No need to lift the foot so high as to be able to rest it on your thigh - many horses dislike this infact.
Every time you pick up a foot say to your horse "Hold Up" eventually he will just pick the foot up on command.
For the back feet. Stand close to the side of the horse run your hand down the back of the leg and then around to the inside and ask the horse to lift up the leg by giving the fetlock a little tug. Don't hold the foot too high or too far back as this encourages the horse to wave its foot around. Pick out just as you would the front foot.
Should the horse plan to protest you can then just release your hand as you step backwards away from the foot.
Staying close to the horses side reduces the force of a kick - the power is in the end of the kick.