Clam leg exercise will improve glute strength

If you’ve ever wondered how to make your hips and core stronger, this simple workout is perfect for you.

Imagine having the strength to do everyday activities with ease, like walking, running or even playing with your friends. The clamshell exercise can help you achieve just that. It’s like magic for your hips and core muscles.

In this blog post, we’ll show you what the clamshell leg exercise is and how it got its name. We’ll also teach you the proper way to do it, so you can get the most out of this fun workout. 

​What is a clamshell exercise?

The clamshell exercise is a glute activation exercise.

woman on her side on the floor in the gym with her feet together performing a banded clamshell exercise

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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.

It’s a simple exercise that doesn’t require any equipment but you can add resistance using a resistance band. 

Resistance band/booty band

Add resistance to your clamshell exercise and other lower body exercises with these fabric resistance bands.

What muscles used in clamshell leg exercise

The clamshell is one of the best isolation exercises for the glutes, also targeting the hip muscles, helping assist with hip strengthening and hip mobility.

Glute muscles

The clamshell exercise primarily works the muscles around your hips and your glutes, especially the gluteus medius. 

The three primary glute muscles are the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus.

  • Glute maximus: The largest muscle and is used in nearly every lower body exercise. The gluteus maximus, and gluteus maximus exercises, involve hip extension, working opposite of your hip flexors, and assisting with hip abduction and external rotation of the leg.
  • Glute medius: The glute medius muscle is the primary abductor of the three and externally rotate the hip.Β 
  • Glute minimus: The gluteus minimus’ primary function is the internal rotation of the hip joint. This muscle assists with abduction and medial rotation of the thigh at the hip.

Benefits of clamshell exercise

The basic clamshell exercise creates strong glutes in one of the easiest exercises that can be done virtually anywhere.

Great for glute activation

The clam exercise is a great way to target the gluteus medius, the abductor of the leg which is located on the outside of the glutes, along with the gluteus maximus, which starts at the hip bone and stretches down to the femur.

Improves hip and core strength

The clamshell can help strengthen the gluteus medius and maximus, bringing more stability to the hip complex and correcting inadequate hip stabilization.

Hip and core strength are like the sturdy foundation of a house – they are essential for overall fitness and daily activities. 

These muscles are responsible for providing stability to our spine and pelvis, helping us maintain proper posture. When we have good core strength, it can even alleviate back pain, which is a common issue for many people.

Improves knee stability

Glute strength and knee stability are directly correlated. One of the gluteus medius roles is to help stabilize the knee.

Any compensations or weakness in the glutes can lead to compensations down the chain of joints, with the knees being directly affected.

Builds your glutes

Adding resistance to the clamshell can help increase the strength of both gluteus muscles, directly translating to increased stability of the pelvis. The function of the glutes includes balance and power skills that are crucial for a functional body.

Clam Leg Exercise

The clamshell exercise is a simple exercise you can do in your workout routine in the gym or at home. 

woman on her side on the floor in the gym with her feet together performing a banded clamshell exercise
woman on her side on the floor in the gym with her feet together performing a banded clamshell exercise
  • Lie on your side with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle, stacked directly on top of each other.
  • Place a resistance band just above your knees.
  • Rest your head on your bottom arm and position your top arm in front of your body, pushing through the ground as a point of stability.
  • While keeping your hips stacked and your feet touching, lift your top knee/ top leg toward the ceiling.
  • Once you feel the activation of your top glute, slowly lower your leg to the starting position.
  • When initiating each repetition, exhale and brace through your core, emphasizing the stability of your abdominal muscles.
  • Switch sides.

For even more glute and hamstring exercises, try these:

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