Pilates Move Of The Week: Tone Your Legs With The Donkey Kick

Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Sep 19, 2020

Finding the right position to sculpt, lift and tone your booty can be a brain-buster. Squats are OK, Lunges work great too, but it’s the Donkey Kick that does the trick.

Adding a the Donkey Kick to our leg workout allows us to SPECIFICALLY target the extensor function of our butt, allowing us to truly achieve that“lift”we’re all looking for. You be wondering why your Yoga pants never looked THIS GOOD before!

Starting position

Find your four-point kneeling position, with shoulders stacked over your wrists, and knees under hips, looking at the ground, keeping your neutral spine flat and flush with the sky.

Exercise Execution

  1. Whilst maintaining neutral spine, engage your abdominal muscles, tightening your midsection between your hips and ribs.
  2. Without losing neutral spine, slightly elevate, abduct and externally rotate your left leg away from your body to engage your left glute, keeping a 90 degree bend in your knee.
  3. Once your glute has become active, whilst keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg up to toward the sky.
  4. Repeat this movement on this side for the required sets and repetitions before changing to the opposite side.


  1. Inhale to prepare. Engage your abdominals and force an exhalation through pursed lips as you lift your left leg to the sky.
  2. Inhale again to bring your leg back to the starting position.


Start out with 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions or to failure and increase if desired.


Turn your Donkey Kick into a fluid progressive movement by not allowing your leg to touch back to the ground between repetitions, adding a deep rich burn to your buns! For a full leg workout, straighten your leg at the knee to engaged your quadriceps as well as your glutes.

KX Tip

To add KX intensity to the exercise, let’s add a resistance band! Holding one end of a resistance band under both hands, the other end attached to the ball of your foot, complete this exercise with the same movements. The added resistance acts like adding extra load or weight to your glutes – this will REALLY help to sculpt, lift and tone your booty!

Aaron Smith is the CEO & Founder – KX Group. KX is a boutique fitness company with 17 studios across Melbourne and Sydney, offering dynamic pilates, barre and yoga. KX also run international retreats to Vanuatu and Bali.

Have you tried the donkey kick? Tell us below…


By Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Aaron Smith is The Carousel’s resident pilates expert and Founder/Owner of Australia’s first high performance pilates group, KX Pilates. In 2009 he returned from living abroad with a vision to bring a new way of fitness training to Australia. “I loved the style and concept behind dynamic pilates, but I could see some areas for improvement, where I could add my own touch. I returned to Australia in 2009 and opened my first studio, in Melbourne, in 2010″, Smith said. Smith is now an award winning entrepreneur and franchisor, with 17 KX studios across Melbourne and Sydney, re-branding as the ‘KX Group’ and expanding the service offer to include; high performance pilates, assisted yoga, barre and international fitness retreats. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science (double major in exercise physiology/pharmacology), trained in advanced STOTT reformer pilates and is a KX Pilates Master Trainer.


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