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What Are Leg Kick Back Exercises?

author image Amanda Rex
Based in Manhattan, Amanda Rex is a health and wellness writer. She has written for the MindBodyGreen website, Elephant Journal website, and for a wellness campaign for a Fortune 500 company. She is a Certified Health Coach, specializing in anxiety management, and attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.
What Are Leg Kick Back Exercises?
Single leg kickbacks are simple and effective. Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Many people sit in desks most of the day, which allows their glutes -- the muscles in the behind -- to get weak because they're not using them. An effective exercise to tone your glutes is single leg kickbacks. This exercise will also work your hamstrings, which are in the backs of your legs. Do this exercise two or three times per week for eight to 10 reps and two to three sets.

What You Need to Know Before

The goal is to maintain control throughout the entire exercise. Your leg movements should be slow and steady. Keep your core tightened to avoid unnecessary strain on your back. A common version of this exercise requires a machine. If you don't have access to a machine, you can use your own body weight. All variations consist of raising one leg at a time until you feel it in your glute muscles.

Standing Single Leg Kickbacks

If you're using the machine, it should have a low pulley with an ankle-cuff attachment. Adjust the weight stack accordingly so that it's challenging but you don't feel you are straining. Place the cuff on one ankle, grasp the bar with both hands and raise/lower the leg without the cuff. Repeat and switch legs. If you're not using a machine, place both hands on the back of a sturdy chair and raise and lower one leg.

Single Leg Kickbacks on the Floor

Begin with your palms and your knees on the floor. Your back should be straight; don't arch. Lift one leg just slightly off the ground -- your shin should remain parallel to the ground -- and kick back so that your leg is extended. Your toe should be pointing toward the floor. Draw your leg back in to its starting position.

Tips and Warnings

Warm up before doing any exercise to prevent injuries. If you're familiar with the Downward-Facing Dog or Bridge yoga positions, these are some ways to warm up the muscles you will be using. As with any exercise, consult with a doctor before trying a new fitness routine. If you have any doubts about whether you are performing single-leg kickbacks properly, consult a certified personal trainer.

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