Knee hovers

Move of the week: knee hovers to activate the core before strength training

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Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: knee hovers. 

You’ve probably heard of doing glute activation to fire up your butt muscles before running or lifting, but core activation is equally as important. That’s because the muscles in your midsection support your spine, pelvis and limbs as you move — and when lifting heavy weights, it’s crucial to have full-body control. 

If you don’t know where to start with core activation, try these simple knee hovers.  

What is a knee hover? 

A knee hover begins in an all-fours position, before lifting your knees away from the ground. 

This exercise is great because:

It engages the abs: most of the lift comes from the muscles in your abdominals, helping to switch them on before exercise. 

It improves stability: the balancing pose works your total core, a skill you can transfer to another exercise.

It can reduce back pain: activating the core before exercise means there’s less risk of injury and the moves are more controlled.

What muscles are worked in a weighted crunch?

This move mainly targets the muscles in the core, including: 

  • Transverse abdominals (the top layer of abs_ 
  • Rectus abdominals (the deep core) 
  • Obliques (side of the body) 
  • Back
  • Shoulders 
  • Chest 
  • Quads

    How to do knee hovers      

    1. Start in an all-fours position with your shoulders over your wrists and knees under your hips. 
    2. Tuck your toes under and pull your belly button to your spine to begin engaging your core. 
    3. Press into your hands and toes and squeeze your abs to lift your knees off the ground. Your back should stay flat, rather than round up, as you lift off the floor. 
    4. Hold for four seconds, then lower down. 

    For more exercise tips, sign up to the Strong Women Training Club

    Images: Stylist

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    Chloe Gray

    Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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