Shoulder Taps: Benefits and How to Do Them

Shoulder taps are not like traditional planking, which is in the form of an isometric exercise.

They include active moves that require using your palms to touch the upper part of your opposite arm. During these moves, your body must remain still. Although it may sound like this is simple, you can’t know until you try it out. It requires that you engage your core and have enough strength in your arms before you can do this exercise correctly.

The Benefits Of Shoulder Taps

Shoulder taps are part of the more functional exercise you can carry out because they are an exercise that involves anti-rotation. This means that your hips and shoulders must remain squared.

This exercise focuses on quite a lot of muscles, essentially those in your transverse abdominals. These are the muscles that are around your midsection, they are deep core muscles. Regularly doing these exercises will give your core more strength. It will also improve your trunk stability.

Additionally, it has the added advantage of building strength in your arms and shoulders. This is a result of the position you maintain during this exercise, which is holding the whole weight of your body upward with just one arm at a time.

How To Do Shoulder Taps

To do a shoulder tap properly requires that you make use of many muscles at the same time. These muscles are in your abdomen, your back, your arms, and your chest area. Here is a guide that you can follow to do shoulder taps effectively;

You can start from the position of a kneeling plank, spreading your legs to the width of a hip.

Ensure that your entire weight is in the heel of your hands

Keep your ankles crossed, let your body form a straight line on the floor right from the crown of your head.

Before lifting your hand, make sure that you brace your core as if someone wants to punch your abdomen.

Then, control your palms to the upper part of the opposite arm all the while you remain with a squared shoulder and hips level in front of you.

Maintain straight legs as straight as much as possible you can, so that you keep engaging your quads and glutes all through the exercise.

You will raise one of your palms to the upper part of the opposite arm

Do not lift your feet nor rotate your hips

Pause for a moment before you return to the starting point.

Repeat the same thing for the other side.

This makes a rep.

You can include this exercise when warming up or you may choose to pair it with another exercise like a compound lift.

Ensure that you do as many reps as you can tolerate, no compensation. You can do for 3 times of 10-20 alternating taps

Tips: Be very careful, so that you will keep your shoulder blades in a rolled-down position lowering to your back and not that it will go up to your ears. As you maintain this position, it will engage your core.  So that your hips will stay on a level, you can imagine yourself balancing a cup of water on your lower back which must not spill. Watch this video to see how to achieve this.

The Reps or Sets You Can Do To Achieve The Best Results

You may want to start by only doing 6 to 10 sets on each side. Do this alternately with one other exercise that focuses on the core. This exercise may not have to bear weight on your shoulders, for example, flutter kicks. You may also rest for about 15 seconds in between reps.

The Benefits of shoulder plank

Among the reasons why you should do this exercise is that it also focuses on the core timing. A lot of people know about core strength but not about core timing.

Your deeper core muscles like the abdominals in addition to the more superficial muscles like the rectus abdominis and others must be contracting reactively. When this happens during your movements, it provides stability.  Lagging in the core muscles timing can result in the loss of your stability. As a result, you may lose power or sustain an injury.

So it doesn’t matter that your core is strong, you may miss out on an essential connection in your training. You can avoid this by focusing on the exercises that would address the improvement of your core timing.

The shoulder taps are not only the perfect exercise for increasing the efficiency of your core. It can also be a means of assessing your core timing.  If you cannot successfully do this exercise, you may divert to exercises like a stationary bear crawl.   However, if you can perform this exercise correctly, you can and continue to progress as much as you can.

Shoulder Taps mistakes

Some common mistakes that will not let your shoulder taps be effective includes;

1. Collapsing Your Lower Back

If you dip your butt, you are compromising your lower back. Instead, imagine that your belly button is pushing toward your spine to help you engage your core better.    As a result, you will be able to keep your torso flat, and also you will be saving your spine.

If you want to go the extra technical way, you can have someone place a broomstick on your back. Do this such that, the upper part of the broomstick will touch your head and the lower will be in between your butt. Also, ensure that the stick is in contact within between your shoulder blades so that it would align properly.

2. Tipping  Your Butt Towards The Sky

Shoulder tap planks must not look like the Downward Dog. For you to get your core engaged the correct way when you are planking; do the following ;

  • Keep a flat back to engage your abs from below your sternum to below your belt.

3. Dropping  Your Head

You may be keeping your focus on the hips, butt, and back while you are in the correct position. But to remain in for is more than your core and the lower body with the movements.

You must see your head and your neck as part of your back. Fix your eyes on the floor. Let your eyes stay like a foot in the front of your palms. As a result, your neck will remain in a balanced position.

4. Forgetting To Breathe

It is peculiar to human nature that you will hold your breath whenever you find yourself in a strenuous form. However, not taking in oxygen can cause you to be dizzy and nauseous. This is not pleasant to your body and can cause you harm.

5. Paying Too Much Attention To The Stopwatch

The quality of the exercises you can do is higher than the time you take in doing so.  When your body starts to be under too much pressure, you need to stop. Take a break when you feel that your back is blowing and your shoulders are sagging.

What Muscles Are Shoulder Taps Worked?

These plank shoulder taps are a higher normal plank variation. While it works your core muscles, it also works the ones on your shoulders, chest, and back of your legs.


For you to perform this exercise accurately, take note that you need to be able to meet the following prerequisites:

You should be able to perform a proper plank for about 15 seconds without any feeling of fatigue in your lower back.

You should be able to complete a Stationary Bear Crawl while you are not moving your hips

You must understand how to correctly load your wrists

If you can meet all the above-mentioned criteria then you should start doing this exercise.

It will work your transverse muscle through the core, it will also help you to improve body balance and coordination. Ensure that you take this exercise slow and consistently. Make sure that you complete each rep without error as much as you can.

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