Donkey Kicks Exercise for IT Band Syndrome
Donkey kicks are another easy strength exercise that is also one of our favorite strength exercises for the pelvic, hip and leg. The Donkey kick targets the gluteus muscles of the hip and will help with iliotibial band issues. The trick key with Donkey Kicks to get the best gluteal muscle activation is to keep the knee bent in order to relax the hamstrings and focus the contraction on the gluteus muscles. Try this exercise in two different ways to see the difference that bending the knee makes in regards to firing the glut medius and glut maximus.
In the first position, kick the leg straight back, extending from the hip and the knee and hold the leg parallel to the floor. You should feel the hamstring muscle and the rest of the muscles in the back of the thigh contract and fire. In most cases, this muscle firing pattern is typical of most runners and other athletes that struggle with Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
Now return the leg back to the starting position (back to your hands and knees position). In the second variation of the Donkey Kick, keep the knee bent at 90 degrees as you extend from the hip. Think of trying to push your heel and foot up towards the ceiling instead of directly behind you. With the knee now flexed, you should feel a stronger contraction of the gluteal muscles.
Check out the video below for one example of Donkey Kicks, and feel free to leave a comment!