How To Do & Muscles Worked

bent leg kickbacks

Bent leg kickbacks are a total body exercise, but they primarily work the glutes and hamstrings. Strengthening these posterior chain muscle groups is helpful for many functional tasks like incline walking, walking upstairs, and running or sprinting.

  • Easy
  • Moderate
  • Challenging

Which Muscles Are Worked?

Diagram of primary and secondary muscles worked from Bent leg kickbacks

Primary Muscles

Glutes Hamstrings

Secondary Muscles

Shoulders Abs

Exercise Type

Bodyweight icon

How to do bent leg kickbacks Properly

Step by Step Guide

Begin in a quadruped position on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Look down at the ground so that your neck is in neutral. Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button toward your spine to keep the spine in neutral.

Lift one knee up off the ground an inch and flex the foot. Then, press your heel straight up toward the ceiling while keeping the leg bent at 90-degrees. Raise that leg until the thigh is parallel to the ground. Be sure to engage your core to keep the hips levels instead of rotated.

Repeat for the desired repetitions, on both legs.

Common Mistakes

A common mistake is arching the back. Instead, focus on drawing the belly button up toward the spine to keep it in neutral. Then focus all the movement originating from the hip as you extend the hip and contract the glutes. Keeping the abs engaged will also help keep the hips level to avoid rotating.


Animation of how to do Bent leg kickbacks