How To Do Elbow Touches Properly

Elbow touches are a great exercise to engage your core muscles as well as help improve your hip stability.

Basic elbow touches are done in a plank position and with no equipment necessary although you can get a workout mat to make it more comfortable.

There are a lot of variations of the elbow touches that you can add to your program to make it more diverse and less monotonous.

They can however be modified to become more challenging if you feel they are getting too simple.

Elbow touches require you to get in a plank position. Unlike a basic plank, they are an active move that require you to use your palms to alternately touch the elbow of the opposite arm holding up your body.

The steps for doing elbow touches are simple and straightforward, however the exercise itself is far from it.

It is a high energy, low impact exercise that will target your arms, shoulders, obliques and abs.

This exercise will spike your heart rate when you switch up and shift the weight from arm to arm which will boost your cardio.

It is great to engage the core muscles and provide proper lumbo-pelvic stability.

Elbow touches also come with strength training benefits. You will feel this as the exercise becomes progressively easier to with time.

This exercise is a great way to spice up your core exercise. It is important to note however that you should do this exercise after getting used to a high plank.

HOW TO DO ELBOW TOUCHES

This exercise does not require any equipment to perform. You can however get an exercise mat to make the exercise more comfortable for your palms.

You also need free space where you can stretch out comfortably without any obstacles.

  • Start by getting on the basic high plank position with your arms stretched out directly under your shoulders.
  • Keep your head neutral and your shoulders, hips and knees aligned while still keeping your core tight.
  • Keep your feet hip width apart, however you can increase the base to make the exercise easier for you.
  • While still squeezing your core and keeping your hips and shoulders square to the ground, press into your right hand as you raise your left palm to your right elbow.
  • Return your left arm back to starting position and switch up to tap your left elbow with your right palm.
  • Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed throughout the exercise and avoid any unnecessary swaying of your hips.
  • Alternate between both sides for around 10-20 reps for 3 sets incrementally as you gain strength and endurance.

Make sure you remain as steady as possible throughout the exercise without any kind of twisting motion.

If the high plank feels too hard for you, you can do a kneeling plank instead until you build up enough strength for the regular plank.

WHAT MUSCLES DO ELBOW TOUCHES WORK?

Elbow touches work most of your muscles in your body, primarily targeting the core muscles, glute and arm muscles.

THE CORE MUSCLES

This exercise will target your internal and external obliques, mulifidus, and your abdominal muscles.

The engagement of the core during the exercise triggers muscle activation in these muscle groups.

Muscle activation forms the basis for burning belly fat and building muscle. This will help you tone your core and have defined six-pack abs for a better physique.

Having a stronger core is also another added benefit to doing this exercise.

THE ARMS

The arm muscles are responsible for holding the body up throughout the elbow touch exercise.

Naturally each arm will get enough impact from this exercise because of the alternating movement while touching the elbows.

Your biceps and triceps in the upper arm will benefit from this exercise as the hold up the weight of your body.

The flexors and extensors of the forearm will also be worked by elbow touches. Your wrist muscles are also targeted by this exercise since they form an anchor for the elbow touches.

THE SHOULDER MUSCLES

The anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids in your shoulder are vital in providing strength and support to your arms when holding up your body during the exercise.

These muscles benefit from this exercise to improve your strength and shoulder stability.

LOWER BACK MUSCLES

The erector spinae in your lower back will benefit from the exercise. This will give a sturdier lower back which will reduce risk of lower back pains.

Your gluteal muscles and hip flexors will also be targeted by the elbow taps.

BENEFITS OF DOING ELBOW TOUCHES

IMPROVES POSTURE

Elbow touches demand elongation of the spine and careful positioning of the body.

This encourages better posture and helps you stand taller.

THEY ARE VERSATILE

This exercise can be incorporated into your workout program as a pre workout or to workout your core in your strength training regimen.

Additionally, they don’t require any equipment or a specific place to do. You can do them on almost any flat surface with enough free space to stretch out comfortably.

BURN BELLY FAT

This exercise will target your core to get rid of belly fat build up while still working your muscles to improve your strength and also build them.

This will help you sculpt your ab muscles to get six-pack abs.

ALTERNATIVES TO ELBOW TOUCHES

SHOULDER TAPS

Shoulder taps are very similar to elbow touches. They require the same form and have roughly the same impact on your muscles.

For shoulder taps, you raise your palms all the way to your shoulders till they touch and return to start position while alternating arms.

PLANKS

Planks come in many variations. They are a great low impact workout that will work your core.

For the basic version, you just get in the plank position and hold it for a given duration of time which you can increase as you advance.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING ELBOW TOUCHES

DROOPING YOUR HIPS

Perfect form is of utmost importance when doing elbow touches. Your core should remain tight to keep your hips and lower back perfectly aligned.

ROCKING FROM SIDE TO SIDE

It is natural that your body will rock from side to side when doing this exercise, however, you should keep unnecessary rocking at a minimum.

Keeping a tight core will help improve your general stability when doing the exercise.

CONCLUSION

Elbow touches are a great addition to your strength training HIIT workout to mostly target your core along with most of your other muscles.

When done properly they come with their fair share of benefits. You can adjust the form of the exercise to fit your exercise level.