Pure Gym Limited

Glute Kickbacks

What Is A Glute Kickback?

A women demonstrating how to do glute kickbacks, a glute focused exercise

Jump straight to instructions

Similar to donkey kicks, glute kickbacks are a glute isolation exercise performed on all fours. In this variation, the leg is kept straight rather than bent at the knee. Although this is sometimes called a straight leg donkey kick, it is more challenging as the longer leg length takes more effort to lift. Glute kickbacks strengthen all three gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus) by training hip extension. This exercise also works the hamstrings and core while stretching the hip flexors, and the quads and calves of the non-working leg are also engaged.

In addition to building strength, glute kickbacks improve lower body stability and coordination, and help you to learn how to activate and engage the glutes. Learning how to correctly engage the glutes can lead to stronger squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts.

Performed regularly, glute kickbacks can help to improve posture and reduce lower back pain. If you spend long periods of time sitting, kickbacks can help to activate the glutes and prevent tight hip flexors.

Check out our other glute kickback exercises: donkey kicks, cable kickbacks.

Commonly Asked Questions On Glute Kickbacks

Are Kickbacks Good For Glutes?

Kickbacks are good for engaging the glutes and can help to build glute strength and hip stability.

Are Glute Kickbacks Effective?

Glute kickbacks are an effective exercise for engaging the glutes and building strength and stability. As you get stronger, you will need to progress to more challenging glute exercises such as the cable kickback or hip thrusts if your goal is to build muscle mass or continue to increase strength.

What Do Glute Kickbacks Work?

Glute kickbacks are a glute isolation exercise, predominantly targeting the gluteal muscles. The hamstrings and core are also engaged to keep the pelvis stable while extending the hip.

Glute Kickback Tips

A common mistake people make with glute kickbacks is arching the spine, which shifts tension away from the glutes onto the lower back. Before you begin, engage the core by pulling the belly button towards the spine to flatten the lower back. While you’re unlikely to kick as high, keeping this shape while kicking back provides more challenge to the glutes.

How To Do Glute Kickbacks

  1. Start on your hands and knees, spine neutral, with your head facing the floor. Engage your core.

  2. Extend your right leg so that it's straight and in line with your hip.

  3. Raise the leg towards the ceiling, keeping the knee straight throughout. At the top, squeeze your glutes and hold this position for a second.

  4. Slowly return your leg back down in line with your hips.

  5. Repeat for reps then switch sides.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.