I incorporated scorpion planks into my core workout routine, and here are the results.

I incorporated scorpion planks into my core workout routine, and here are the results.

Being drawn to challenges, I recently stumbled upon the scorpion plank, also known as the plank scorpion. Intrigued, I decided to incorporate this exercise into my Friday afternoon core workout.

What attracts me to scorpion planks is my preference for compound exercises in ab workouts. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting overall strength development and enhancing muscular balance and coordination.

An added benefit was that I could seamlessly integrate this core exercise into my routine without the need for any equipment. Utilizing one of the best yoga mats at home, I gave it a try. In this experience, I gained insights into the exercise and discovered why it might not be suitable for everyone.

How to do scorpion planks

There are various versions of this core exercise, with some individuals executing it from a high plank (straight arm) position, while others prefer doing it from the elbows in a forearm plank.

Additionally, I’ve observed people incorporating unique variations, such as flipping over entirely so that the chest faces the ceiling, resembling a reverse plank. Some even integrate a push-up as they flip the leg over, known as a scorpion push-up.

In my experience, the most popular and, in my opinion, the safest method involves starting from a forearm plank position. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Begin in a forearm plank position with shoulders stacked over your elbows, hips aligned with your shoulders, and balancing on the balls of your feet.
  • Brace your core and glutes, maintaining a straight line from head to toe.
  • Slightly pull your shoulder blades apart and dome the upper back.
  • Bend your right knee, lift it into the air, rotate your torso, turn your hips, and reach your right leg over to the left side.
  • Keep the right knee bent and the elbows pressing down. If possible, tap your toes to the ground.
  • Return to the plank position and repeat the sequence on the other side.

For those who prefer emphasizing their arms more, the exercise can be performed from a straight-arm plank position. However, be mindful that this variation may place additional strain on the lower back due to the increased distance your leg has to travel. If you experience sciatica or localized lower back pain, it’s advisable to skip this exercise.

I just added scorpion planks to my core workouts — here’s what I learned

It’s a full-body exercise

This exercise engages multiple muscle groups, making it a challenging and intense workout. The scorpion plank is characterized by its rotational nature, which requires the activation of obliques to assist in movement while involving the entire trunk for stability.

Throughout the exercise, the erector spinae muscles, responsible for hugging and protecting the spine, work in conjunction with the shoulders, arms, hip flexors, and legs, transforming it into a comprehensive full-body workout.

Personally, I found performing the scorpion plank from the forearm position more comfortable. Attempting the rotation from a straight-arm position tended to aggravate my left shoulder, limiting the reach of my leg. Opting for the forearm plank not only alleviated this issue but also provided a more accessible approach for achieving a full range of motion, allowing me to tap my toes down behind me.

It’s unsuitable for beginners

According to The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, trunk rotation, although a common element in various sports and activities, is identified as a “key risk factor for low back pain.”

The rotational movement involves the activation of multiple muscles, including the internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis (abs), latissimus dorsi (muscles running down the sides of your back), lumbar multifidus, and transversus abdominis (core muscles beneath the abs). Engaging these muscles is crucial for maintaining stability and preventing strain during rotational exercises.

If you’re not already familiar with the concept of engaging your core while working on abdominal exercises, I recommend starting with learning the basics of planking. Once you’ve mastered the foundational plank, exploring variations that incorporate gentle rotational movements can help build the necessary strength and stability for more advanced exercises like the scorpion plank.

It stretches the hip flexor muscles

After recently incorporating “Mike Tyson push-ups” into my upper body workout and being pleasantly surprised by the unexpected challenge to my lower body flexibility, I delved into the scorpion plank, only to find it engaging both my torso and lower body mobility.

The scorpion plank, as you lift and extend the moving leg behind your body, provides a notable hip flexor and abdominal stretch—a sensation I found enjoyable. However, the rotational movement demands the ability to twist the leg to one side while keeping the hands firmly on the floor, highlighting the importance of core stability and mobilization.

For those encountering limitations in their range of motion, an alternative is to bend the knee of the moving leg and gently tap the foot just wide of the opposite foot. This modification can make the exercise more accessible and reminiscent of plank hip dips.

Alternatively, attempting the same movement from a high plank position and lowering the knees to the mat allows for practicing the bending and lifting of one leg at a time in a kneeling plank position. This modification can be a helpful variation for those seeking a different approach.


I programmed the scorpion plank into my workout routine, pairing it with kettlebell standing ab exercises, following a brief session on my mat at home. The entire routine lasted 15 minutes, structured in a pyramid format where I added two reps to each exercise per round.

The scorpion plank was seamlessly integrated with these exercises, which already provided a blend of rotational and stability-focused core work. Together, this combination injected a considerable amount of fiery intensity into my waist region, making for a well-rounded and challenging workout.

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