How it is done
The alignment of the spine and the correct position of the arms and legs play a fundamental role inexecution by Donkey Kicks. It is an important exercise to strengthen all lower limbs and hip muscles, as well as its great function of lubricating the hip joints and the head of the femur.
It starts from quadruped position, placing the hands well under the shoulders, in line. The same goes for the knees just below the hips. The back of the foot well supported on the mat. The back does not yield from the lumbar part and the neck does not arch and does not fall downwards but remains in line with the spine. In some variants the starting position does not remain the quadruped, but goes on the forearms, resting the hands well and exerting pressure.
Breathing out one leg lifts, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees. The foot is lifted upwards until the thigh reaches the height of the pelvis, so that it remains parallel to the floor. The position is held for one or two seconds and the foot is always hammered. The back should not arch excessively to avoid causing discomfort to the lower back. The shoulders should not give way and the hands should continuously press against the mattress, while theabdomen remains active all the time. Breathing remains long and deep.
Location of arrival
You return with the leg towards the starting position but without resting the knee again and pushes the leg up again. Repeat for at least 15 times and then switch legs.
How many Donkey Kicks to do
To have the benefits exercise can be performed 4 sets of 10 repetitions per leg and a 30-second break between sets. In a complete training schedule aimed at toning and defining the glutes, this exercise should be at the beginning to activate the gluteus, but not in the intense part of the work where instead we can insert lunges, Bulgarian squats, front squats, Romanian deadlifts, pistol squats box, etc. The beauty of this exercise however remains in the fact that no equipment or experience is required. Once you have learned the lines and known glfrequent mistakes, the execution remains very simple.
To further strengthen the muscular districts of the posterior region of the legs and buttocks, you can add an elastic band around the knees; in this way the exercise becomes more intense and you can also do 3 series of 8 repetitions with a 30 second break between one series and another. If in the quadrupedal execution wrists, elbows and hands hurt, there are several options: in the first case you decide to put both hands on the wall and then bend one knee to 90 degrees and kick it back, keeping the leg in line with the hip, but having the vertical wall with reference support of the toe of the hammer foot. In the second case, sometimes a stability ball or large Pilates ball is used and is kicked standing on top of the latter. The important factor is to avoid the mistake of straightening the leg with which you do the top kick, as this prevents activation of the buttock. You should also try to remain stable in the position and not give in from the hips or knees to avoid straining the back too much. The arms should then press on the mat throughout the run. If the supporting knee suffers from excessive load, a small pillow is used or the mattress is double folded.
Benefits and muscles involved
The Donkey Kick is a monoarticular exercise, with an open kinetic chain (there are no resistances, the peripheries of the body – i.e. the distal body segments – are not constrained in space and move freely) and the control must start from the abdominal area) and one-sided stimulating i muscles hamstrings, for example the knee flexors and hip extensors.
If you arch the back the benefits of the exercise are canceled and indeed there is a risk of damage to the lumbar area. You should try to keep your focus on activating the glute to lift the leg and remember that the goal is not to lift the foot as high as possible, although this exercise is often also referred to as “quadrupedal jumps”. Excellent for improving and increasing circulation in the pelvis both in terms of blood circulation and as regards lymphatic circulation. Movement brings heat and reduces a rigid condition with circulatory stasis.
In general, the benefits for the buttocks and the posterior chain are good, but they increase if the exercise is inserted in a circuit that also includes other exercises such as jump squats, lunges, single leg bridge. The great value of this exercise lies in its use in the field rehabilitation as it is often used as a means to assess the order of muscle activation of the knee flexors and hip extensors. We cannot say that the exercise is the best one to tone the buttock in the shortest possible time as it lacks a pressure at the plantar level and therefore the correct activation of the buttock remains partial.