What is Shoulder Taps Exercise?

Shoulder taps are a dynamic exercise that improve endurance and stability in the trunk and shoulder muscles. They involve touching one hand to the opposite shoulder while in a high plank position. This exercise works the abdominal muscles, deep trunk stabilizers, and rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder. It can be modified to make it easier or more challenging and is beneficial for rehabilitation of shoulder and lower back injuries.

The primary goal of shoulder-taps is to enhance shoulder stability, motor control, and range of motion. By performing this exercise regularly, individuals can improve their overall shoulder strength and reduce the risk of future injuries. Additionally, shoulder-taps help promote proper movement patterns and enhance core strength, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy spine.

How to Perform Shoulder Taps?

Maintaining proper form throughout the exercise is essential for maximizing its benefits and minimizing the risk of injury. Lets take a look at steps to perform Shoulder taps:

  1. Start in a straight arm plank with hands beneath shoulders and feet hip-width apart.
  2. Modify with knees down if needed for stability.
  3. Maintain straight alignment from back to legs, lifting head in line with spine.
  4. Lift one hand, tap opposite shoulder; repeat with the other hand.
  5. Bend elbow while tapping for controlled movements.
  6. Keep head aligned with the spine and perform slow, deliberate movements to prevent hip rotation.
  7. Engage core by drawing in abdominal muscles and tucking the bottom to avoid shifting body weight.
  8. Breathe steadily, avoid breath-holding, and adjust intensity based on comfort and physio advice.

Use of Merlin Physio App for Shoulder Taps

The Merlin Physio App is a versatile tool that can offer substantial benefits when it comes to shoulder taps, a common exercise in physiotherapy to improve shoulder strength and mobility. Here’s how the app can be helpful for this specific exercise:

  1. Progress Tracking: The app allows physiotherapists to track a patient’s progress over time. For shoulder-taps, this means monitoring how a patient’s shoulder strength and stability are improving. It’s a valuable feature to ensure that the exercise is effective and tailored to the individual’s needs.
  2. Exercise Guidance: Merlin Physio App can provide detailed exercise instructions and video demonstrations. For shoulder taps, this is crucial as it ensures that patients perform the exercise correctly to avoid injury and achieve the desired results.
  3. Goal Setting: Setting specific goals for shoulder-taps is vital in the rehabilitation process. The app allows physiotherapists and patients to set achievable goals, such as increasing the number of taps or improving the duration they can maintain the position. This motivates patients and provides a clear path to recovery.
  4. Real-time Feedback: During shoulder-taps, patients can receive real-time feedback through the app. The app’s AI can analyze their form and provide suggestions for improvement, ensuring that each repetition is as effective as possible.

Benefits of Shoulder Taps in Shoulder Physiotherapy

Shoulder taps offer numerous benefits for individuals undergoing shoulder physiotherapy. By incorporating shoulder taps into your rehabilitation routine, you can experience the following advantages:

  1. Improved Shoulder Stability: Shoulder-taps target the rotator cuff muscles, which are responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint. By strengthening these muscles, shoulder stability is enhanced, reducing the risk of future injuries.
  2. Increased Shoulder Strength: The repetitive nature of shoulder-taps helps build strength in the shoulder muscles, including the deltoid, trapezius, and rhomboids. This improved strength contributes to better overall shoulder function.
  3. Enhanced Shoulder Endurance: Shoulder taps are an endurance exercise that challenges the muscles to maintain stability for an extended period. Regular practice can improve shoulder endurance, allowing individuals to perform daily tasks with less fatigue.
  4. Rehabilitation of Shoulder Injuries: Shoulder taps can be incorporated into rehabilitation programs for various shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingement, and instability. The exercise helps restore range of motion, improve motor control, and rebuild strength in the affected shoulder.

By working closely with a physiotherapist, individuals can tailor their shoulder-taps routine to suit their specific rehabilitation needs and goals.

Precautions and Considerations

While shoulder-taps are generally safe for most individuals, it is crucial to exercise caution and consider any pre-existing shoulder or back injuries. Before attempting shoulder-taps or any other exercise, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or physiotherapist. They can provide personalized guidance and ensure that the exercise is appropriate for your condition.

Individuals with certain conditions, such as arthritis or frozen shoulder, may need to modify or avoid shoulder taps altogether. These conditions can affect joint mobility and may require alternative exercises or a more gradual approach to rehabilitation. Always prioritize your safety and follow the recommendations of your healthcare professional.

Furthermore, it is important to warm up properly before performing shoulder-taps or any other exercise. A proper warm-up routine helps prepare the muscles and joints for physical activity, reducing the risk of injury. Incorporate dynamic stretches and gentle movements that target the shoulders, back, and core to warm up the relevant muscles.

Lastly, remember to start with proper form and gradually progress the intensity and duration of your shoulder-taps routine. Rushing into high repetitions or attempting advanced variations without sufficient strength and stability can lead to strain or injury. Take your time, listen to your body, and follow a gradual progression plan to ensure a safe and effective rehabilitation process.


Shoulder-taps are a valuable exercise for shoulder physiotherapy, offering numerous benefits for individuals recovering from shoulder injuries or looking to improve their shoulder strength and stability. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this guide, you can unlock the power of shoulder-taps and accelerate your rehabilitation process. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or physiotherapist before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing shoulder or back injuries. With proper guidance and consistent practice, shoulder-taps can help you achieve optimal shoulder health and function. Embrace the challenge, prioritize safety, and enjoy the journey.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How often should I perform shoulder taps for shoulder physiotherapy?

A: The frequency of shoulder taps depends on various factors, including your current fitness level, rehabilitation goals, and the guidance of your physiotherapist. Generally, it is recommended to perform shoulder taps 2-3 times per week, allowing for rest and recovery between sessions. However, it is crucial to tailor your exercise routine to your specific needs and to follow the recommendations of your healthcare professional.

Q2: How long should I hold the plank position during shoulder taps?

A: During shoulder taps, the focus is on controlled movements rather than holding the plank position for an extended period. Aim to maintain a stable plank position while performing the taps, with minimal rotation or swaying of the body. The duration of the plank position can vary depending on your strength and stability. Start with shorter holds, such as 10-15 seconds, and gradually increase the duration as you progress.

Q3: Can shoulder taps help prevent future shoulder injuries?

A: Yes, shoulder taps can play a significant role in preventing future shoulder injuries. By improving shoulder stability, strength, and motor control, shoulder taps help individuals develop proper movement patterns and reduce the risk of imbalances or compensations that can lead to injuries. Incorporating shoulder taps into a well-rounded exercise routine, along with proper warm-up and cool-down protocols, can contribute to long-term shoulder health.