How To Do High Knees: Benefits, Muscles Worked & More
High knees is a simple exercise that is widely used by runners and fitness enthusiasts around the world. Even though it might seem like a simple exercise, it can benefit you greatly by working your core muscles and helping activate your lower body. It can also be a good way to get the blood flowing through the muscles before more strenuous activity.
What’s more, high knees can be used in a warmup routine as a runner, or they can be used to help teach better posture when running.
This article shows you how to do high knees correctly, the benefits doing of it and why you should add it to your training.
So, if you are looking for an easy exercise that provides many benefits (even for the beginner), keep reading.
What Is The High Knee Exercise?
The high knee exercise is an exercise that helps engage your core and strengthens your lower legs and glutes. This form of exercise is widely used to increase heart rate, warm up muscles, and improve posture. It can also be combined with other forms of drills or workouts for a more intense workout.
High knees can be performed by a range of people, from beginners to fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Because it helps strengthen the core muscles and lower legs, it can be beneficial in helping prevent lower leg injuries.
For runners, it can also help to improve running technique by teaching better posture and foot strike.
How To Do High Knees?
If you haven’t performed the high knee exercise before, it is important to learn the correct technique before rushing into doing the exercise.
While most of us have learned to do high knees at school in PE class, most people have forgotten.
Before you start, make sure you wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement. Then find somewhere flat, like a driveway, field, or a running track.
Then before you get into the drill correctly, you want to practice the movements by walking or standing still first. This will help you hold the correct posture and perform the exercise correctly.
1. Start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Place your arms at your side
4. Look straight ahead, take a deep breath and engage your core muscles.
5. Bring your right knee up towards your chest (above your waist)
6. Simultaneously, move your opposite arm (left) up in a pumping motion.
7. Once your left arm and right hip have been lifted, quickly lower both to the starting position
8. Repeat with your left knee and right hand
9. Continue to alternative between knees for the desired time.
This should be done while standing still for the first time. Once you are competent with the movements, you can transition into walking while doing the same movements.
Once you have mastered walking, you can then add more intensity to the exercise by jogging slightly forward with each movement.
The duration of the exercise solely depends on your goals and fitness level. To start arm for 30-second bursts, with 30 seconds rest between each set. For most people, 5-6 sets is a good starting point. Then once you become more comfortable, you can increase the duration of each burst, or increase the number of sets.
High Knees Benefits
High knee benefits anyone that want’s to increase their heart rate and warm up the muscles in the lower and upper body. It is also beneficial to beginners looking to start running by adding some light weight-bearing activity to the legs and body.
Other benefits of high knees include:
Helps Burns Calories
Because high knees are a cardiovascular exercise, it will raise your heart rate and increase your breathing rate. Because of this, you will find you will also burn calories in the process, which can lead to weight loss. Research has shown that by performing the high knee exercise you are likely to burn around 7 calories per minute. However, if you are working at a more moderate level, expect to burn between 3.5 and 7 calories per minute.
Helps Activate Muscles
High knees activate your leg muscles. These include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors. This means the exercise can help activate muscles before a more strenuous exercise, or when trying to improve balance, muscular endurance, or coordination within these muscles.
Because this exercise is explosive, it can also help to improve power in your lower body, which can help with sports like running or sports that involve a lot of lower leg power.
Helps Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Once you learn how to do high knees, you will find that it requires a lot of assistance from your core muscles. Because of this, you will find your core muscles will get a good workout that helps strengthen them and improves your posture.
What Muscles Do High Knees Work?
The muscles involved in high knee lifts include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and hip flexors. It can also work muscles in your lower back and throughout the core. You may also find the shoulder and arm muscles will be worked too. However, not as much as the lower body.
If you are looking to increase the load on these muscles, you can also use ankle weights or a weight vest for a more intense workout. However, this is generally not recommended, as high knee lifts should be used primarily as cardio, or warm-up routine, rather than a strength training session.