Plank shoulder taps are a refined version of the standard plank exercises, commonly reputed for working chest, shoulder, and core muscles and the plank shoulder taps benefits are numerous. The activity starts when you’re in a press-up position with the feet aligned to the hips and shoulders under the shoulders.
The hips must be kept still as you lift and tap one hand on your other shoulder. Repeat this movement using your other hand. You can do the planks times while your core is tightly squeezed and the body is held in a still position. Plank shoulder taps benefits include the power to work out transverse core muscles and boost coordination and balance.
The Difficulty Level of Shoulder Taps
Shoulder taps planking is categorized into three difficulty levels, including beginner, advanced, and intermediate. The beginner shoulder tapping is simple and perfect for strengthening core stability.
The standard shoulder tap variation could pose some challenges to beginners, and that’s why they may have to use a bench to lift their hands and ease the shoulder tapping complexity. With this shoulder tap variation, beginners need to do three sets of 4 to 8 shoulder arm taps.
The intermediate shoulder tap variation is the standard option and works perfectly for lifters familiar with shoulder plank tapping. With this variation, lifters can place their hands apart and pull their legs together to increase the difficulty level. Holding the hand on the other shoulder for extended periods also makes the exercise more challenging.
The advanced variation suits lifters that have mastered the game of shoulder tapping. It works only when you’ve gained optimal weight plate and chains resistance. Lifters can make the exercise more challenging by doing banded rows or renegade rows when in the plank position.
What Equipment Is Needed?
All variations of shoulder taps require different levels of skill. Some variations are quite complex and would require using renegade row or banded rowers. You may as well want to use weighted clothing to increase the difficulty level and increase your productivity.
Common Plank Shoulder Taps Benefits
Plank shoulder taps benefits are incredibly many and the variations are unbelievably many, too. Lifters can choose a plank shoulder tap variation, depending on your technical capacity and experience level, preferred rep/set scheme, and the exercises you are pairing with.
Plank shoulder taps perform great in toning abs and arms, reducing pain in your lower back, enhancing your flexibility, and boosting your posture. Doing shoulder taps also strengthen the midsection, improving the anti-clockwise action of your shoulders.
After doing this exercise for an extended period, you’ll even notice that your shoulder strength has increased, and your overall stamina has improved. Here outlined, is a breakdown of what shoulder plank taps can do to your overall health.
- Strengthens the anterior core strength
- Conditioning your body
- The exercise is simply easy and fun
- It needs no particular type or grade of equipment
- Helps boost shoulder stability
- Strengthen your shoulder’s ability to resist injuries
- Enhances your overall body stability and stamina
Common Plank Shoulder Taps Variations
Because plank shoulder variations are an advanced version of regular planks, there are more variations to this version of planks than you can imagine. The variations include elevating legs, elevating the upper body, adding weight to your chest, or even wearing weighted clothing. Here are some variations you will find interesting.
- Decline plank shoulder taps: with these shoulder tap variations, you should elevate the feet using a box or bench. You should then do the planks as you always do with a standard variation.
- Added weight plank shoulder taps: with this type of variation, you may want to hold dumbbells, add ankle weights to your wrists, wear a weighted vest, or even place weighted plates on the back. Try to elevate your feet while doing the planks and shoulder taps to work your core more.
What You Should Not Do When Doing Plank Shoulder Taps
Plank shoulder taps are indeed a complicated exercise. Nothing is more painful than spending hours daily doing different plank shoulder taps only for the set workout time to elapse without bringing forth any tangible results. Most of such issues are caused by doing the plank shoulder taps the wrong way.
- Not aligning the body and the legs well: one mistake that can render your plank shoulder taps less effective is failing to align your body and legs as they should. Doing so often sink the hips deep into the group and raises the glutes extra high. That leads to a weak core and often renders the exercise not as effective as it should.
- Having a bad posture: another mistake you’re making when doing plank shoulder taps is not straightening the spine and keeping the head position straight. Position your body such that you won’t crane the neck or end up dropping the head to the chest as you exercise.
- Arched back: don’t allow your upper body to drop down when you’re doing the plank shoulder taps. When that happens, the shoulders will become inactive with no tension exerted on them. Exposing your body to such a condition for extended periods would likely cause lower back pain.
- Bent knees: when you bent the knees, it often releases the glutes and reduces overall body tension, making the exercise less effective. You want to set your legs such that they are straight and the kneecaps are close to the thighs to help you maintain form and support the hips.
You could also read about exercises to avoid with shoulder impingement.
Plank Shoulder Taps Benefits – Conclusion
The plank shoulder taps benefits include more than just strengthening your core and working your shoulder muscles. The wide variety of plank shoulder taps variations at your disposal address varied muscle groups.
All plank shoulder taps variations can be performed by people with different skill levels. You can transit from one less demanding shoulder tap exercise to a more complicated one as you keep on advancing skill-wise.
Don’t forget to avoid committing any of the mistakes we outlined when doing the plank shoulder taps. In case you have shoulder pain or injury, you may have to inquire from your coach to know if any of these shoulder tap variation exercises would be an ideal fit.