An exercise with a name like “switch kicks” probably makes you think that the focus is on the legs and butt. And although the switch kick will fire up every muscle from your hips down to your toes, it also strengthens your core, explains Rebekah Miller, MS, CSCS, NASM-CPT.
“In the switch kick movement, the lower body is being targeted, as well as the abdominals,” she says. As you draw the kicking leg up toward your waistline, the abs fire up to flex your hip and stabilize your standing leg.
So, if it feels like you’ve already worked your way through every crunch and plank variation, the switch kick may help bring new energy to your ab routine.
Are switch kicks too advanced for your current level of fitness or experience? You can dial back the difficulty of switch kicks (but still get a great workout) by taking out the kick, and instead just lifting your knees.
Believe it or not, switch kicks can be made even more difficult. You can either pick up the pace, or take the standing switch kicks exercise to the floor.
“The crab kick movement adds in shoulders and glutes, as you hold a reverse tabletop position,” Miller says.
Here’s how to do crab kicks:
Just note that if you have any joint pain or instability in your shoulders, elbows, or wrists, crab kicks may not be the best option for you. “This will apply quite a bit more pressure into the upper body to ensure stabilization,” Miller explains.
First off, switch kicks work a number of big muscle groups:
Additionally, it’s also a very adaptable exercise. “You have control over the intensity,” explains Rachel Fiske, NC, NASM-certified personal trainer and advisory board member at Healing Daily.
Fitness rookies can easily modify the switch kick by omitting its hopping movement, or removing the kicks, and instead just doing high knees. As you become more adept at switch kicks, you can amp up the intensity by increasing your speed, changing your position, or tacking on movements.
It only takes a few seconds of switch kicks to get your heart pumping, making switch kicks an excellent option for HIIT or at-home cardio circuits. And because the switch kick requires you to hop from one foot to the other, it can also help improve your balance and coordination.
The post Strengthen Your Core and Lower Body With Switch Kicks appeared first on BODi.