How Donkey Kicks Strengthen Your Glutes

Increase your speed with just one move.


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Also called a bent-leg kickback, donkey kicks don’t require any equipment and can be performed anywhere.

“This exercise is beneficial for runners because stronger glute muscles can provide athletes with increased speed and agility,” says Dr. Bryce McManus, DC, MS, CCSP, of Guilford, Conn.

How to do it:

Step 1: Get onto your hands and knees and engage your deep core muscles.

Step 2: Kick one of your legs backward (like a donkey), extending it all the way out before returning to the starting position. Point your toes until they’re parallel to the ceiling when your leg is fully extended. Keep the core engaged the entire time, using your glutes to bring your leg back and forth. Maintain a flat back and keep everything still but the kicking leg. Slow, controlled movements will provide the most benefit. McManus recommends performing 10–12 reps for each leg.

“If you notice your back arching or leg drifting, stop the exercise. If you find being on your knees to be painful, try performing the exercise on padding such as a folded-over yoga mat,” McManus advises.