Since knee tucks are a plyometric exercise, they can provide powerful results. They can challenge your muscles in ways other exercises can’t, help you burn calories quickly, and increase your strength and endurance.

Knowing how to perform knee tucks safely is important, though, in order to prevent injury or strain.

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your side.
  2. Lower yourself down into a squat position, with your back as flat as possible for proper alignment. Lower until it feels as though your heels are about to lift off of the floor.
  3. Stay lowered only briefly and then jump up, using your arms for momentum and balance.
  4. Bring both knees as high as possible into the tuck position. You can slap your hands on your knees or leave them by your sides. Make sure that your knees don’t cave inward when in the air or when landing.
  5. Land back down as softly as you can to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees. Your hips should come back and down to absorb some of the impact as well.
  6. Stay lowered only briefly, and then repeat the entire movement as quickly as possible, making sure to maintain proper form.

Tip

The goal is to explode up, not down. Aim to land as softly as possible to prevent injury. Until you’re steady on your feet and when landing, don’t squat as deeply before jumping up.

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Knee tucks have a number of benefits. They can help you:

  • improve your strength and endurance significantly in a short amount of time
  • shape and tone your whole body
  • work on controlled movements

You may even notice a significant improvement in your overall peak power — an essential component of any high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.

This means your body could burn calories long after the exercise is completed.

There are many different muscles at play during knee tucks, including your:

  • core
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • hip flexors
  • biceps and anterior shoulders, thanks to the arm swing that helps power your body off the ground

Try modifications first

Completing knee tucks safely does require that you have the right fitness level and strength.

If you’re new to fitness, you might want to modify the exercise first. To do this, remove the jumping part of the exercise. You can also try the following modifications:

  • Individual knee lifts. From standing, lift and lower one knee at a time. Increase your speed and maintain good control over your movement.
  • Squat tucks. Simply squat, stand, and then raise one knee toward your chest at a time, alternating knees.
  • Seated knee tucks. While sitting on the ground or in a chair with your legs lifted off the ground and in front of you, bring your knees in toward your chest. Keep your hands on the ground or hold the sides of the seat for support and to avoid straining your back.

Engage your body

Since each rep of this exercise is done quickly, you may forget to engage your muscles as much as possible.

Aim to keep your core engaged throughout the whole exercise and activate the muscles when you’re ready to jump.

Variations

Take the exercise to the floor by adding a stability ball. This will present an even greater challenge for your muscles since they have to work harder to stabilize and support your body.

It’s also a great ab workout!

Try this variation

  1. Start by lying in a prone position, with your stomach over a stability ball.
  2. Slowly walk your body out over the ball so that your hands are shoulder-width apart and on the ground in front of you.
  3. Maintain proper alignment by keeping your torso rigid and your legs squeezed together for stability. Avoid arching or sagging your lower back.
  4. Exhale and slowly move your knees in toward your chest, rolling the ball forward as you get into a tuck position. Your knees should be under your hips and your shinbone should be lying overtop the ball. Engage your core.
  5. Inhale, pushing your knees away and back to resume the starting position.
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Warm up

  • Warm up. You don’t want to exercise while your muscles are cold. Plyometric exercises, in particular, shouldn’t be done without a proper warm-up first. Doing so could cause injury, since plyometric exercises are intense exercises that stretch your muscles quickly.
  • Fuel up. You also want to make sure you’re energized, since knee tucks require a lot of exertion.

Knee tucks are an excellent plyometric exercise. They come with many benefits, such as working several muscle groups at a time and improving strength and endurance.

If you’re a beginner, you can always modify the exercise using the modification suggested above.

Most importantly, always aim for proper form to prevent injury. This will help ensure that this explosive and effective exercise remains part of your routine.