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Donkey kick

The how:

  • Begin on all fours: place your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.
  • Inhale to prepare, and then exhale as you use your right glute to kick your right leg up away from the floor until your knee is in line with your back. Keep your right knee bent at a right angle and the ankle flexed, so it’s as if the sole of the foot is facing the ceiling. Try to keep your hips square.
  • Inhale as the leg lowers back towards (but not touching) the floor. Exhale as you repeat the motion on the same side.
  • Complete your chosen number of repetitions on the right side before swapping and repeating on the left side.
  • Keep your neck in alignment throughout the exercise by keeping your gaze on a spot on the floor just above your hands.

Top tip: try not to let your lower back and core dip towards the floor as the leg kicks up behind you. Maintain a light core engagement throughout the exercise.


The why:

  • Donkey kicks are a good exercise to develop strength in glutes
  • Donkey kicks also strengthen the core muscles and lower back
  • It’s a great exercise to do anywhere – no equipment is required!


Make it easier:

If you are struggling to maintain square hips as you kick back, try lining yourself up with a wall. If you are kicking back with your right leg, then have your right shoulder, hip and knee against a wall and try to maintain the position as you kick.

If you experience wrist pain whilst preforming this exercise then you can elevate your elbows up on to a step and be on your forearms instead of your hands.


Make it harder:

To make this exercise a bit more difficult, try adding a resistance band just above your knees. If you find the band works up your legs as you preform the exercise, hook it underneath the knee on the floor to keep it still.

You can also make this exercise a little more difficult without equipment by slowing it down – for instance, count to three as you raise the leg, hold for a count of three and then count to three as you lower it again.



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