How To Do Heel Touches Properly

If you are out of the workout ideas targeting the abdominal muscles in a big way, heel touches should be your solution.

Also known as ankle taps, they are an excellent bodyweight exercise, mainly using your body muscles around your abdominal area.

The workout activates the muscles in the midsection area as a core exercise while using tension and resistance from the body weight.

You end up working out the abdominal muscles from all angles. This is why you should include this routine in your exercise regime.

So, how do you correctly perform the alternate heel taps/touches? Follow these steps.

  • To begin, lie down on the ground with your knees bent at an incline of 90 degrees.
  • Let the arms rest your side while the shoulders raise slightly from the ground. Feel it that the midsection is on target.
  • Twirl your midsection till your heel is within reach of a single hand.
  • Let the tension build in the abs but breathe normally; don’t hold your breath for proper oxygen flow to the abdominals and all other muscles involved.
  • Breathe deeply into the exercise, and use your obliques to extend your arms outward.
  • Repeat the process on the other side.

WHAT MUSCLES DO HEEL TOUCHES WORK?

The heel touches workout primarily targets the abdominal muscles and the obliques.

ABDOMINAL MUSCLES

Ankle touch targets two large abdominal muscles. They are the transverse abdominis and the rectus abdominis.

The transverse abdominis located behind the rectus abdominis is a group of muscles that help to stabilize the abdominal wall. These muscles help retain the spine in place while also supporting and stabilizing the organs.

In the absence of these essential muscles, moving your limbs becomes nearly impossible because they are crucial foundation muscles.

The rectus abdominis, on the other hand, are the frontal and long abdominal muscles along the abdominal wall. These muscles are famously known as the ‘six pack’ placed in your core’s middle section.

The primary role of the rectus abdominis is to bring the pelvis forward.

INTERNAL OBLIQUES

The internal obliques are a small layer of muscle residing on the lateral side of the rectus abdominis, above the transverse abdominis.

These muscles work simultaneously, thereby bending and flexing the body during various actions.

EXTERNAL OBLIQUES

Contrary to the internal obliques, the external oblique muscles are more extensive, and they sit on the frontal part of the transverse abdominis.

They are responsible for twisting your torso and working in sync with the internal obliques.

HIP FLEXORS

Hip flexors are a set of muscles that assist bring your legs and trunk together. They help you bend knees or meet legs by bending at the waist.

HEEL TOUCHES BENEFITS

Performing heel touches correctly gives you a lot of benefits, as discussed below.

INCREASES CORE MUSCLE STRENGTH

Alternate heel taps have mighty power for your core muscles because they activate all your primary muscles around the abdominal area.

A STRONGER BACK

Ankle tap is great for building a stronger back because it engages your back muscle during a lift.

TARGET YOUR OBLIQUES

Exercising anterior and posterior obliques during the heel touch activates the abdominal muscles along the sides of your body.

BETTER FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY

Heel touches help improve lower-back stability and hip flexor flexibility with practice.

YOU CAN DO THEM AT HOME

You do not need any sophisticated gym equipment to perform the heel touch. What you need is to master the right moves and a yoga mat to pull it off at home.

ALTERNATIVES TO HEEL TOUCHES

There are several alternatives to heel touches that you can perform. Here they are, with steps on how to do them.

SPIDER PLANK

  • Drive the knees out and up towards each elbow one at a time in an extended plank position.
  • Repeat slowly and carefully.
  • Exhale with each knee push to keep your spine flat throughout the workout.
  • Work up to a total of 20-24 reps over three rounds, with 10-12 reps on each side of the body.

RUSSIAN TWISTS

  • Sit upright on the floor with your legs bent at a 45-degree angle and your back straight.
  • Lean back around 15-20 degrees in your chair to activate your rectus abdominis.
  • Start by interlocking your fingers and twisting your torso while keeping your feet firm.
  • Use your hands to aim towards your hips on each side of your body. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell to add resistance.
  • Keep your toes pointed up and your heels pressed firmly into the ground.
  • Work to a total of 24-30 reps in three rounds, with 12-15 reps per side.

ROCKING ABDOMINAL CRUNCH

  • Assume a flat position on the floor with your legs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground.
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you, facing your knees, and raise your chin and shoulders.
  • Do not go all the way forward and up, but only about halfway, and then slowly come back down.
  • Maintain a neutral neck and eye-to-ceiling gaze during this exercise.
  • Do at least three rounds of 15-20 reps.

HEEL TOUCHES EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID

Three common mistakes are likely to impact your experience with this workout.

SQUEEZING ABDOMINAL MUSCLES

Your abdominal muscles cannot properly contract if you don’t squeeze them correctly. The motive of this exercise is to have your obliques firing all the way through, which is only possible with a proper squeeze.

NOT BREATHING PROPERLY

Improper breathing is yet another prevalent blunder when performing heel touches.

Oxygen supply to your abdominal muscles relies on how well you breathe in and breathe out. Proper oxygen flow is paramount for your ab exercise because oxygen supplies muscles with energy.

NECK STRAINING

As part of this workout, the rectus abdominis is held in place. Thus, it is wrong to put too much strain on your neck.

It would be best to stop and pause whenever you feel pressure on the neck is too much.

CONCLUSION

Heel touches are great ab workouts demanding nothing much than floor space, correct form, and profound energy to do it all. It is an excellent approach to develop your core and obliques. Why don’t you do it thrice in a week and get that ‘six pack’ popping?