How to Toe Tap: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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If you want a move that increases lower body strength and get your heart rate up, toe touches come out. Since you can change the typing speed, you control the pitch. Add this exercise to your lower body workout, cardiovascular routine or circuit training program.

Target: Lower body and core

Necessary equipment: Aerobic step, bench, plyometric box or BOSU ball

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

How to do a toe touch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

As a bodyweight exercise, all you need to get started is a platform high enough to challenge you to the rhythm while you tap your toes (ideally at least 10 to 12 inches tall) . You can use an aerobic jump, a plyo box, a BOSU ball, or another raised platform.

Make sure the area around and behind you is clear of any debris that could trip you, then stand in front of the platform with your arms at your sides. Lift your right foot and place the ball of that foot on the platform, keeping your left foot flat on the ground. This is your starting position.

  1. Push your left foot off the ground and switch legs in the air, so that the left foot touches the floor and the right foot touches the ground. Your arms can be kept at your sides or alternate with your legs, just like when running.
  2. Repeat alternating toe touches. If you’re new to this exercise, do it slowly until you’re comfortable with the right movement and technique. When you’re ready, increase the speed, simply touching the edge of the platform when alternating feet.
  3. Step both feet back and onto the floor to finish this exercise.

Since this exercise requires balance and stability, you may notice that you look down at the platform while alternating toe touches. When you feel comfortable with the movement, try holding your head high and looking ahead.

Benefits of Toe Taps

Toe flaps target the muscles in the lower body — quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves. They also help strengthen your core, which can lead to less back pain, improved balance, and better flexibility, stretching, and rotation of your trunk.

Since you are constantly tapping on each foot, you are also operating your cardiovascular system. This means that adding toe tapping to your current exercise routine can increase your heart rate and help you burn more calories while also building strength.

The motion pattern of the toe exercise prepares your body for more advanced exercises like lunges and plyometric box jumps. If you play soccer, they can even help improve your jump height and sprint speed.

As a functional strength exercise, regular toe tapping can ease you into everyday activities that involve using the same movements, such as climbing stairs.

This exercise shares the same name as the Pilates toe tap exercise, but it’s not the same exercise. For starters, this toe tap is done standing versus lying on your back. Also, the Pilates version targets the core more than the lower body.

Other variations of the toe

You can modify this exercise based on your fitness level or needs.

Shorter platform

If touching a 10- to 12-inch-high surface is too difficult, consider using a lower step or removing the platform altogether. You still get the cardiovascular benefits of hitting the ground repeatedly; it just makes it a lower impact cardio exercise.

Toe faucet

If you find it difficult to stand for long periods of time or stand without losing your balance, do the toe tap in a sitting position. You can even turn this into a full-body exercise by doing biceps curls or overhead presses with each press in place.

Higher platform

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, consider increasing the height of the platform. A higher step or box requires you to bring your knees higher. Not only does this add to the cardiovascular component, but it also forces your leg muscles to work harder.

Faucet toe load

Another way to make movement more difficult is to add drag. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or wear ankle weights to increase the mass you have to move in the toe exercise.

Speed ​​up

Focus on increasing the speed or tempo of your taps each time you do the exercise to make it harder as your fitness improves. Track the number of toe taps you do in a 30-second period and see if you can beat your record.

BOSU Toe Move

If you have a BOSU ball, you can increase the intensity by moving around the dome. Start with a basic toe-tapping motion. But instead of standing still, move around the dome while touching and switching legs. Go clockwise for 15 seconds, then counter-clockwise for 15 seconds. Increase your period as you get healthier.

Common mistake

Avoid common mistakes when doing toe curls to keep this exercise safe and effective.

The platform is too high

Make sure the platform, ladder, or box you choose is the right height for your fitness level. The shorter the box, the easier the movement. If the edge where you knock is too high, you may lose your balance or rely too much on your hip flexors to do most of the work.

Fail to keep core engagement

The strength, stability, and support generated from working your core muscles can help you move faster while also protecting your lower back from injury. Practice pulling the navel toward the spine to better activate these muscles.

Lean forward from the waist

When you get tired, your technique can start to suffer, which often results in leaning forward. However, doing toe bends at the low back can cause pain and discomfort in your lower back. To avoid this, try to stay tall for the duration of the exercise.

Safety and Precautions

In general, toe taps are safe to do. Since you can vary the speed of your foot rotation, this exercise is suitable for most fitness levels.

If you have any health conditions that limit your ability to do cardiovascular exercises, or if you have any problems with your knees, hips, feet, or ankles, talk to your doctor. before starting toe exercises.

If you feel discomfort during exercise, stop and rest. As you continue the movement, try touching the ground before moving back to the bench, box, or BOSU ball. If you feel real pain, stop the exercise immediately.

Try to do the toe touches for 30 to 60 seconds without stopping. If you can’t do this for long as a beginner, start with 10-second sessions and increase the time in 5-second increments as you gain more strength and endurance.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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