Why Shoulder Taps Should Be Part Of Your Workout Routine

Even if you didn't know exactly what they were called, you've probably seen shoulder taps before. Whether someone pulled them off at the gym or you saw them as part of a workout routine's advanced form, they're fairly common in the world of fitness. They are more than a cool-looking addition to planks, however. They have a range of benefits all their own.

Planks are an isometric exercise. This means that they're performed by holding one position for an extended period of time, causing the muscles supporting the position to contract. The Mayo Clinic explains that they're really good at building strength in the contracted muscles, explaining why planks are so popular. By contracting the shoulders, arms, and core, planks strengthen all three sections.

Adding in taps changes the entire dynamic of the plank, however. Because you're no longer stationary, the exercise is no longer isometric. Women's Health calls the new motion an anti-rotation exercise. And this new exercise form brings in benefits you'll want to see in your workout routine.

Multi-angle core workout

Anti-rotation exercises might not sound like a good thing. Flexibility and the ability to rotate easily are both important traits, with workout routines dedicated to the skills. But in this instance, anti-rotation exercises refer to motions that help stabilize and strengthen your core without rotating it. The American Council on Exercise explains that this is especially important for the lumbar spine, which has very little range of motion. Anti-rotation exercises help stabilize it without unnecessary strain.

Shoulder taps are just one kind of anti-rotation exercise and they're certainly not the easiest. They do, however, offer additional benefits that aren't always combined with anti-rotation exercises. Their other big benefit is that they work the transverse abdominal muscles, which wrap around our cores and create structure across the waist and hips (via Women's Health).

These benefits, combined with the benefits that standard planks have to offer, really make shoulder taps shine. They're not the easiest exercise to perform, even if you do them on your knees. But they're well worth the effort.