Watch a warm-up for any soccer team — from your local junior varsity squad to the World Cup champs — and you’re bound to see the toe taps exercise.

A lot like jogging in place but with more precision, toe taps require the player to repeatedly tap a soccer ball with alternating feet, often while circling the soccer ball.

“Toe taps can be a great cardio exercise that, if you’re using an object as your target, also promotes proprioception (your sense of the position of your body),” says Cody Braun, CPT.

Toe taps prime athletes for performance by elevating their heart rate, warming up their body tissue, and challenging their speed and agility.

But toe taps are effective off the pitch, too. A cardio move that requires minimal equipment, the toe tap exercise is a great option for HIIT circuits and at-home workouts.

So if you’re trying to improve your heart health or drop a few pounds, try your hand (or feet!) at toe taps.

Toe Taps Exercise: Step-by-Step Instructions

shaun t toe taps | toe taps

  • Stand facing a step, short bench, or any stable object that’s about 12 inches high.
  • Bend your elbows 90 degrees — left arm forward, right arm back — and place your right toes on top of the step.
  • Keeping your chest up and core engaged, quickly switch your feet so that your right foot is on the ground and your left toes are on the step, pumping your arms in sync.
  • Continue to switch your feet and arms as fast as you can.

How to Make Toe Taps Easier

Toe taps look easy, but after 30 seconds, it can start to feel like you’re wearing ankle weights. If you’re new to the toe taps exercise, you can make some minor modifications and still reap the benefits of a toe taps workout.

  • Go slower. It’s perfectly fine to pump the breaks and find a sustainable pace. Those pro soccer players have lighting-fast toe taps for a reason: they’re pros.
  • Stay grounded. “If you need a low-impact option, keep one foot on the floor at all times and maintain a slower pace as you do your toe taps,” says Braun.
  • Choose a lower target. Struggling to reach that 12-inch bench? Swap it out for a lower step or small medicine ball.

How to Make Toe Taps Harder

Ready to get in touch with your inner Megan Rapinoe?

  • “To increase complexity, you can rotate around the object as you’re performing the toe tap exercise to add an agility challenge,” says Braun.
  • As you hop from foot to foot, move to the left or right, ensuring your toe taps hit the same spot every time.
  • Also, try using a soccer ball instead of a stationary object. Performing toe taps with a movable target demands more controlled movements.