Running exercises for beginners – High Knees 

November 4, 2021 by Louise Pearce
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High Knees Exercise

High knees are a great warm-up exercise, they can be used as a cardio burst between resistance training exercises or as part of a high-intensity interval training workout.

What are the benefits of high knees?

High Knees help to build the correct running technique while also building the strength of hip muscles and shortening leg leavers (making them move faster). High Knees are an excellent full-body movement to increase your heart rate and warm the muscles in both your upper and lower body. 

Before you start

While you do not need any special equipment to perform high knees, we find using hurdles makes the exercise more interesting and engaging. You can use running hurdles or even a pool noodle cut in half lengthwise and laid flat side down. To set up, lay the hurdles out in a straight line with just under a metre or a two-foot distance between them.  

Getting started with High Knees:  

Start by practicing lifting your knees high over the hurdles a few times in a row at walking speed. Keep your hips and tummy button pointing forward when lifting your knees up to step over the hurdle. 

Tip: By placing your hands on your hips and keeping your elbows pointing to the side, can help to remind you not to twist your hips and tummy.

When you are happy to advance to running. Start with knees soft and feet slightly apart, bend your elbows so that your hands are resting at hip level and your hands are pointing forward. Run over each hurdle changing legs each time. Start off slow, working on quality (how well you run over the hurdles) before trying to go faster. A great starting point is running 10 laps in a row. 

You can make the High Knees exercise more challenging by using higher hurdles (beginner hurdles are 15 cm height, advanced is 30 cm in height). You can also increase your knee height, your lap pace, your exercise time length, or the number of laps to increase the impact and intensity. 

To find more exercises to help improve your child’s running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book

Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, sign up for our six-module running program. 

 

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