How To Do The Standing Glute Kick-back

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The glute kick-back is an exercise that, according to the internet, comes in several forms. One movement is a bodyweight exercise where you start on all fours and kick one leg back and up behind you, an exercise that is also called the donkey kick.

If that’s the move you’re after, we have a donkey kick exercise guide for you to refer to, but for our money the glute kick-back is a standing move that involves some kind of resistance. For this version you’ll need a cable machine, but you can also rig up a resistance band and use that for an exercise you can do at home.

As its name suggests, the move primarily targets the glutes. The standing exercise done with resistance places more emphasis on that muscle group than the donkey kick, sacrificing some of the core strength and balance benefits of the latter. However, the standing kick-back is more effective in strengthening your glutes, whether you use it as part of your workout or as part of a warm-up ahead of a tough leg day workout.

How To Do The Glute Kick-back

Set up a cable machine with an ankle wrap attached to the bottom of the machine. Wrap one ankle in the attachment and take a step away from the machine. Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the pole with both hands.

Raise the leg attached to the machine directly behind you, keeping your standing leg planted on the floor. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the move, then slowly bring your leg back down to the starting position – don’t let the pull of the cable machine hurry you through this stage of the exercise. Do all your reps on one leg, then switch sides.

Glute Kick-back Variations

Resistance band glute kick-back


(Image credit: Unknown)

If you don’t have access to a cable machine you can do the standing glute kick-back with a resistance band. You’ll need to find a sturdy anchor for one end of the band that also has something you can hold at around chest height. Loop the other end of the band around one ankle to perform the kick-back.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.