Donkey Kicks: The Perfect Way to Strengthen Your Glutes

There are myriads of exercise for fitness enthusiasts around the world. Though might sound funny but the name, donkey kicks are one of the effective exercises that help tone your thighs and buttocks. The rear ends are very well targeted by the donkey kicks. Adding these variations to the regular exercise will come as a blessing for your body. Glutes are such targeted that many high-intensity exercises cannot do.

Though an extremely simple and prop-free exercise, donkey kicks are highly effective in their job. For the basic version of the exercise, no equipment is required. You can do it anywhere and anytime you wish.

Coming to its scientific name, the exercise is known as quadruped bent-knee hip extension. The literal movement that looks like donkey kicks gives it the nickname it has.

Let us talk about the various variations that you can do with donkey kicks:

  • The basic donkey kick:

The classic donkey kick for snot requires any equipment. The traditional way is the way out for beginners to try out the exercise. Maintain the right form during the exercise is necessary. Make sure the back isn’t sagging and glutes are doing the work well.

Donkey Kick
Donkey Kick
    • Bent down in all four limbs with knees hip-width apart. Hands should lie directly under your shoulders. The neck and spine should stay neutral.
    • Tighten your core, start by lifting one of the legs, knee still bent. The foot stays flat and the hip is hinged.
    • The foot has to be pushed towards the ceiling with the strength of glutes while staying flat. Do not sag your back in the process.
    • Return to the starting position and so around 20 reps with each leg in about 4- 5 sets.
  • Straight leg donkey kicks with half-circle:

The regular donkey kicks are added dip with an additional circle and the keg is pushed out straight instead of bent knees. The muscles worked out with this variation are glutes Maximus and glutes medius. No equipment is needed for this or again.

Straight leg donkey kicks with half circle
Straight leg donkey kicks with half circle
    • Assume the starting position on all fours. Back straight, knees hip-width apart, and hands below shoulders.
    • Now, as you begin to lift your leg, point your foot straight back instead of putting it upwards towards the ceiling. Use your routes to reach as high as possible in this position.
    • At the top of the reach, you out your leg a bit outwards making half a circle with your toes.
    • Assume the starting position. As your foot touched the ground, bring your knee inwards towards your chest and cause for 1 second. Then pull it back out.
  • Resistance band donkey kicks:

Resistance band donkey kicks
Resistance band donkey kicks

This one requires equipment called a resistance band. The band is used to increase the intensity and effectiveness of the exercise as you progress. Put one end of the band below both your hands. Now stretch it all across the ground to reach it at one foot.

Hook it up on the foot and press firmly on the hands to avoid slipping now continue with the regular exercise. This time with additional stress on the glutes maximum and glutes medius. Donkey kicks exercise is thus very interesting and can be varied from low intensity to high impact exercise.

  • Smith machine donkey kicks:

Here another piece of equipment comes into play. The size of your flute muscles can be increased with the smith machine. Adding weight to the basic donkey kicks is better if you wish to see quicker results.

Add weight only when you’re certain that you are ready for it. Adding weight to the simple exercise can be tricky. So, make up your mind well before starting the exercise. Also, be cautious while using the wight machine.

Smith machine donkey kicks
Smith machine donkey kicks
    • Adjust the smith machine bar according to requirement and again, position on all fours.
    • As you lift your leg, keep the foot flat up towards the ceiling. Now as you reach the top of your capability, put the weight bar on your foot.
    • Now lift this weight along with your leg up. Knee remains bent like the basic version in this one too.
  • One-legged cable machine kickback:

While this one is very different from the classic donkey kicks, it targets the same muscles and has the same benefits as the traditional one.

One-legged cable machine kickback
One-legged cable machine kickback
    • You need a cable machine for this one. Take the able strap and attach it to the foot. Stand while facing the machine.
    • Now brace your core and lift the leg tied up with a strap towards the back.
    • As you reach up, bend the leg slightly and continue upwards.
    • As you bring down the foot, resist the wight and slowly lower the foot to touch the ground.


This sums up the main variations of the very simple donkey kicks workout. We extensively helped you understand what are donkey kicks. With these variations, however, the effectiveness of the exercise boosts up and you can see results earlier than usual.

Donkey kicks are best to maintain good shape of your thighs and buttocks. Also, the main targeted area, the glutes are benefitted big time with this exercise.

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