Donkey Kicks: Variations and How-tos

Donkey kicks are great for working glutes and legs. To do them correctly, you need the right technique and to consider other aspects as well.
Donkey Kicks: Variations and How-tos

Last update: 10 June, 2019

The body’s largest muscle structure is composed of the glutes and legs. Because they’re the largest, you need to work them out more to keep them in shape. Donkey kicks are one of the best exercises for these muscles. This workout routine can tone your muscles and make them stronger as well.

Our routine today is simple enough and doesn’t require much space: a living room, game’s room or even a hotel room will work just fine. You can also do them outside or at the gym. You can do donkey kicks anywhere and they’ll offer you plenty of benefits.

Donkey kicks

Get on all fours to start the exercise. Put your hands on the floor, lining them up with your shoulders, keeping your knees in line with your hips.

Completely straighten out your arms and keep your back as straight as possible, focusing especially on your lower back. Your toes will be the third contact point with the floor.

Work out one leg at a time. Starting with your right side, lift your knee until it makes a straight line with your hips and core. Now, make a right (90 degrees) angle while keeping your knee bent.

Lower your knee as gently possible and bring it down close to the floor. Raise your knee again. Do a total of 10 to 12 repetitions in 3 or 4 sets with each leg.

donkey kicks instructions


You can add variations to the basic exercise that focus on specific goals such as building muscle tissue. They’re also a great way to add change to your routine. Here are some variations:

Circle donkey kicks

Start in the original position and lift your right left up, keeping your knee and foot bent. Instead of lowering and lifting your leg, hold the position. Draw a circle with your leg from left to right. Make at least five circles.

Now, do the same thing with your left leg. You can also do the exercise while holding a small 1-3 kg dumbbell behind your knee.

donkey kicks circles

Cable weight machine donkey kicks

This variation requires a standing position and a cable weight machine. These machines are commonly sought out for developing glutes and calves.

The objective: in one swift lift, lift the weight above your knees. Do three or four sets of anywhere between 6 to 10 repetitions on each leg (adjust to your own level).

donkey kicks cable weight machine
Image: YouTube Casimiro Hermoso

Straight donkey kick

For straight donkey kicks, start off on all fours with your knees next to each other. Make sure your weight is balanced. Slightly bend your elbows to incline your torso, keeping your back completely straight. Now, lift your right leg. But unlike the other variations, keep it completely straight.

Aim for: slowly lowering and lifting your leg. Take a two-second pause at the highest and lowest point of the exercise. Adjusting to your physical condition, do three to four sets of 6 to 12 repetitions on each leg.

donkey kicks straight


Donkey kicks suit almost anyone. They don’t require a lot of prep; you only need a good amount of discipline and dedication. A complete routine that includes all the variations won’t take longer than 35 minutes to finish.

If you do the exercises at least three times a week, you’ll notice pleasing changes in just 15 days. You’ll have toned glutes and legs as well as a stronger resistance and more potential for any other exercise you do.

Donkey kicks, along with a healthy diet, helps reduce the appearance of cellulite substantially. Additionally, using ankle weights will make workouts more challenging, but they’ll also help you to build muscle mass.

Your lower body won’t solely see benefits. Your core and back also have to work in these exercises, meaning a stronger lower back as a result.

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