The scorpion is typically performed during a dynamic warm-up to activate the glutes and open up the hips, but it places a combination of rotational and extension forces on the lumbar spine which can result in serious injury, says Jon-Erik Kawamoto, C.S.C.S., owner of JK Conditioning. The kneeling hip flexor stretch or single-leg hip lift are both better alternatives because they do not place the spine in a harmful position, he says.
To do the kneeling hip flexor stretch (large image) place left knee on a mat with right leg forward, forming a 90-degree angle at each knee. Lift body upright and brace abs. Reach left arm forward and hold onto a body, chair, or wall for balance. Contract glutes and shift weight forward into right foot, pressing pelvis forward to stretch front of left hip and thigh. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to the start and repeat on other side.
To do the single-leg hip lift (small image), lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat. Hug right knee into chest with both hands, forming a 90-degree angle with leg. Press left foot into the ground to lift hips up, forming a straight line from shoulders to left knee at the top of the lift. Return to start and repeat on other side.
Photo credit: Mark Burnham Photography