Focus Exercise: High Knees

high knees exerciseHere’s a great little exercise that is particularly useful when warming up for a circuit-style workout. It’s important to remember to always warmup properly in a careful manner before doing any strenuous activities. Your body needs to be loose and ready-to-move, as opposed to hopping off the couch trying to go full steam ahead.

For this exercise, the level of intensity that you give should only be at what you’re comfortable with. Since this exercise requires you to bring your knees up to waist level, or as high as possible, you will be putting additional strain and pressure on your legs and particularly your knees. If you have bad knees, if you’ve had knee replacement surgery, or just starting out and have yet to progress to running, then this may not be the exercise for you at this time.

The High Knees Exercise

That being said, when you’re ready to get started first find a nice comfortable place where you can move freely. The softer the surface the better for your legs. If you have a spongy exercise mat or foam workout pad that would be ideal. Next possibly carpet, then hardwood floor, or outside on the grass and lastly concrete.

The high knees exercise is very similar to running in place, however like the name insinuates, instead of just running in place, you are attempting to bring your knees up to waist level with every stride.

high kneesIt’s important to note that you are not moving forward or backwards, you are doing the high knees exercise in place. When you start out, take it in slow intervals. If this is your first time, only bring your knees a quarter of the way up to your waist and do that for 15 seconds then stop and see how that feels afterwards. If that felt fine, the next time maybe halfway up to your waist and keep the duration for 20-30 seconds.

Gradual increases in height and intensity level will allow you to find out how your body handles the movement and if you are going at an appropriate pace for yourself.

One good technique that helps give you a target to strive for is to hold your two hands palms out in front of you facing down. This way when you are doing the high knees exercise, try to touch each one of your knees to the bottom of your palms. If you need you can lower your hands a bit to make a target that’s more attainable but just be careful it doesn’t throw you awkwardly out of position.

Once you get a handle on the high knees movement and can perform it at a waist-high level for at least 30 seconds, this is definitely a great exercise to add to your routine. It gets your body moving at a more intense manner than just jogging in place, plus it gets that heart rate up, respiration intensifies, and you workout your legs and core too!

Here’s a basic exercise routine including high knees that you can do after you’ve warmed up a bit.

25 Jumping Jacks
20 seconds High Knees
20 seconds Butt Kicks
10 Pushups
15 Situps
Repeat 2 – 3 times based on ability

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