Men over 40 should do the scorpion stretch to gain mobility

Fitness trainer, author and model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t stop you from being on top of your game. It will help you answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be fit beyond 40.

In my years of teaching a stretching class for men over 50, I have seen many clients experience mobility issues. Many had limited range of motion in their hips, while others had limited range of motion in their spine. A favorite approach to working on improving mobility and flexibility was to put the class on their stomach for the scorpion stretch. It’s a movement that can help the whole body, especially when it comes to spine and hip mobility, and it can always be improved, no matter how flexible or stiff you are at the start.

To start, lie face down with your arms outstretched at each side. Bend your left knee toward your glute, then squeeze the muscle to lift your left leg straight up, keeping your knee bent. Bring your left leg across your body – if you can, try to touch the floor on the other side. Your torso will lift off the ground, but don’t let your hands move. Rotate your head along with the movement. When you have brought your left foot as close to the ground (and possibly your right hand) as possible, hold the position for a moment. Then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the same movement for the right side of your body to complete one rep.

Most men in my class found this movement extremely difficult to do when they first started. However, most said they felt it worked, and it was one of the best stretches they’ve ever had – you’ll feel your neck, shoulders, pecs, abs, hips, quads and your spine stretch.

A challenge with this move is spinal rotation. The next challenge is hip extension. This is a tough move when your hip flexors may have shortened and tightened. The solution to these problems: work in a difficult but not painful range of motion. Try to expand this range of motion each time you do the scorpion stretch.

All in all, it’s a move you need to add to your exercise and stretching bag. You might get more out of it than other moves you’ve been doing for years. Try 10 reps on each side of your body before or after an intense workout.

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