Donkey Kick Back Exercise

Donkey Kickbacks

The video below demonstrates how to properly perform a Donkey Kick Back. Targeting your Glutes and Lower Back, this movement helps strengthen your core.

What are donkey kicks good for?

If you’re searching for an exercise to target and tighten your rear end, look no further than the donkey kick back.

Donkey kicks target the glutes in a way many other compound exercises can’t. This move can be completed with minimal equipment and can be modified for all fitness levels.

The donkey kick’s scientific name is a quadruped bent-knee hip extension. But it gets its nickname from the literal movement, which looks like the animal’s notorious kick.

For this variation, resistance from a light resistance band will make this move a bit more challenging and the burn more intense.

Are donkey kicks effective?

Donkey kicks are great for both stability and building a firm round butt. They target your gluteus maximus—the largest of your three glutes muscles, and the bulk of your booty. They also work your core and shoulder muscles, since your entire body has to remain stable while your leg lifts.

Muscles worked: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius

Butt Workouts for Women at Home

Donkey Kickbacks demonstrated by FITBODY training client, Dana.

What equipment do I need for donkey kick backs?

Equipment needed: light resistance band
Although you can do these with just bodyweight, the addition of the resistance band adds a challenge and intensity. The benefit of simply adding a resistance band means that you can quickly and easily increase the intensity and vary it up within sets. This is why it’s the most common go-to method for many people who seek greater intensity with their exercise. It’s quick, simple and easy.

  1. Grab the resistance band and position your hands so they are directly under your face, elbows bent. Hook your right foot into the band on the other end.
  2. Keeping your back straight, push your right leg out and up.
  3. Draw it back into your chest for 1 rep.
    Complete 10-15 reps for 2-4 sets on each leg.

Do kickbacks make your butt bigger?

Donkey kicks are great because they target the part of your butt that other compound exercises can miss. The movement of the leg backwards in the donkey kick is one that really only the glutes can do, as long as you don’t let poor form creep in (which can allow other muscles to take over).

Do donkey kickbacks work?

Donkey kick and the variations of it are excellent for targeting all the muscles in your glutes, which don’t get as much love from traditional compound exercises like squats and lunges. While you might think of your butt as one big muscle, your glutes actually refer to many different muscles and this exercise focuses mostly on that targeted group of muscles.

What Are Donkey Kicks Good For?

Donkey kicks are effective for:

  • Targeting Glutes: Donkey kicks specifically target the gluteus maximus and medius muscles.
  • Building a Firm Butt: They contribute to building a firm and rounded buttock.
  • Core Stability: Donkey kicks engage the core and shoulder muscles, promoting overall stability.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various fitness levels, and the addition of a resistance band can intensify the workout.

Do Donkey Kickbacks Make Your Butt Bigger?

Yes, donkey kicks can contribute to making your butt bigger by targeting and strengthening the glute muscles. The focused movement of the leg backward engages the glutes in a way that other compound exercises may not, promoting muscle growth in the buttock area. However, individual results may vary, and overall body composition and genetics also play a role in shaping the buttocks.

Common Mistake in Donkey Kicks:

  1. Arching the lower back excessively:
    • Mistake: Some individuals tend to hyperextend the lower back during the upward movement of the kick
    • Why it’s a mistake: It compromises the effectiveness of the exercise and potentially causes strain on the lower back. The primary goal of the donkey kick back is to target and strengthen the glutes. Arching the back may involve the lower back muscles more than necessary, reducing the effectiveness of the exercise in isolating the glutes. You can also put undue stress on the lumbar spine, leading to potential strain or discomfort. The lower back is a sensitive area and improper form can contribute to overloading the lumbar region increasing the risk of injury.
  2. Incorrect Leg Positioning:
    • Mistake: Allowing the working leg to drift too far to the side or across the midline of the body.
    • Why it’s a mistake: Improper leg positioning can shift the emphasis away from the targeted glute muscles. To maximize the effectiveness of the donkey kick back, it’s crucial to keep the movement controlled and within the natural range of motion without excessive lateral deviation.
  3. Neglecting Pelvic Stability:
    • Mistake: Allowing the pelvis to tilt or rotate during the movement.
    • Why it’s a mistake: Maintaining pelvic stability is essential to isolate the glute muscles. If the pelvis tilts or rotates, it can transfer the workload to other muscle groups and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Engage the core muscles to keep the pelvis stable throughout the entire range of motion.

Are Donkey Kicks Bad for Your Back?

When done with improper form, donkey kicks can potentially strain the lower back. It’s essential to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement and avoid overextending or arching the lower back. If you experience discomfort or pain in your back while performing donkey kicks, it’s crucial to reassess your form and consider modifications.

How to Do Donkey Kicks Without Hurting the Back:

Tips to perform donkey kicks and avoid hurting your back:

  1. Maintain Neutral Spine: Keep your back straight and avoid arching or rounding it during the movement. Engage your core to stabilize your spine.
  2. Controlled Movements: Perform the kicks in a slow and controlled manner, focusing on the contraction of the glutes. Avoid using momentum to lift your leg.
  3. Proper Alignment: Ensure your hands are positioned directly under your face, and your elbows are bent. This helps maintain stability and proper alignment throughout the exercise.
  4. Mindful Kickback: As you kick your leg back, be mindful not to overextend or hyperextend your lower back. Focus on the engagement of the glutes.
  5. Appropriate Resistance: If using a resistance band, choose an appropriate level of resistance. Too much resistance may compromise form, leading to back strain.

Related Exercises:
Band Glute Kick Backs Bent Knee