Not many exercises rank higher than the plank to develop your arms, shoulders and core.
The plank requires minimal space and no equipment and is a non-impact exercise.
Plank shoulder taps are a variation of a traditional plank. By arranging your body in a prone position, keep tension on your abs, low back, shoulders and glutes. When you add a shoulder tap, you engage the obliques and increase the demand on your stabilizers, or smaller muscles, to keep your body from rotating.
Essentially, if you can hold a plank for long periods, try the plank shoulder tap to increase the difficulty.
The shoulder tap has the same core-strengthening benefits of the plank but is more challenging for your arms and shoulders. Also, keeping your balance and body position raises the challenge to your core.
Start in a high or elevated plank position. Support your body on your hands and toes with your arms extended and hands directly under your shoulders with your legs extended. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders: don’t sag your hips or point them up to the ceiling.
Next, raise one hand off the floor, move it up and across to tap the opposite shoulder. Return your hand to the floor and repeat on the other side.
Don’t rotate your hips as you move your arms, and remember to engage your core and glutes. The rest of your body should stay still. Imagine a goldfish in a fishbowl resting on your lower back and don’t let him fall.
If this is a bit easy for you, hold your shoulder tap for 5 seconds or more before switching hands. Of course, you can always return to a standard plank if this is difficult.
You can also build up to the full shoulder tap by executing it with your knees on the floor to start.