Learning the correct form in any workout will lead you to make more gains towards your goals. Adding high knees to your workout routine, warmup, or as a full-on exercise can help boost not only your heart rate but also work out your core and leg muscles.
There are multiple versions of high knees, which is why we will explain how to do high knees in various variations and modifications. This will allow you to change up your workout routine and ensure that you won’t get sick of incorporating the one variation.
What Are High Knees?
A high knee kick refers to a type of workout that one can perform. Basic high knee motion is very similar to running, except a person can either stand in place or slowly march while doing them.
The only difference between a high knee kick and running is that your knees go past your belly button as you bring one leg up at a time and rotating between your left and right leg.
High knee kicks are very beneficial if you’re looking to improve your leg’s appearance. The workout targets your glutes, leg muscles, and your core. Plus, if performed even for a small length of time, they can also lead to a higher heart rate and double as your cardio workout.
How to Do High Knees
A basic high knee kick can be performed either standing in place or while moving at a moderate pace. The key to completing the right formation is by kicking your legs high while also moving your knees towards your chest.
If this is still sounding confusing, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to do high knees below.
Step 1: Stand with each foot parallel to one another, keeping them hip-width apart.
Step 2: After this, you’ll want to lift one knee while tightening your muscles and bringing it towards your chest.
Step 3: From there, extend your leg back down and put it on the ground.
Step 4: Once you’ve completed one extension, pick the other leg up and bring it towards your chest before placing it on the ground again.
Step 5: Continue to do this by switching your left and right knee-high kicks.
Tips For Keeping Form
If you’re still having trouble with performing the right type of form, then we do have a few tips that might help.
First, imagine that, while you’re doing the high kicks, you’re sprinting very fast. As you do so, your knees will almost naturally reach towards your chest, but most times, you’re at a slight angle.
Instead, you’ll want to be in an upright position keeping your back straight while basically running in place or moving slightly. The goal is to get your knees past your belly button’s height at least.
Modifications to High Knee Kicks
Switching up your workout routine can help you reach your goals quickly and stop your body from plateauing. We highly recommend modifying your high knee exercises, as you’ll be able to target multiple muscles and challenge yourself.
Here are just a few of the modifications you can make to high knee kicks:
Steam Engine and High Knee
One method of modifying your essential high knee kicks is by doing what is called a steam engine. It’s a type of workout that requires you to high knee with your legs while also using your upper body.
This combo stimulates the most muscle groups in both your upper and lower body, plus activates your core muscles. Specifically, it targets your hip flexors, abdominal muscles, and core.
Here’s how to perform one:
Step 1: Position your feet in a parallel stance, with your feet lining up with your hips.
Step 2: From here, take your arms and raise them above your head, interlock your fingers, and then bend your elbows while resting your hands against the back of your head.
Step 3: After that, begin by taking one leg and raising it above your belly button. As you’re doing so, bring the opposite elbow down and touch it to your knee.
Step 4: Alternate and do the same on the opposite leg and continue to do so.
High Knee March
Another type of high knee exercise is called a high knee march. This type of exercise is a more dramatic method of a high kee. It targets all the same muscles as your traditional high knee, except it also tightens all lower muscles and your glutes.
Here are the steps to performing a high knee march:
Step 1: Place your feet slightly apart from one another, with your hands a little bit below your hip-line.
Step 2: From there, shift your weight so that it’s concentrated on only the balls of your feet.
Step 3: Take your right knee and lift it as high as you can while also moving your heel up towards your butt, but keeping your feet flat.
Step 4: Bring your leg back down before switching to the opposite side before repeating.
Step 5: After a few repetitions, you should look like you’re marching in place.
Skipping High Knees
The last type of modification to high knees is called skipping. As the name may suggest, you will be skipping while also performing high knees. This exercise is excellent for targeting lower muscles and increasing your cardiovascular health.
Here are the steps to performing one:
Step 1: Place your feet apart from one another and stand in an upright position.
Step 2: Start by bending your elbows and putting them at a 90-degree angle from when they were in the resting position.
Step 3: Take your left knee and begin to do a high knee, except also lift your right arm and move it upward.
Step 4: After bringing your foot and arm down, do the same on the other side.
Step 5: You’ll want to start alternating and moving as if you were skipping, but be careful.
Step 6: Repeat this as many times as needed. Try to stay on a flat surface to remain safe.
High knees are an excellent exercise to help target your lower leg muscles, tighten your core, and also improve your cardiovascular endurance. It’s so versatile that you’ll find yourself being able to incorporate in into HITT routines, either as a warmup or a full exercise on its own.