The clamshell with a mini band is a great exercise to strengthen your hips, glutes and thighs while stabilizing your pelvis. Your glutes are made of three muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and glutues minimus. While the glute maximus is the largest muscle in the body where most of the work is targeted, it’s just as important to strengthen the smaller muscles of the glutes. Without the right balance, other muscles will have to eventually overcompensate leading to pain and injury in your knees and lower back.
A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that the clamshell exercise is one of the best for hip strengthening, to help with injury treatment and prevention. The clamshell exercise focuses on strengthening the gluteus medius which is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis. It will also help to build strength in the inner and outer thighs, core and lower back to create a better balance in your hip and leg muscles.
Squats and lunges are necessary for basic lower body strength but the smaller muscles must not be neglected if you want to avoid knee or back pain in any of your activities.
Make sure you can perform this exercise without the band first.
Start by lying on your side with knees stacked and bent at a 45 degree angle.
Rest your head on your lower arm. Bring the top arm in front to steady yourself.
Keep your hips stacked and make sure you’re not rolling backwards.
Engage your abs to stabilize your spine and pelvis. Keep your feet together as you raise the top knee as much as possible without moving the bottom leg. Squeeze your glute at the top and lower back to start. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
The band will add more resistance and muscle activation so make sure you work up to this progression.
Did you know that weak hips can create issues in your ankles, foot, knees and back? Don’t become a statistic and start incorporating this exercise into your regular fitness routine. Not only will you decrease your chances of injury, you’ll increase the mobility in your hips. A healthy body is always a happier one.