AlertPlease note that the location for the NYRR Youth Running Series event on October 8 has changed from Clove Lakes Park to Silver Lake Park on Staten Island. 

Butt Kicks

A form exercise that strengthens the hamstrings and trains them to contract forcefully as the feet strike the ground

Tags: high school, form



Butt Kicks demand full-body coordination, so we suggest teaching the drill in four phases. Once all four phases of Butt Kicks have been mastered, focus on phase 4.

  • Phase 1: Keeping the arms at the sides, slowly kick one foot and then the other to the butt.
  • Phase 2: While still kicking at a slow pace, add arm swings to the leg movements.
  • Phase 3: Pick up the pace, moving in place as quickly as possible.
  • Phase 4: Add forward motion and do Butt Kicks quickly down a straightaway.

Performance Points:

  • Bring the heels all the way back to the butt.
  • Bring the heels straight back, not to the sides.
  • The thighs of the kicking legs should stay almost perpendicular to the ground without lifting in front of the body as they do when running.
  • Look straight ahead with tall, upright posture.
  • Swing the arms from the shoulders, not the elbows.
  • Keep the elbows bent about 90 degrees, with the hands passing the body near the hips.
  • Swing the arms straight, without any side-to-side movement.
  • Swing each arm in sync with the opposite leg.
  • In phases 3 and 4, land on the balls of the feet.
  • In phase 4, focus on doing lots of quick kicks, not on racing forward.
  • Make sure not to lose form when adding speed. Maintain a slow pace until proper form is mastered.

Training Specifics:

Duration / Reps:

Phase 4:

  • Beginners: 3-5 reps of 15-30 meters
  • Experienced Athletes: 5 reps of 50 meters

When: Before or after the main workout; or as part of a series of form drills repeated several times as the main workout



  • Trains the hamstrings to contract forcefully as the feet strike the ground, which leads to quicker lifting and swinging of each leg and increased turnover rate
  • Strengthens the hamstrings, which helps prevent injury

Other Form Videos

Form 101: Introduction

Form 101 is a five segment series explaining the fundamentals of good running form. This segment covers the importance of teaching good form and six guidelines for approaching form training.

Tags: high school, form

Form 101: Leg Movements

This segment focuses on elements of the leg movement that lengthen the running stride and increase turnover for faster running, and that promote comfortable, injury-free running.

Tags: high school, form

High Skips

A form exercise that develops powerful push-offs and greater knee lift; trains the body to use the elastic energy stored in the muscles and tendons; and develops strength, power, and endurance of the quads, hamstrings, and glutes

Tags: high school, form

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission