How to Increase Back Flexibility

................ performs in at the 2017 Miss Dance Team Minnesota competition at Eastview High School. Photo by Rick Corwine/MN Dance News | | @mndancenews

Question: Do you have any tips on how to improve my back flexibility? I’m trying to get my scorpion and firebird leap, but nothing seems to work.

Response: Thank you for the question on back flexibility. Scorpions and firebirds require flexibility, strength, balance, and learning to align your body to attain the position.

Many times the hip flexors and upper back are the areas limiting low back motion.

  1. Try this hip and back mobility sequence first:
  2. Then work on your scorpion while lying on one side on the floor. This helps take out the balance component when you are starting to work on the move.
  3. Once you can perform the move on the floor, then progress to standing at the barre.

Please use caution when attempting the actual scorpion and firebird moves, as I have seen dancers with back fractures from moving too quickly into the move, or having someone else assist them into the move.

As we mature, we have less cartilage and more bone in the back, so caution is very important for teens and adults looking to try these dance moves.

This technique tip is provided by Dr. Meredith Butulis ( It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat any condition.

Meredith is currently operating under a grant from Twin Cities Orthopedics to provide summer conditioning free of charge to dancers near the Minneapolis and surrounding areas. Please E-mail her at if you would like more information.