Clamshell Exercise is one of the best hip-strengthening exercises out there. This is why it is widely used and extremely beneficial for a number of reasons.
Maybe you have never heard of this leg and hip strengthening exercise, but it’s one you should consider adding to your workout routine. Named for the way your legs and hips resemble a clamshell when performing the movement, this exercise will strengthen your hips and thighs while also stabilizing your pelvic muscles and toning your glutes.
The primary muscle used and strengthened by doing the clamshell exercise is the Gluteus Medius, a muscle responsible for the abduction and external rotation movements of the hip.
The gluteus medius helps stabilize the pelvis when standing on one leg. This is extremely important for sports that involve running and jumping from one leg.
Every day, this muscle provides stability and motor control to the pelvic girdle when going up and downstairs. In fact, a weak gluteus medius can cause the knee and lower extremity to fall out of a normal alignment when descending stairs, causing pain.
How to do the clamshell exercise
- Start by lying on your side with the target hip up.
- Keep both legs stacked and knees bent to ninety degrees.
- Flex your hips to roughly sixty degrees.
- Roll forward slightly so that your belly button approaches the ground.
- Raise the top knee up while keeping your ankles together and your trunk rolled forward.
- Hold the top knee at the highest point you can achieve for 2 to 3 seconds before lowering back down.
- To make it more challenging, you can use an exercise band around your thighs.
Benefits of the clamshell exercise
The gluteus medius is the strongest lateral stabilizer of the lower body, it is the best muscle to control side to side movements.
The clamshell exercise can improve multiple injuries, including the IT band, knee and ankle sprains, and lower back pain.