is gone.
- Be very aware not to roll your elbows forward, but instead have the elbows pointed towards the back corners.
Pinky Toe to Pinky Finger (Leg Under):
- Try to move your pinky toe as close to your opposite pinky finger as possible.
- Focus on pulling your abs in.
- Pull your lats and shoulder blades downward towards your waist.
- Shoulder girdle stabilization is a must. Don’t let your shoulders twist with your waist.
Scorpion Motion (Leg Over):
- Be sure to keep your weight over your hands at this point; there is a tendency to shift weight towards the feet, so watch out for it.
- Stay in control of your range of motion. If you cannot maintain thorough abdominal integrity, feel pressure in your back or have compromised your breathing, you have gone too far. Do not sacrifice good form by pushing the motion beyond what is currently safe for you.
- Keep both sides of your torso evenly long while you are swinging into the scorpion pose.
- Return to the neutral plank position you started in, then do the alternate leg. Right is one repetition, left is one repetition.
Everything you did when setting up and during the leg motion under must be maintained during the scorpion pose, only now it will be more intense. Keep your shoulders square, your lats pulled down towards your waist, pull your abs in, keep your weight over your hands... all of it! Also, be sure to not have your shoulders twist with your waist.
If during the exercise you feel the need to reposition, take the time to do so.
Make it Work for You
Again, unless you have been doing this for a while, I would recommend waiting to try this one until you have truly developed your proprioception. That said, there are variations of this exercise that someone willing to work their way towards doing the whole exercise can attempt.
Intermediate: Start off in the plank as described above, and follow through to the first motion (reaching your pink toe towards your opposite pinky finger), then lift the same leg into arabesque(up behind you without rotating), then return to the plank, alternating right and left. Also, you can try the full Scorpion Push-Ups elevated on either a bench, sturdy couch or chair, and work yourself lower towards the floor.
Beginner: Stand up against a wall, with your hands pressed against it, in a plank position as described above, only vertical. Perform the motions as described for the entirety of the exercise while standing. Over time, step further and further away from the wall, continuing to perform the full exercise at the more challenging angle. Eventually substitute the wall for a sturdy couch, chair or weight bench.
These methods will still provide a strong foundation and great results... and in time you will find yourself able to continue towards the scorpion push-ups proper.
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Did it sting a little? Tell me how the scorpion treated you, and post your successes in the comments below!