Believe it or not, but a kick in the butt can optimize your running workout. Butt-kickers are a popular running drill that strengthen the back of your upper legs and improve your flexibility and running stride. This drill can be part of the warm-up before your run, or incorporated into your run as a quick intensity boost. In addition to being effective, this exercise is fun to do; you might be surprised that working up a sweat and kicking yourself in the butt can actually put a smile on your face.
Jog or run at a light pace for five minutes to get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up. Lightly pump your arms at your side. If you're doing the exercise at home and don't have a lot of space, jog in place.
Push off on the toes of your right foot, bend your right knee and quickly pull your heel up as if you're jogging, only this time, really exaggerate the move, kicking your heel all the way up to your tush. Avoid moving your entire leg -- only your lower leg moves while your knees stay in place. Tighten your abdominals and keep your torso upright during the motion.
Return your right leg to the floor, landing toes first, and immediately kick your butt with your other leg. Pump your arms back and forth as if you're running and stay in place or take small steps forward. Alternate your legs for 30 seconds to complete one set, and work your way up to completing three sets. If you're using this drill as an interval in your running workout, do it at a high intensity for one minute before returning to your regular running pace.
- If you're new to this exercise, start slowly at a low intensity, and don't get disappointed if you can't reach your tush with your heel. As you get more confident and flexible, gradually speed up and try getting closer to kicking your butt.
- If staying upright is too hard, slightly lean your upper body forward as you're learning to do the exercise.
- Practice this exercise in a mirror so you can check your form and laugh at kicking yourself in your tush.
- Consult a doctor before beginning a new workout routine, especially if you have an injury or health condition.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.