The number of exercises you can use to work your core muscles is impressive. Find out how to do lying toe touches and what their benefits are.
Lying toe touches are an exercise where you lie down on your back, point your legs up in the air, and reach toward your feet with your hands.
You can describe this as a crunch variation where keep your legs in the air and raise your upper body slightly farther.
Lying toe touches will still mainly work your ab muscles and can be an effective exercise for growing and strengthening these muscles.
While the differences will be tiny, you may find lying toe touches slightly more comfortable and fun than crunches.
On the flip side, your abs may go through a slightly smaller range of motion which is suboptimal for training results.
In simpler words, if you like doing lying toe touches, you can definitely do them. Potentially with weights if this is needed to see your desired results.
At the same time, regular crunches will still be a great exercise option too.
How to do a lying toe touch
Something like a yoga mat can make your lying toe touches a lot more comfortable to do. That aside, take the following steps to do this exercise:
- Lie down on your back.
- Raise your legs until they are about vertical and keep them slightly less than stretched. Additionally, point your arms up.
- Slowly reach toward your feet with your hands and raise your shoulders as far as comfortable.
- Lower your shoulders back to the ground in a controlled motion.
You don’t have to actually touch your toes to get the benefits from lying toe touches. Just keep your movements controlled so that your ab muscles have to work hard.
If you want to work your obliques (side core muscles), you can reach with one hand toward the foot of the other side.
Make sure you do this variation the same number of times on each side to avoid muscle imbalances.
Muscles worked with lying toe touches
The main muscles worked with lying toe touches are your abs. Besides that, your hip flexor muscles have to work to some extent to keep your legs in the air.
Similar to all resistance training exercises, you likely won’t see the results you want by just doing a few lying toe touches here and there.
More specifically, make sure you implement a good training plan with enough lying toe touches and any extra resistance if needed.
You can use basically any compact weight to add this resistance. Some examples include a dumbbell, a heavy backpack, a medicine ball, etc.
Lying toe touch benefits
If they align with your training goals, lying toe touches can offer a few nice benefits. Some of these are:
- Stronger muscles: By doing enough lying toe touches with enough pressure, you can grow and strengthen your ab muscles.
- Balance & coordination: Lying toe touches require some balance and coordination. This could lead to tiny improvements in these areas.
- No equipment or location required: Lying toe touches are a bodyweight exercise. In turn, you don’t have to spend any money on exercise equipment or spend time on the road to go to your local gym.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Strengthening your abs with lying toe touches can help you reduce and avoid back pain (1, 2). Some people will also find the start position of lying toe touches more comfortable in this area.
- More visible six-pack: Once your body fat percentage is low enough, lying toe touches can make your six-pack abs stand out more. This is typically considered to be a visual benefit.
It is true that lying toe touches are not the only exercise that offers this.
However, if you enjoy doing them and the benefits align with your goals, you can definitely consider this specific movement.
Lying toe touch alternatives
You may also want to know what other options you have for getting the benefits above and/or working other muscles. A few lying toe touch alternatives are:
- Reverse crunches
- Hanging knee raises
- Cable crunches
- Scissor kicks
- Plank exercises
What muscles you want to work in what ways and with what equipment will influence your decision between these lying toe touch alternatives.
Are lying toe touches a good exercise?
Lying toe touches can be a good exercise for growing and strengthening your ab muscles.
Some people will find lying toe touches more comfortable and fun than more standard ab exercises like crunches.
If these things apply to you, you can definitely add lying toe touches to your ab workouts. Potentially while holding some extra weight if this benefits your fitness goals.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that there are many effective at-home-friendly ab exercises too. You may like these more than lying toe touches too.