Workout: Burn it up!
Start your weekend with this fat-burning workout!
March into “High Knee” Madness: A Runner’s Best Friend
Get those legs off the ground! It’s high knee time! The high knee exercise is an all around great workout and warm up before starting your day or any other exercise. As the name hints, you’re lifting your knees “high” off the ground, one after the other, in an exaggerated fashion. Even though we toyed with this being a march of sorts, aim to lift your knees higher than you would if you were in a marching band and lift them fast like you’re sprinting in place, trying to win a race. The idea is to get your heart rating going.
The high knee exercise is a form of dynamic stretching, which means it helps prepare our bodies for physical exertion and improves our performance in terms of sporting related activities (like running) by pushing our muscles to their maximum range of motion and by elevating our body temperature—we are literally warming up!
In case you’re wondering, the high knee targets the following muscles: your hips, your glutes, your quadriceps, your hamstrings and your heart.
Here is how to do high knees our way:
After successfully performing a series of high knees as demonstrated in our “Top 10 Home Workouts Moves,” you can try other variations of the high knee exercise that we’ve outlined below. The high knee steam engine is one of our favorites. It targets the following muscle groups: your upper abdomen, your lower abdomen, your obliques, your quadriceps and your heart.
How to Perform a High Knee Steam Engine
- Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and place both of your hands behind your head with your elbows facing out.
- Just like in our classic high knee, lift your right knee as high as you can. As you lift your knee, reach toward your knee with your left elbow (opposite limbs). The goal is not necessary to touch the knee, but you should come close. Remember to keep your abdomens flexed for this to get a great ab workout too.
- Switch to your other knee. Lift your left knee as high as you can while reaching toward it with your left elbow (opposite limbs).
- This is a controlled workout so even though you want to aim at going at a sprinting speed, take your time if necessary to maintain your form. No one wants a knee in their eye!
After trying the high knee steam engine, maybe you’re looking for more? But before I give you another exercise, I have a question for you…
Do you like scary horror movies?
If you answered yes, you’ll love this next variation of the high knee exercise called the Frankenstein! In the 1931 famous movie Frankenstein, we know Frankenstein was a monster that walked very stiff-legged with stiff arms after being created from corpses. So if you’re not afraid, try this one if you dare! The High Knee Frankenstein targets your: abs, hips, glutes and quads.
How to Perform a High Knee Frankenstein
- Stand straight with your legs slightly parted and lift your arms straight in front of you. They should be parallel to the ground and when your friends walk in to see what you’re doing, they should stop and laugh, thinking you are pretending to be Frankenstein or a scary zombie.
- Carefully shift your weight onto your right foot and kick with your left foot toward your right hand (opposite limbs). Keep your toes flexed toward the ceiling. Because we are mimicking Frankenstein, try to keep your kicking leg straight though slightly bent is okay.
- After performing one kick, immediately switch to your other leg and try to kick your opposite hand. If you can reach your hand, that’s great, but if you can’t, keep working on it to increase your flexibility.
We hope you enjoy the High Knee Frankenstein. If you want to really scare people, gather your friends and march through your neighborhood performing this exercise. Not only will you get results, you’re bound to hear a few screams along the way from terrified children.
The high knee is an easy and fun warm up stretch, but maybe you’re having doubts and asking yourself, “Do I really need to do the high knee? It doesn’t seem that great.” If you are a runner or any type of athlete or maybe you are aiming to become one, the high knee will likely become your best friend and the health benefits of high knee exercises and dynamic stretching exercises in general cannot be ignored.
Health Benefits of the High Knee: Why the High Knee is a Great Exercise
- Performing high knees will increase your body’s temperature, which promotes the flow of synovial fluid. In simple terms, synovial fluid is fluid that surrounds our joints like cushions on a chair to reduce friction. This means high knee exercises will reduce our chances of straining or tearing our joints since our muscles will become pliable.
- The high knee can improve your running form/technique and overall posture (nobody wants a hunchback!)
- The high knee can increase your running speed and power.
- The high knee can increase the flexibility of your back, hips and ankles and reduce your chances for sustaining groin injuries.
- The high knee can increase your range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to tissues.
- The high knee better prepares your body for activity in effectively warming up your limbs.
- The high knee moves blood flow away from our internal organs and to our muscles, transporting oxygen and nutrients while taking away the waste products from our metabolism.
We hope you agree the high knee is a great home workout or warm up we can all benefit from, especially for those of you looking to become runners or enhance your running speed or form. In the words of Bill Rodgers, a famous marathon runner champion: “To be a consistent winner means preparing not just [for] one day, one month, or even one year – but for a lifetime.” All of our home workouts aim to do just that, changing your life for the better, one day at a time.