Donkey Kick: Benefits, Variations & How To Do It

Big glute muscles are desired by everyone. They don’t just add to your body aesthetics but also have functional benefits. Thankfully, there are plenty of exercises you can do at the gym and target your rear end. But there is one exercise that is easy and yet effective for strengthening glute muscles - the donkey kick. 

What Is A Donkey Kick?

A donkey kick is an exercise in which you have to pose like a donkey and mimic its leg movement. It is very efficient at isolating the gluteus maximus, which is the biggest and bulkiest glute muscle. If you are a beginner and want to target your read end, this is the perfect exercise for you. 

Although there are many compound exercises that can work on glute muscles, the donkey kicks exercise is preferred over the donkey kick alternative exercises since it can be practised without any special gym equipment. The traditional donkey kick is good for beginners while variations like weighted donkey kicks and donkey kicks with resistance band are good for people who have strong muscles. 


Donkey Kick Benefits 

Here is a list of sone donkey kick benefits  that you get by regular practice:

  • Strong Muscles: The traditional donkey kick and its variations like the dumbbell donkey kicks improve your muscular strength and endurance. The exercise work on the following muscles
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Core
  • Lower Back

If you want to increase your endurance along with muscular strength, you can try donkey kicks with resistance band.

  • Helps You Lose Weights: If you increase the reps and decrease or totally skip the weight while doing ground donkey kicks, you will burn more calories and hence reduce weight faster. Donkey kick variations like standing donkey kicks and ground donkey kicks burn calories faster since they do not include weight and hence can be repeated more times.¬†
  • Corrects Your Muscle Asymmetries: Donkey leg kicks are one of those exercises that help you in working each side of your body separately. Donkey kick alternative exercises like pistol squats and butt kicks do not give you the chance of working on one leg more than the other. If you have any muscle asymmetries, you can correct them by using one leg more with a donkey kick.¬†
  • Improves Your Mood: When you practice donkey kick, your body releases the ‚Äėfeel good‚Äô hormones. This way, this exercise creates a positive impact on your mood.¬†
  • Reduces The Risk Of Injury: The donkey kicks workout is a low-impact workout that can be adjusted according to your need. If you exercise a lot in the gym, you might add an exercise in your workout that can give your body rest without you taking actual rest. Donkey kick is the perfect exercise for such purposes.¬†
  • Improves Your Posture: Along with the other donkey kicks exercise benefits, it also trains your muscles and keeps your body in the right posture. A good body posture is not beneficial for just your health but it also impacts your looks positively.¬†

How To Do A Donkey Kick

Here is a step by step guide that will help you learn how to do a donkey kick:

  • Get on all fours, keep your back flat, and tuck your chin slightly.¬†
  • Engage your lower abdominals, and lift your leg back and up.¬†
  • Stop lifting the leg your back starts to arch.¬†
  • Return to the position where you started and then switch the leg.¬†
  • Two sets of donkey kick with 15-17 reps are enough for beginners.¬†

Donkey Kick Variations:

Bored of doing the traditional donkey kick? Here is a list of some donkey kick variation exercises that you can add to your daily workout. Remember, the muscles worked by these exercises are almost similar to the traditional donkey exercise. So, if you want to replace the donkey kick with any of these exercises, feel free to do. 

  • Standing Donkey Kicks: If you get tired of sitting on all four, you can do this standing variation of a donkey kick.¬†
  • Weighted Donkey Kicks (Also called Dumbbell Donkey Kicks): Want to strengthen your abs and biceps along with working on your glutes muscles? If your answer is yes, then you should try this weighted version of donkey kicks.¬†
  • Side Donkey Kicks: Along with the muscles that are hit by traditional donkey kick, this version of donkey kick also hits your hamstrings and tensor fasciae latae.¬†

Precautions And Safety Points

Keep the following precautionary points in mind while donkey kicks exercise so that you stay away from side effects and get the best out of it:

  • Keep your hips square or you will not be fully able to fully engage your core muscles.¬†
  • Never round your lower back or the glute will not fully extend, ultimately making the exercise less effective.¬†
  • If you have an injury in your knees or the back, you should avoid donkey leg kicks till you are fully recovered. If you still want to do it for various donkey kicks exercise benefits, you should first consult a physician whether this exercise can cause any side effects in your conditions or not.¬†
  • If you kick too high or too low, you will put extra pressure on your lower back muscles. This shift of pressure from glutes to lower muscles can cause lower back pain.¬†
  • Never let your upper body go or you will miss the chance of firing up your shoulders while practising the donkey kicks workout.¬†
  • Try to fully engage your core muscles while doing side donkey kicks so that your body stays stable and rightly aligned. Otherwise, this exercise might cause pelvic and spinal instability.¬†
  • If you use momentum instead of muscles for moving the leg, your glutes will not get stronger.¬†


Donkey kick is an easy and effective way of working on your glutes muscles. You can make the exercise low-impact or high-impact just by changing the weights. Add this exercise in your home workouts now and see why so many gym enthusiasts like to do this funny-named exercise. 

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