W￼hen I first discovered kettlebells, I couldn’t believe how effective and versatile they were. I became obsessed and wanted to learn as much as possible about them. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning just to put myself through a different kettlebell workout everyday.
I would try my best to emulate the masters like Steve Cotter and Steve Maxwell and discovered that the kettlebell is not just the ultimate training device, it’s the ultimate tool for creativity; the only limit is your imagination. This realization let to the creation of dozens of new exercises that I included in my first workout DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems.
The CKS DVD fired a spark of creativity in me and also included new bodyweight exercises. Over time, I continuously added new movements to what I call the “Shadow-Jitsu” bodyweight system. Creating this new system made me realize that your body can be just as diverse a training tool as a kettlebell.
Enter Scorpion Progressions
I have now concluded that the two most effective training devices are your body and kettlebells. I love to challenge myself and my students with creative new exercise combinations. One set of exercises that are quickly becoming class favorites are called Scorpion Progressions. Scorpion Progressions stem from two simple drills, the Scorpion Drill and the Scorpion Twist. I believe I originally learned the Scorpion Drill from a video created by Steve Maxwell.
You’ve probably done it as a mobility/stretching exercise to loosen up the legs and hips before or after workouts. This one movement is the foundation of the entire progression. The Scorpion Twist, a movement I learned from my Jiu Jitsu Coach Roger Machado, incorporates an upper body movement that loosens up the core. After a while, I figured out that these two drills flowed perfectly into one another.
By adding the Scorpion Thrust and Get Up, I completed the Progression and now have an extremely fun, challenging, and dynamic series of exercises that challenges your focus, conditioning, and agility. When performed in a class environment, you must make sure everyone is in sync. When the whole class works the progressions in unison, it looks pretty awesome! The following are pictures and instructions for how to perform each movement. Make sure to check out the linked video to see the entire series in action!
Bodyweight Exercise: Scorpion Drill
Lie chest down on the floor. Extend your arms to either side of your body so that your body is forming a “T.” While keeping your right leg as straight as possible, move your left leg across and behind your body. Attempt to touch your right had with your left foot. Return your left leg to the starting position and transition the movement to the other side.
Bodyweight Exercise: Scorpion Twist
Lie chest down on your stomach with your arms positioned as if your are going to do a push up with the tops of your feet on the floor. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick one foot behind your body, and twist your body in the same direction as the kicking leg. Al- low your arms to continnue the natural twisting motion. Done correctly, you should end up in the “S-Mount” position. Torque your body in the opposite direction and get back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Bodyweight Exercise: Scorpion Thrust
Begin in the same starting position as the Scorpion Twist. Push up with your arms, bend both knees, kick your left foot behind your body, and roll your body over. As your hips roll over, plant both feet on the ground and allow your lower legs to become vertical. Keep your right hand firmly planted on the ground. Thrust your hips into the air and seek to make them parallel to the ground. Lower your hips as soon as they reach the apex and sit on the ground. Roll your entire body over into the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Bodyweight Exercise: Scorpion Get Up
Scorpion Get Up: Repeat steps in exercise 2, but as you hip thrust, push off your supporting had and stand up. Drop down into the “rock bottom” squat position, roll back to your stomach and repeat to the other side. These exercises can be performed in many different formats. You can do each sequence for 30 second intervals, or repeat the whole progression for one minute. It will get your heart rate up big time! For more dynamic exercise combinations, check out my new Shadow-Jitsu Bodyweight Training DVD!