How to Do Alternating Toe Touches Properly

Alternating toe touches has always been considered as a way of demonstrating flexibility in the muscles from your lower back to your calves.

When planning a stretching and exercise routine, it is a common flexibility test for both athletes and general fitness individuals.

WHY DO YOU FIND ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES DIFFICULT?

Because touching your toes generally lies in flexing your ankles, knees, and lower back, the inability to do so is a clear indication of several reasons that are linked to flexibility.

Stiffness in areas such as your back, your ankles, and hips may lead to a reduced ability to engage in alternating toe touches.

Some of the common habits and positions such as extending sitting or standing periods and even previous injuries may lead to difficulty in performing this exercise.

In order to loosen these areas, one should engage in the full flexibility routine targeted at each of them.

HOW TO DO ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES PROPERLY

  • Lie down on your exercise mat with your back pressed against the floor and extend your hands overhead.
  • Have your legs straight and slightly broader than shoulder-width apart.
  • Breathing out, crunch up, raise your left leg and right hand to touch each other.
  • Hold for a while and feel the contraction in your abdominal muscles.
  • Breathe in and release back to starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, raising the left leg and right hand to touch each other. That forms one rep.

TIPS TO DOING THE ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES PROPERLY

Avoid bending your knees. Remember to always have your arms and legs straight while doing this workout.

If you are having difficulties in touching your toes, just aim to reach as far as you can because extreme stretching could also damage your back.

Do not just let your legs and arms fall. Keep your core tight to enable you to release them slowly and lower them down, while resisting the force of gravity.

To know if you are doing it right, you should feel your hamstrings, back, lower abs, and hip flexors.

WHAT MUSCLES DO ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES WORK?

This workout is considered calisthenics and Pilates exercise which primarily targets the abs and to an extent also targets the obliques, hip flexors, and quads.

ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES BENEFITS

Below are the benefits associated with alternating toe touches

STRETCHES YOUR BACK AND HAMSTRINGS

This classic move will stretch both your hamstrings and the four muscle groups that are found in the back of your thigh. With this exercise, you can also work on your erector spinal muscles that are found on the lower back.

TARGETS YOUR ABS

You can target your abs by combining alternating toe touches with crunch, sometimes known as the vertical toe crunch or just toe touch.

Other overall benefits of alternating toe touches include:

  • Reduced risk of strains in your hamstrings.
  • Reduced risk of Achilles tendons injuries.
  • Improved performance in flexibility-dependent exercises.
  • Improved movements during functional activities.

ALTERNATIVES TO ALTERNATING TOE TOUCHES

BURPEE

The burpees are the ultimate exercise. They combine both cardio and strength by engaging major muscle groups of the body in rapid successions.

They involve push ups, squats and jumps and are also responsible for working your heart.

Some of the primary muscles it works include: calves, abs, triceps, hip flexors, quadriceps while the secondary muscles worked include: upper pecs, wrist flexors, and deltoids.

AB CRUNCHES

When it comes to abdominal muscles, crunches are the most common form of exercise. Similar to sit-ups, the ab crunches involve lifting your upper body off the floor using your core.

However, remember not to squat too high such that the exercise becomes a sit-up as this will divert the focus from your abdominals and direct them to your hip flexors instead.

The primary muscles worked by this alternative exercise are abs while the secondary ones are obliques.

IN AND OUT EXERCISE

The in and out exercise is a bodyweight exercise that will work your abs, hip flexors, lower and upper abs.

It is an alternative to alternating toe touches which if done well, can effectively work your legs, lower body and waist.

SCORPION

This alternative to alternating toe touches is a bodyweight exercise that works your quadriceps and abs.

It targets your hips, upper legs, waist and lower body. It is also a great home exercise because it requires no equipment at all.

BICYCLE CRUNCHES

This alternative exercise to alternating toe touches is designed to work and strengthen the core.

It is a great exercise if you are targeting multiple areas of your abdominals such as your upper abs and your obliques.

Its benefits range from leg stretch to full body strength to core strength while it works on the following primary muscles: Abs, hamstrings, deltoids and glutes.

DOWNWARD DOG EXERCISE

This alternative to alternating toe touches forms an integral part of yoga practice that helps the performer to flow from one position to the next smoothly.

When done correctly, this iconic move will leave your shoulders, core, and legs feeling strong and deeply engaged.

Some of its benefits include arm strength, flexibility, and leg strength.

WINDMILL EXERCISE

This alternative to alternating toe touches is a bodyweight exercise that works your abs, hamstrings, deltoids, and side deltoids.

It is a great and simple move which when effectively done targets your arms, core, legs, upper body, and waist.

It primarily works the following muscles: wrist flexors, front deltoids, and hamstrings.

REVERSE CRUNCHES

Reverse crunches are bodyweight exercise that work your abs and quadriceps. They are a great move which can effectively target your core, hips, legs and lower body.

In addition, they are an excellent home exercise since they require no equipment.

While performing this exercise, you should engage your core throughout and avoid doing it too quickly as this can damage your spinal cord.

CONCLUSION

Alternating toe touches demonstrate flexibility in your hamstrings, lower back and calves.

In order to reap the maximum benefits of this exercise, consider performing a comprehensive stretching routine that addresses the muscle areas you need to touch your toes.