The Truth About T-Tapp Form

ttapp.workoutIf you’ve done T-Tapp for any length of time, you know that form is important. T-Tapp is a unique exercise system, and “getting” the form is important for results.

Exactly what do I mean by form? The dictionary defines form as a “manner or style of performing or accomplishing according to recognized standards of technique.”

The truth is, there are some extremes when it comes to thinking about T-Tapp form:

1) Thinking it doesn’t matter much
2) Thinking your form is really good
3) Thinking you need to be perfect

Let’s examine these one at a time.

1) Thinking that form doesn’t matter much.

Doing T-Tapp casually without attention to form might get you some results, but not optimum results and inch loss.

In the beginning sometimes people are able to do 45 minutes of T-Tapp and not break a sweat. They don’t have the mind-to-muscle connection and form understanding to activate muscle and achieve spinal alignment that are the foundation of T-Tapp. This is a natural beginning point and it’s not “wrong.”

The problem comes in when someone continues on that path and never learns about form or progresses in strength because they think it’s not that important. They want to do casual T-Tapp and get results.

2) Thinking that your form is really good.

The longer I do T-Tapp (and it’s been six years now), the more humble I am about my form. As a Master T-Tapp Trainer you’d think I’d have really great form. I know it ain’t so.

Just recently Teresa Tapp pointed out that I had been letting my knee come in slightly on the knee lifts in Senior Fit. With that form correction I’ve been experiencing a marked shift in muscle balance in my knee and entire thigh over several weeks.

Every T-Tapp Trainer has seen it: someone who isn’t getting results but they’re sure their form is really good. That attitude of over-confidence doesn’t lend itself well to learning and progressing.

Note: if you think that T-Tapp is easy, you’re not doing it right.

3) Thinking you need to have perfect form.

The dictionary defines perfection as “freedom from fault or defect; flawlessness.”

Since we’re dealing with a human body, let’s admit to ourselves that perfection isn’t possible.

Your form level will actually vary from day-to-day, depending on fatigue, illness, hormones and other factors.

Form is a progression, not perfection.

My own T-Tapp journey was definitely a progression in form. You can see me on T-Tapp DVDs like Critter Crunch and Total Workout Super Slow, when I was wearing a size 14. I have LOTS of form issues in those workouts! But I kept learning and increasing in strength and flexibility, and developing better nerve transmission to my muscles.

Human bodies respond individually. For one person, a tiny form adjustment may make the difference between inch loss and a plateau. For another person, results come easily even though form leaves a lot to be desired. Frustrating, yes, but it’s a reality.

Find the balance between a too-casual approach to T-Tapp form and unrealistic expectations. Be in it for the long haul. Become a student, but don’t get overwhelmed by the learning. T-Tapp is a multi-faceted, many-layered exercise method. It takes a while to “get,” but boy, it’s worth it when you do–and that’s the truth!

Do you have some truth to share about T-Tapp form? Please leave a comment…


  1. Charlotte,

    Thank you for a very inspiring post. Do you have any little tricks or suggestions to help perfect ones form?

    Have a blessed day!


  2. Charlotte Siems says:

    Of course it’s different for everyone, but I would suggest hanging out on the T-Tapp forums for at least a little while most days, use the search function to look up moves, read the book Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes by Teresa Tapp, attend a form clinic if possible (or do a Skype session with a T-Tapp trainer), watch a DVD and take notes, go back and do the Instructionals, work on one aspect of form each week, watch a variety of Instructionals on newer DVDs like TappCore, Senior Fit, etc. This ought to keep you busy for a while, lol

  3. Thanks Charlotte for these form pointers! Love them. That’s one reason I love t-tapp so much. I recently reviewed my own form on Lady bug standing. I was tired that day & it beenawhile since doing it. So I’ve recommitted to getting more form tips & working on it. Thanks again!

  4. Stephanie says:

    Charlotte, Thank you for this great post. It was exactly what I needed today. I’m working on Critter Crunch right now and wondering if I would ever conquer even one part of the form. To say it’s challenging is an understatement! But I’m going to hang in there and see where a couple of weeks will get me. It was fun to see you on the DVD!

  5. Charlotte Siems says:

    Yes, hang in there! It’s SO worth it! (and it’s funny to me to see myself on the DVD–I was a different person!)

  6. This was me to a T! I was so excited when I began t-tapp and the fast results I saw, and then, nothing. I diligently did all of the total workout, and just couldn’t understand what people were talking about-not being able to do the whole workout. What were they talking about? But, not seeing results made me give up and move on to something else. I kept up with discussions and shared viewpoints with other disgruntled dropouts, grumbling to myself that I WAS doing it right, and THEY were flat wrong to say I wasn’t. But, for some reason I couldn’t stop doing t-tapp completely. I would start and stop, all the while wondering what the big secret was (I had read the book too). Until, one day, I began to get it. I got the mind body connection, I began to get the form right, (and am still working on that. ) And then, I could not for the life of me get through a whole workout. It is unbelievably tough, though deceivingly simple to watch. I understand the frustration others are going through because of my own experience. I would tell them to not give up and to follow your advice. And I have moved on to other workouts, but this time, they are all T-tapp. I also enjoy cycling and hiking, which t-tapp pairs well with. One thing that did help me make the connection is a book on isometric strength training, as there are some similarities as far as muscle activation is concerned. I do hope there are plans for more workouts.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Awesome story, Mary–and I’m sure it will encourage others! It is so true that there’s more to T-Tapp than meets the eye. The longer you do it, the harder it gets in many ways, but you can also do it less. 🙂 Teresa is working on some new DVDs, using muscle activation techniques debuted in Senior Fit–yayy!

  7. Cindy Whitfield says:


    I stumbled onto your site through a post of list making, of all things. I recently purchased a T-Tapp set through a Groupon after seeing the PBS special. So far I’ve only done one session, but my feel felt like they were on fire the entire time. Of course I’m quite certain it was bad form. But, I was curious to know if you’d ever heard anyone else mention that it made their feet burn. I had to stop the video several times to get relief. (And I just had two total knee replacements since July, so I’d have thought that is what would give me trouble.)
    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  8. Charlotte Siems says:

    Hi Cindy,
    Feet are the foundation of fitness, so good shoes are a must. Good support, wide toe base. Don’t grip with your toes, rather jazz your toes. Keep weight in the heels to take pressure off the knees. Bring your stance in closer. Your feet should be about four fingers apart. Hope this helps!

  9. Patricia C says:

    Hi Charlotte- this was so helpful, thank you for posting it. I first “saw” you on DYT and then many of the Type 3’s were talking about T-Tapp and I came across your blog in my search of T-Tapp info. You are inspirational. Many years ago I borrowed the Fit and Fabulous book from the library but I couldn’t “get hold” of the moves. I have to laugh at how I interpreted the Hoe down move – nothing at all like I have now seen in demo videos online.
    I am awaiting arrival of Senior Fit- i odered it a few weeks ago.
    I am 52 and basically out of shape. I have tried walking videos in the past and had some success but busyness has caused me to slacken on my workout plans. I don’t have health problems yet I am shocked by aches and pains that are becoming daily occurrences and are limiting my ability to be carefree in my movements.
    I was so glad to read your post because I am the type to give up if I don’t understand it quick enough or if I can’t master the perfect form.
    I appreciate your words about how you progressed in form and increased in strength and flexibility. I am thankful that you have continued and persevered in T-Tapp.
    I am excited yet scared to get started- I really don’t want this to become just another workout video that sits on my bookshelf – this will be a test of my own perseverance. And it will be a *test* of slowing down and not rushing through which is opposite of my nature 🙂

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Good for you on getting started! When you first get started it may seem easy (or maybe hard), but keep doing it and listening and watching and the form will start coming together. After 6 years of T-Tapp I’m still in love with it!

  10. kirby mills says:

    My husbands aunt told me about T Tapp last year and I was just like “oh cool,” but now I’m serious about dropping some pounds so I want to try the T Tapp life style, please help me get started? What’s the best workout to start with? Any advice will help greatly!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Kirby, I started with the Total System. It was something I could “grow” with. I did Instructional #1 once a day for 5 days, then moved on to the Basic Workout Plus. Eventually I did the Total Workout (4-6 reps on the second half) but I still did mostly BWO+ and stayed consistent. That was the biggest secret–I kept going and stayed consistent!

  11. I have to agree with all that you said, Charlotte. I’ve been “doing” T-Tapp off and on for a few years, but I did not really pay attention to my form, and, as a result, saw only limited results. Now that I’ve finally figured that out, and I am paying more attention to form, not only are the exercises more challenging, (I have limited ability to sweat, not just when exercising, but in general, and I’m actually starting to sweat just a little as I’m working out) I’m also starting to freak out a little when I can’t or don’t have everything “just right.” I decided to try and concentrate on one form issue at a time until it becomes more comfortable and “natural” and then I move on to the next. I’ve also found the Warm Up Workouts to be very helpful – they gave me a different perspective some of the moves which has made a big difference when I do my workout. Right now I’m using T-Tapp More Level One. I thought I was ready to move on to a more challenging workout, but once I tweaked my form a bit, I find I’m huffing and puffing (and sweating – yay!) doing moves I’ve done countless times before.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      This is wonderful, Jo! This is why T-Tapp is a workout that you don’t outgrow! As you get stronger or understand form in a deeper way, the workout changes. You don’t need more reps, either.

  12. I really enjoyed your suggestions and recommendations. I’m a bit of perfectionist and your down-to-earth information is quite helpful. I have just ordered my first DVD and am anxious to get started. I am 55 years old, in pretty good health, but want to look and feel better. I only have 15 minutes a day, which is why I want to try this. If I give myself permission to do my best each day, rather than be perfect, and improve my form (over time and with consistency), I think T-Tapp will be one of the smartest things I’ve ever invested in. Many thanks for your recommendations. God Bless you and Theresa!!

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Karen, I love your attitude–it will help you succeed with T-Tapp!!

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