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Exercise of the Month - September 2007: “Heel kicks/Butt kicks”

heel kick imageWarming up for a workout is crucial in terms of muscle activation and injury prevention.  There are hundreds of movements to warm up the body, but one I use a lot with my clients and athletes is called “Heel kicks.”  Also referred to as “butt kicks,” this exercise is essentially jogging with an increased emphasis on bring the heels towards your butt.  As I often say to my athletes, “I want you to literally kick your own ass.”  The hamstrings are a large group of muscles and like most areas of the body, they need to be warmed up and this is a great way to do so.

heel and butt kick 2To perform heel kicks, jog about 20 yards in one direction, bringing your heels up to your buttocks. Make sure to keep the elbows bent at about 90 degrees and your focus straight ahead.  While this exercise can be performed in place if space is limited, I typically like to get clients out on a track or an area where there is plenty of room to move around. 

As a means of progression, try eventually working up from 1 set straight forward to 1-2 sets going both forward and backward.  Athletes in particular will need to progress to multi-directional movements as most sports incorporate movements in every direction (forwards, backward, side-to-side, and diagonal patterns).

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