Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt, right? Especially when it comes to getting enough exercise. This is where Heel Kicks come in. Long used as a warm-up for runners, this old school classic will get your heart racing and your hamstrings and glutes engaged as you kick yourself (literally) in the behind. If you’re an avid soccer or basketball player, you’ll also find this hybrid stretch/exercise a great movement to incorporate into your routine before a game.
Heel Kicks are a Plyometric movement; meaning that they aim to develop explosive muscle power through the use of quick bursts of energy. Heel Kicks do just that while improving your acceleration and endurance, burning calories, strengthening your leg muscles and your cardiovascular health. Most importantly, they target the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your hamstrings and glutes which power your sprinting and jumping abilities. For this reason, runners love their Heel Kicks before hitting the track. Heel Kicks will also help prevent injury by stretching out the muscles and increasing blood flow to the upper-leg region.
Start in an upright, standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and your neck and spine erect. Your hands are at your sides.
Shift your weight to your right foot and in a quick movement bring your left foot back behind you so your heel gets as close as possible to your glutes. Keep your left knee pointed down and move your thigh as little as possible.
Bring your left foot back down to rest flat on the ground and then repeat the same backwards kicking motion for your right foot.
Keep repeating this alternating motion in a ‘running in place’ movement. Your arms can bend up and out in front of you to help maintain your balance.
Start slow and work your way up to a faster pace and a greater degree of force as you get better at the movement.