9 Banded Kickback Variations To Target Your Glutes

banded kickback variations to target your glutes

Glute kickbacks are a great way to build strength and size in your glutes. It’s a common exercise that you’ll see in workouts or at the gym and is one that you should definitely include in your own workout program. If you want some ideas on how to make it more challenging though, keep reading.

The 9 best banded kickback variations are:

  • Standing Glute Kickback

  • Kneeling Glute Kickback

  • Donkey Kickbacks

  • Standing Straight-Leg Pulse

  • Rainbow Kickbacks

  • Fire Hydrants

  • Angled Kickback

  • Kneeling Straight-Leg Circles

  • Knee In And Extend

Incorporating these banded kickback variations will give you the most effective glute-building workout possible.  Let’s dive into these exercises in more detail!

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The 3 Parts Of The Glute

Before we get into the banded kick back glute variations, we’re going to briefly give you a quick overview of the glutes so you know exactly what muscles you need to target.

The glutes are comprised of three main muscles:

1. Gluteus maximus

Gluteus maximus.jpg

This is the largest area of your gluteal group. It’s also considered the strongest muscle in the body and is the part that you see on your body from the outside.  It moves your hips and thighs.

2. Gluteus medius

Gluteus medius.jpg

The gluteus medius is the muscle right in the middle of the three gluteal areas. It’s shaped like a fan or others might say, a porkchop. It abducts your legs, meaning that it helps in moving your leg away from the center of the body.

3. Gluteus minimus

Gluteus minimus.jpg

As you could probably tell by the name, the gluteus minimus is the smaller part of your glute muscles. It’s located right beneath your gluteus medius and also functions similarly in assisting in moving your leg away from your body. In other words, it moves your leg to the side.

Related Article: 3 Awesome Resistance Band Shoulder Workouts

Glute Activation For Kickbacks

To make the most of your kickback exercises, make sure that you activate your glutes beforehand. We’re going to go through a couple of quick warm-up exercises that focus on the glutes so that you can maximize your results.


How To Perform

  1. Start by laying on the floor on your back. Bend your knees and ensure that your feet are flat on the ground and your arms wherever it’s comfortable—whether it’s by your side or resting on your stomach.

  2. Engage your glutes and lift your hips off the floor.

  3. Really squeeze your glutes at the top before slowly lowering it down.


How to Perform

  1. Using a mini loop resistance band around your thighs, sit down on the floor, leaning on your left arm. Bring your bent legs to your right side, with your legs together.

  2. Sit up, going into a kneeling position while still supporting yourself with your left arm. Simultaneously, open your legs as far as you can go, really engaging those glutes.

  3. In a controlled motion, sit back down to the starting position.

  4. Once your reps are done on this side, change to the other.

Related Article: 17 Resistance Band Ab Exercise For A Strong Core

9 Banded Kickback Variations To Target Your Glutes

Banded Kickback Variations To Target Your Glutes.jpg

So, let’s get started on these banded kickback movements.

For these exercises, you’ll need a loop resistance band (strength of your choice) as well as a mini loop resistance band. What level you choose to use depends on your strength and fitness level. The FitBod store has 7 levels of the normal resistance band and 5 levels of the mini one available here! Remember, ensure that the level that you choose allows you to challenge your glutes while still maintaining good form.

Related Article: 7 Resistance Band Exercises for Legs (Plus, Sample Workouts)


The first kickback we’ll go through is the standard glute kickback in a standing position.

How to Perform

  1. Stand inside your loop resistance band. The band should sit comfortably around your ankles or slightly higher.

  2. Ensure that your body is in a straight line. Your core should be activated.

  3. Bring your right leg behind you, resting on your toes. You shouldn’t be leaning too heavily on your right toes at this point; most of your weight should be in your left leg. If you need assistance with your balance, then grab a chair or stand beside a wall to lean on.

  4. Kick the leg directly behind you and up. Engage your glutes at the top position and ensure that your right leg is still straight. Also, try to keep your leg behind you and make sure that it doesn’t kick diagonally.

  5. Bring the leg back down. Repeat the reps on your left leg before switching sides.

Related Article: Can You Build Muscle With Resistance Bands?


How to Perform

  1. Hook one end of the resistance band around each foot. The band should be around midfoot.

  2. Begin on all fours, ensuring that your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Keep your back straight, pelvis tucked in and core engaged.

  3. Straighten your right leg directly behind you, propping itself on your toes. Your left leg remains where it is.

  4. Lift the right leg up as far as you can go, squeezing your glutes at the top position. Again, keep the leg straight and behind you.

  5. Slowly bring it back down and repeat all the reps on one side before switching to the other.

Related Article: 11 Knee Friendly Glute Exercises (+ Form Tips For Safe Knees)


How to Perform

  1. Use your mini loop resistance band for this exercise. Wear it around your mid-thighs.

  2. This exercise requires you to be on all fours. As with the kneeling kickback, make sure that your wrists are beneath your shoulders and your knees are resting beneath your hips.

  3. Begin by lifting your right foot up in the air behind you. Your knee should still be bent, forming a 90-degree angle with your thigh. Ensure that your leg, whilst bent, is still behind you and not off to a diagonal.

  4. That’s one rep. Finish all your reps on one side before changing to the other.


How to Perform

  1. Wrap the loop resistance band around your ankles. Ensure that your body is in a straight line with your glutes and core activated.

  2. Bring your right leg out behind you, keeping it extended.

  3. Lift it up behind you as far as you can go. When you’ve reached the top, lower it slightly before bringing it back up again. This small range of motion creates a pulse movement. Remember, for this one, you don’t want a long kickback, you want a pulse.

  4. Finish your reps on the one side before switching legs.


How to Perform

  1. Wear your mini loop resistance band around the middle of your thighs.

  2. Start this exercise in a kneeling position, supporting yourself on your wrists.

  3. Extend your right leg out behind you but to the right side of your body so it’s almost diagonal to your body.

  4. While keeping your right leg straight, kick up and over in an arch until it lands on behind you but to the left this time. Your leg should make an arch in the air like a rainbow.

  5. Move your leg back the way it came, drawing another rainbow as it moves.

  6. Repeat on your right side before changing to your left.

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How to Perform

  1. This exercise requires you to be on all fours once again. Loop your mini resistance band around your mid-thighs.

  2. Squeeze your glutes, engage your core and lift your right leg to the side. Your knee should still be bent, maintaining a 90-degree angle with your thigh.

  3. Hold the position at the top for one second before lowering it back to the ground in a controlled motion.

  4. Repeat before switching legs.


How to Perform

  1. Begin on all fours, ensuring that you’re in the correct starting position. Ensure that your mini loop resistance band is wrapped around your thighs.

  2. Bring your right leg behind you and slightly cross it over to the left side, as far as you can go.

  3. Keeping your right leg extended, nice and straight, kick it up diagonally to the right.

  4. Maintain the top position for a moment before bringing it back down.

  5. Repeat on your right leg. Then switch to your left. When executing the angled kickback with your left leg, you want to start with your left leg crossing over to the right side before kicking it up and over the opposite way.


How to Perform

  1. Kneel on the ground on all fours with the mii loop resistance band around your mid-thighs.

  2. Extend your right leg behind you, while your left remains where it is.

  3. Lift the right leg slightly off the ground. Then, begin to draw large circles in the air. Try to not move your entire body while you’re doing this—you want to isolate the movement to just your lower body to really make sure that you’re focusing on the glutes.

  4. Circle the air one way for however number of reps you’re aiming for before switching direction for the same number of reps.

  5. Then, change legs.


How to Perform

  1. Wrap the mini loop resistance band around your mid-thighs and get in a kneeling position.

  2. Engage your core and bring your right knee into your body, getting it as close to your body as possible.

  3. Then, kick the leg out behind you and up. Try and get your leg as high as possible as this will help really target the glutes.

  4. Bring the knee back into your body, and repeat.

Final Notes

Glute kickbacks is a really good exercise to add to your workout program, especially if you’re trying to grow and strengthen your glutes. There are so many glute kickback variations that’ll target your glutes while still allowing you to mix things up and try different versions. Give these 9 variations a go so you can see which ones work best for you, and go and get those glute gains.

About The Author

Emily Trinh

Emily Trinh

As a health and fitness writer, Emily combines her two passions—powerlifting and writing. With a creative writing degree under her belt, she spends her mornings lifting weights, her nights putting pen to paper, and eating too many snacks in between.