How To Do Donkey Kicks With Resistance Band Properly

There aren’t many exercises that work your glutes quite like donkey kicks with resistance band do.

This exercise not only works your glutes but also strengthens and stretches your hamstrings while engaging your core to stabilize your body.

What’s even better, it is quite simple to execute. You only need to follow these steps:

  • Loop a resistance band just above your knees.
  • Get on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your hips above your knees. This is the starting position.
  • Brace your core and make sure your spine is neutral.
  • Kick your right leg back, making sure to straighten it until it is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for two seconds.
  • Slowly, lower your leg to complete one rep.
  • Repeat these steps for at least 10 reps.
  • Switch to the left side.

You can spend more than 2 seconds at the top position if you wish. The more time you spend holding that position, the longer your glutes will be under tension.

WHAT MUSCLES DO DONKEY KICKS WITH RESISTANCE BAND WORK?

GLUTES

This exercise isolates, builds and strengthens your glutes, with particular emphasis on the gluteus maximus, the largest and most powerful hip extender.

HAMSTRINGS

Your hamstrings work together with your glutes to extend your hips. There are three muscles in this muscle group- the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and the biceps femoris.

They help flex your knees and extend your hips as you kick your leg back during this exercise.

CORE

As you tighten your core while pushing your leg out, you engage the muscles in your midsection, which then stabilize your lumbar spine to prevent upper body movement during the movement.

DONKEY KICKS WITH RESISTANCE BANDBENEFITS

EASY TO LEARN

Judging from the simple steps outlined at the beginning of this article, I’m sure you can already tell that donkey kicks with resistance band are quite easy to learn.

Most people master it within a few minutes and as such, it is ideal for beginners.

ENGAGE THE CORE

To do donkey kicks with resistance band correctly, you must engage your core to stabilize your spine.

It takes a lot of core control to lift just one leg as everything else remains stationary, including your hips.

Using your core during this exercise is a great way to isolate and strengthen it. Additionally, better core control will enable you to perform core-centric exercises more comfortably.

ALTERNATIVES TO DONKEY KICKS WITH RESISTANCE BAND

HIP THRUST

The hip thrust is another popular glute exercise that you can do using only your bodyweight for resistance.

You can also make it more challenging by using a barbell or a resistance band to increase muscle activation in the glutes.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back on the floor, with your feet flat and your legs bent.
  • Place your arms by your sides on the floor.
  • Push your feet through the floor and then push your hips toward the ceiling. At the top position, your shoulders, hips and knees should be in a straight line.
  • Squeeze your glutes, hold for a few seconds then lower your hips down to the floor.
  • Repeat as many times as you desire.

STANDING CABLE HIP EXTENSIONS

This exercise uses a low cable machine and an ankle cuff to build your glutes progressively.

The standing cable hip extension makes it possible to increase your glute mass progressively by allowing you to increase the weight as you get more flexible and stronger.

Steps:

  • Attach one end of the ankle cuff to a low cable and the other to your ankle.
  • Stand upright facing the cable machine and brace your arms for balance. This is the starting position.
  • Extend your hip outward behind you, bending your leg slightly throughout.
  • Return to the starting position
  • Do as many reps as you want to.

DONKEY KICKS WITH RESISTANCE BAND MISTAKES TO AVOID

ROUNDING YOUR LOWER BACK

When your back is rounded, you will not be able to fully activate and extend into your glutes, which will make the move less effective for the glute muscles.

This position might also turn off your core muscles and put you at risk of spinal injury, especially since you are performing this exercise with additional resistance from the band.

Instead try to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement and if you find this difficult, you can place a yoga block on your mid back to help you keep a straight back.

KICKING TOO LOW OR TOO HIGH

Kicking too low does not activate your glutes as much as they should be activated for this exercise.

Conversely, if you kick too high, you might overextend your legs and end up shifting the focus from your glutes to your lower back muscles.

It is better to keep your range of motion small so that you are able to work your glutes effectively while protecting your spine and lower back from injury.

NOT KEEPING THE HIPS SQUARE

When your hips are not square, you will likely not be able to fully engage your core, which in turn reduces glute activation.

Try to level your hips by driving your bodyweight through the palm on the side of the working glute and the knee that lies opposite.

NOT FLEXING YOUR FEET

When it comes to performing donkey kicks with resistance band, limp feet means the motion lacks intention.

You should flex your feet and drive through your heel as you kick your leg into the air to increase the activation of your glutes.

LETTING YOUR UPPER BODY MOVE

Letting your upper body hang loose will interfere with core activation by loosening the tension in your core muscles.

Keep your shoulders down and back, your neck long and your chest open to help enhance your upper body posture.

You can also drive your palms into the ground (or mat if you have one) to activate your upper body muscles.

USING MOMENTUM

Swinging your legs wildly will certainly not get you the strong glutes you desire.

Try to use intention by performing the motions slowly and with control so that you are able to reach your glutes both in the lower phase and the extension portion of the exercise.

NOT ENGAGING YOUR CORE

Being a heavily core-dependent exercise, donkey kicks with resistance band require that you tighten your core to stabilize your body and keep it aligned.

Not activating these muscles not only decreases glute activation but it can also make your pelvis and spine unstable, increasing the chances of injury.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Adding a resistance band to the traditional donkey kick is a great way to make the movement more challenging and give your glutes a bit more definition.

This advanced variation of the donkey kick works your glutes extensively while at the same time strengthening your core and hamstrings.

Try it out the next time you are training your glutes and see the benefits for yourself!