Whether done running on the spot or over a distance, high knee exercises are often underrated in their ability to improve health, ensure an adequate cardiovascular workout, and improve your speed, strength and flexibility more easily than any other exercise.
Performing high knee exercises accurately will greatly influence your ability to reach all those benefits and many others. Fortunately, there are also many additional high knee exercise varieties you can try out to ensure a diverse workout experience and achieve slightly different results each time.
What Muscles Do High Knees Work?
The goal of any efficient workout is to focus on specific muscles and keep them in good shape, while performing an optimal amount of effort in the process. High knee exercises can be done as a healthy warm-up (in which case it’s better to do them more slowly) for a number of core and leg muscles.
The main muscle groups that high knee workouts can help you with are your quadriceps, calves and glutes. Additional muscles also include the hamstrings, rectus abdominis, adductors, abductors and shins.
You can perform high knees just about anywhere, indoors or outside. Due to the muscle groups they target, they can help improve your flexibility, running pace and endurance, while also strengthening your hip muscles for added stability.
High Knees Benefits
You’ll find that high knee exercises are extremely versatile, despite the fact that they are quite easy to perform correctly and not too demanding. Aside from the advantages already mentioned above, many others are also at hand:
- High knees can first of all act as an outstanding and easy cardio workout. Even without combining them with actual running, they can be an excellent healthy workout for your heart and cardiovascular system.
- The exercise will help improve your momentum when you push off the ground, which means that athletes wanting to enhance their physical performance do well to use it on a regular basis.
- Aspiring athletes may also be interested to know that high knees can extend their stride while improving their strength and speed.
- Correct execution and the use of diverse variations of the exercise both contribute to ensuring that you can target an even wider variety of secondary muscles than mentioned earlier, and be able to adjust your workouts’ intensity and the muscles you focus on with laser-like accuracy.
How to Perform High Knees Correctly
To perform the exercise correctly, you have to first get into the right starting position. Keep your body straight and your feet hip width apart, as you stand looking straight ahead. Allow your arms to hang down at your sides, then take the following steps:
- Lift your right knee up toward your chest as high as possible while keeping your spine erect.
- Follow the motion naturally with your arms as if you were running.
- Touch back down, and repeat the motion with your other leg.
- Make sure you touch the ground with the balls of your feet each time.
- Start slow, and do the exercise for shorter periods of time until you get the hang of it.
You can also try related exercises such as high knee running, the high knee march, the steam engine or even skipping. These variations will assist you in getting a full lower body workout without the use of complex exercises or the danger of extensive joint pain or injury.