Kick Your Butt Off

Boost your booty with proper side-​​kick form!

Group fitness classes are most efficient when they can give you cardio and toning moves in one session, which is one of the reasons kickboxing remains so popular. However, the move that can provide the most bang for your booty-​​sculpting buck is the most common mistake made in cardio-​​kickboxing classes. Usually participants do a front kick to the side and call it a side-​​kick.

If done correctly, the side-​​kick will chisel your glutes and outer thighs, if done wrong, it just puts more stress on the hip flexor, a muscle that is already tight from sedentary modern life.

1) Stance: For a left side-​​kick, put your weight on your right leg, with the kneed and toe pointing out to the side at 45 degrees.

2) Chamber: Think of the kick in 4 counts. Count one is hinging at the hip and dropping your right shoulder to the right, kicking the core into action while bending your left leg and bringing the left knee toward your navel.

3) Impact: This is count two. The common mistake is for class participants to kick to the side with their toe pointing to the sky. To correct this, flex the foot and straighten the left leg and impact with your heel diagonally up and toe diagonally down. Think of it like this, if inside a room your heel should aim for the corner where the back wall and the ceiling meet. Your toe should point to where the floor and front wall meet on he other side of the room. Another way to visualize this is that your front hip bone or “front pocket” of your kicking leg should turn down towards the floor and your “back pocket” should be rotated up to the ceiling. Look at your foot with each kick to ensure appropriate form.

4) Retract: For count 3, quickly retract the knee back towards the core and place foot back to the floor for count 4.

Trainer tip: Adjust your target height. If you find it difficult to align your kick properly, instead of aiming for your opponent’s head, aim for their stomach or knee. Master the foot alignment first, then work on the height. Even with a kick aimed at the (imaginary) opponent’s knee, you are challenging your core and backside.

You’ve just mastered the booty-​​kicking side-​​kick.