A scorpion is one of the most essential, yet most impressive skills a cheerleader can perform. If you’re like most athletes, you can remember the first time you saw a flyer pull such an impressive feat in the air! Whether you’ve been cheering for years and you’ve decided it’s time to master your scorpion, or you’re brand new to this sport, we have some tips and tricks to make getting your scorpion easier than ever. Every all-star cheerleader can get their scorpion with hard work and regular stretching. Here are some of our favorite stretches.
The most basic but necessary skill before pulling a scorpion is a backbend. The deeper you can get into your backbend — or rather, the closer your hands can get to your feed in the backbend position — the more likely you are to pull a successful scorpion. Begin the stretch by laying on the ground with your legs bent and feet pressed firmly to the ground. With your hands by your ears, push up into the backbend. If this is comfortable, bring your feet to touch one another and gradually straighten your legs. Shift your body weight over your hands towards your shoulders. After holding this position for a minute, separate your feet slightly and begin to walk your hands towards your feet to increase the arch in your back.
Having your splits is a great start, but there are a few stretches you can perform while in your splits that can make pulling your scorpion that much easier. When in your front splits, gently lean back towards your rear leg. At the same time, bend your back leg to bring your foot off the ground. Grab ahold of the lifted foot with your opposite arm while placing your free arm on the ground for balance. Hold this position for at least thirty seconds. If you are still working on your balance in your splits, feel free to bend your front leg so that your foot is pointing towards your body.
Many companies sell stunt straps that are nylon straps with loops at either end. However, we find that dog leashes can work well for this training as well. These straps allow you to stretch your scorpion while standing and practicing your balance. Stand on one foot and hook your other foot through the loop of the strap. Grab the other end of the strap and pull both your foot and arms over your head. Once you have your balance, walk your hands up the strap and inch them closer to your foot. Hold this position for as long as you can. Once you have a solid scorpion, you can begin to straighten the back leg to work on your needle.
Of course, your back and your legs aren’t the only body parts that need to be flexible in order to pull a beautiful scorpion. Your shoulder flexibility, hip flexors, and quadriceps all have a lot to do with the scorpion’s ease as well. Stretch each day, and you’ll be shocked how quickly your skills improve! Be ready to show them off in the air when you compete with your team at our cheerleading national competitions! We look forward to seeing you there!