There is always a ton of talk about “weak hips” and “needing to strengthen your abductors for such and such a reason”. While we can argue on what exactly works, one thing we can agree on is that everyone; from the average Joe to the elite athlete, can benefit from controlling movements side-to-side (coronal plane).
There are plenty of different exercises which work to control movement and increase stability. One of the most common is lateral band walks. While they are very common, they are often done incorrectly. I want to focus on a different exercise that do not get as much attention but can yield just as much, if not more, benefit than lateral band walks.
Enter Lateral Toe Taps.
6 Lateral Toe Tap Variations You Have to Try
Bodyweight Lateral Toe Taps:
Ankle-Banded Lateral Toe Taps:
Knee-Banded Lateral Toe Taps:
Multi-Reaching Lateral Toe Taps:
Dumbbell Goblet Lateral Toe Taps:
Barbell Lateral Toe Taps:
Cues, Making Sense of When to Use, Performance…
Cues and Tips:
The exercises are listed in order from easiest to hardest. With that known, please don’t just skip to barbell lateral toe taps. The beauty of this exercise is in the fine details. I use this exercise with a lot of top level athletes and you would be surprised how many of them struggle to properly handle this movement.
- Slightly bend your non-moving knee. From here the whole focus needs to be placed upon staying upright and not collapsing out to the side. This is the major problem I see with most through this movement, they try to shift away from remaining tall and take it easy on the downside’s outer hip from helping to stabilize them through the movement. Your outer hip should be on fire by the end of a set.
- You should feel a burning on the outer hip of the leg that doesn’t move.
- When you extend your other leg out, I’m not looking for you to keep constant contact with the ground upon extending the leg out to the side, in fact, I’d prefer if you think about it as much more of a controlled tap. I want you to imagine you are barefoot and stepping out onto glass. Gently touch the foot to the glass, slow and controlled or else risk cutting yourself.
- I only want you to progress this movement once you have owned the variation before it. I have the movements in the exact order that I progress these with my clients.
Making Sense of When to Use:
I get these two questions in regards to this movement, “When should I add this exercise to my routine?” or “Will this benefit me?”
The answer is quite simple. This will benefit everyone. I honestly have yet to meet a single person who wouldn’t benefit from more control. Simply stated, everyone should include some sort of movement which teaches you how to control and begin to gain strength over rotation and lateral positioning.
Performance: Sets, Reps, and Frequency:
Now knowing these exercise variations and knowing you should do them is great and all, but without action it is just nearly useless information, so how we do program them into your weekly workout regime?
How to Use These to Become Stronger and More Stable
Sets: 2-3 sets.
Reps: 12-15 per side.
Frequency: Depends how much control you have to begin with. Generally, you will need 2-3x/week. As far as where in your workout it should be placed, I have my clients place it near the beginning of their workout after the warm-up due to the nature of the movement being based around precise movement. This means that I want your energy level high, so that you can focus on doing this movement effective and appropriately.
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