scorpion push up

Scorpion Push-Up Exercise Guide

The scorpion push-up is probably one of the most interesting push-up variations out there. What makes it so interesting is that it’s not only a standard pushing movement that focuses on building upper body strength, but it’s more of a compound exercise that basically involves your whole body.

In this push-up variation, in addition to the standard pushing movement, you also perform a backward rotational movement with your leg, that looks like the sting of a scorpion (hence the name of the exercise). Also, it contains a balancing aspect that will fire your core stabilizer muscles up.

The exercise is a great full-body move. It will train your chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes, obliques, core, and abs. Also, one of the main benefits of this exercise is that it will improve both your core and hip flexibility and mobility. In fact, it will also stretch out your entire front body.

It’s a great all-around exercise that you can use for toning, muscle building, weight loss, and even for improving your mobility.

Muscles worked by the scorpion push-up

scorpion push up

Just like all push-ups, the scorpion variation is primarily an upper body and chest exercise. Although it’s much more of a compound exercise than many other push-up variations. It involves a lot more aspects and also muscles. For example, thanks to the leg lifting and rotating aspect it will also train your glutes, lower back, obliques, and your overall core muscles.

Primary muscles worked:

  1. Chest muscles (Pectoralis major)
  2. Shoulders (Mostly your front deltoid)
  3. Glutes
  4. Obliques

Secondary muscles worked:

  1. Triceps
  2. Lower back
  3. Lats
  4. Abdominal muscles

How to do scorpion push-ups

Starting position:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to get down on the floor and assume a high plank position (the standard push-up position). 
  2. Your hands should be positioned a little bit wider than your shoulders. And at about your shoulder level, so they would be directly under your shoulder line. Your fingertips should be pointing forward. 
  3. Make sure your body is in a straight line, from your head to your heels. Your head and neck should be neutral, meaning you should keep your head in a natural position and avoid lifting your head to look forward. Also, do not let your hips rise up nor sink down. 
  4. Your feet should be about hip-width apart from each other. 

Execution:

  1. Before you start the movement, you have to engage and brace your whole core and abs, meaning you have to contract and tighten the muscles. Bracing your core is important to avoid injuries and to do the scorpion push-up with proper and correct form. 
  2. Shift your body weight onto your hands and start to lower yourself by bending from your elbows. 
  3. Try to keep your elbows tucked in and avoid flaring them out.
  4. Now at the same time as you are lowering your body, you will need to lift your right foot off the ground and bend it.  
  5. Move your right foot across your other foot and over your body to the left. Let your upper body and hip turn with your leg, and take it as far as you can. But try to avoid opening and rotating your shoulders and the opposite foot. 
  6. At the same time you are moving your foot, keep performing the push-up movement and keep lowering your upper body for the entire time. 
  7. Lower your body down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Now, remember that the leg and upper body (push-up movement) are done simultaneously. 
  8. Once you are down, pause the movement for a second or two while keeping your body solid and try not to lose your balance. Then just push yourself back up and reverse the whole movement. 
  9. Now, repeat the process with the other leg and keep going until you reach your desired repetitions. 

Tips and recommendations

  • Make sure to perform both the push-up movent and the leg work simultaneously. Ideally, your foot should reach the other side of your body at the same time as your elbows are bent to a 90-degree angle. 
  • Make sure you perform the exercise with both of your legs (for both sides) to avoid any muscle imbalances. 
  • Try not to lose your balance when you have crossed your legs. A good way to ensure you keep your balance is to keep your core as tight as possible.
  • Rather than just moving your leg over the other and on the side, try to reach a little upwards with it as well. Ideally, your leg should end up next to your lower back. 
  • If you find the scorpion push-up too challenging or you are lacking the mobility to perform the exercise, you can start off by just lifting your leg up and moving a slightly bend leg, back to your body. And then slowly working your way to a full rotation. Another good way to work up to the full movement would be to leave the push-up part out of it and perform the exercise from a standard plank position. This way you would only focus on moving your leg and improving your core strength, mobility, and your flexibility. 
  • If you are lacking mobility in your wrists and feel discomfort while doing this exercise, you can try to perform it on your knuckles instead of your palms. But be aware that doing it on your knuckles might make it harder to keep your body balanced in the final position. 

Variations of the scorpion push-up

scorpion push up

The scorpion push-up doesn’t really have many variations you can try, but there are a few more beginner-friendly ways you can do it in order to work your way up to the full movement.

When you are lacking in upper body strength, or if you want to focus more on the stretching and mobility aspect of this exercise, you could skip the push-up part entirely and perform it from the standard plank position. So simply assume a low or standard plank position, keep your body still in a straight line and perform the leg movement just as you would in the complete scorpion push-up.

Another way to do this exercise without the push-up part is to push your body backward. I call it the backward slide scorpion. So you start off in a high plank position. Now instead of lowering your body downwards, you will push it back and let your hips/ butt rise up while at the same time moving your leg up and over your body to the opposite side. You basically end up in the downwards V position or the pike push-up starting position.

Also, the scorpion push-up could be performed without the rotation part. So you basically just lift your leg up and try to bring it to your butt in an arching movement. This is a great alternative for people lacking mobility for the original variation. Also, it will focus more on stretching the front of your leg.

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