Crab Toe Touches – How to Perform, Muscles Worked and Benefits

crab toe touches

Looking to improve functional strength, co-ordination, balance and cardiovascular fitness?

Let’s talk crab toe touches…

The crab toe touch exercise is a fantastic functional movement that engages a whole host of muscles to deliver an effective full body exercise that requires no equipment, and little space.

Crab toe touches are beginner friendly and ideal for using in all sorts of exercise routines, from warm-ups and mobility drills to HIIT workouts and circuit training.

The speed and duration will influence whether you use this as an opportunity to improve shoulder and hip mobility, or as an intense cardio workout to help with goals such as weight loss and muscle definition.

In this handy guide, we outline everything you need to know about crab toe touches and tips for getting started with this exercise.

How to do Crab Toe Touches

To do crab toe touches:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your arms extended behind you.
  2. Raise your hips to lift your glutes off the ground (table top position) and hold this elevated position.
  3. Keeping your right arm and left leg stable on the ground, lift your left arm and right leg off the ground so they touch.
  4. Lower your left arm and right leg and now repeat the movement on the other side, lifting your right arm and left leg.
  5. Repeat for sets.

Tip – Your core should be tense throughout, creating stability and balance during the movement. If the movement is proving difficult, place your feet and hands further apart to create a more stable base. As you lift your hands and legs off the ground, really focus on tensing your core to create the stability required to complete the movement.

Muscles Worked

Primary muscles: glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, shoulders, core


The exercise requires your glutes to help hold your body in place, as well as to create the power needed to lift your legs.

Strong glutes help support all lower body movements and help create stability and power when you need it most. They are the biggest muscle group in the body and play a vital role in compound and full body movements.


The hamstrings are part of your posterior chain (back of body) and strengthening them can be a common way to avoid common injuries such as lower back pain. The hamstrings work in unison with the quads to lever you back and forth.

The hamstrings help “pull” your body to the desired positon in many every day activities.

Weak or inflexible hamstrings soon become noticed and can create limitations in movement.


Strong quads are a vital component to functional movement. They support better lower body mobility and help avoid injuries, particularly to the knees.

Quads are recruited to provide the power and strength during compound movements such as squats, making it important to keep the quads strong and supported.


Calves are needed for everyday activities and help provide power and endurance for walking and running. They also help create better stability and balance during all sorts of physical activities.


Shoulder mobility and strength helps to support all sorts of movements. Even something like squats requires good shoulder mobility to ensure you can hold a barbell comfortably behind your head, for example.

Crab toe touches help improve functional shoulder strength by ensuring you can support your body weight.


Crab toe touches will require your core to be tensed and engaged for the duration of the movement, making it a very effective core training exercise.

A strong core is crucial for many everyday tasks and sports, especially ones that require powerful movements. Having a strong core will also help when it comes to lifting weights and following an exercise regime.

The core helps create stability in the whole body, a vital component for pretty much any sort of movement. A strong core can therefore help improve balance, as well as providing the foundation for more powerful movements.

Crab Toe Touch Benefits

The crab toe touch is a full-body exercise targeting the glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, shoulders, and core. It is a versatile movement that trains core strength, mobility and cardio fitness, making it a popular choice in HIIT workouts.

The crab toe touch activates and builds core strength in the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis muscles, as well as the obliques.

The muscles of the core stabilize the spine and pelvis to provide a stable platform from which to generate power in the legs. Increased core strength helps to perform exercises such as squats and deadlifts with proper form and technique.

The crab toe touch deepens squatting range of motion by stretching out the hip flexors, which can help to improve squat strength.

The exercise also improves coordination, balance, and stability. Lifting alternating legs and arms will instantly create an imbalance and force your body to stabilize. This is a vital component of fitness, yet often ignored in workouts.

The crab toe-touch can also be used to improve shoulder and hip mobility, as well as helping to stretch out the biceps.

Crab Toe Touch Workout

To get started with this exercise, try a timed circuit of 30 seconds followed by 20 second rest, repeated 5 times. This will really get the blood flowing and provide a fast, effective, full body workout.

You could do it alongside mobility exercises such as Asian squats and inchworms, or focus more on strength and cardio exercises, like push-ups, burpees and planks.


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