Clam Shell


The clamshell exercise is a simple yet highly effective movement that targets the hip abductors, particularly the gluteus medius and minimus, to enhance hip stability and strengthen the outer thighs. By lying on your side with your knees bent and opening your top knee while keeping your feet together, this exercise engages the hip muscles crucial for maintaining balance and preventing injuries.

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts benefit significantly from the clamshell exercise, which helps improve hip alignment and corrects muscle imbalances that can lead to knee and lower back pain. It’s ideal for sports requiring lateral movement, like soccer, tennis, and basketball, as well as for those looking to build a stronger core and improve functional movement patterns.

The clamshell exercise is adaptable to various fitness levels by incorporating resistance bands or adjusting the range of motion. Including it in your routine will improve hip stability, promote balanced strength, and enhance lower body mobility for optimal athletic performance and injury prevention.

Equipment Needed:

  • Open floor or yoga mat
  • Loop resistance band or theraband

clamshell Instructions:

  1. While seated on the floor wrap the resistance band around your knees
  2. Lie down on your side with your knees bent and legs together
  3. Keeping your heels together open your knees against the resistance band
  4. Open them as far as possible without your top hip leaning back or falling to the ground
  5. Hold the open position for a 2+ count and return to the starting position
  6. Perform the prescribed reps and switch sides

Common Errors

Opening your hip up too much. Many people lean their pelvis back as the top leg moves up. It appears to give more motion and therefore more resistance but it lessens the amount of control needed by the moving hip. Keep your hips stacked and don’t lean back.

clamshell Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Try using a less difficult band or no band at all

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Use a more difficult band
  • Try end range isometric holds. Simply hold the rep in the open position for a longer period of time



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