What Muscles Are Used When Kicking a Ball?

Girl kicking soccer ball toward goal
Girl trying to kick a soccer past a goalie and into the net. (Image: ColorBlind Images LLC/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Whether in soccer, in rugby or for football punts, kicking a ball primarily engages the muscles of the upper leg -- the quadriceps and hamstrings -- as well as the glutes. In addition, your core, hip and foot muscles, as well as the shoulders, see action in your kick preparation, contact and follow-through.

Preparation

As you run up to kick the ball, you take a final step, plant one foot and load the other, pulling it backward for the strike. The glutes and hamstrings, as well as the adductors, control your hips. The hamstrings and quads flex and extend your knees, and the plantar flexors flex your ankles. Your abs and lower back muscles stabilize your trunk, and your deltoids align your shoulders square to the ball.

Contact and Follow-Through

Your kicking leg depends on the hamstrings, hip adductors and glutes to control the hip during contact, and the hamstrings to extend the knee. Your muscles transfer force to the ball, and with any luck, it goes where you want for a successful pass or goal.

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