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Endurance Hour: Clamshell Exercise

A study published in the Journal of Orthopedic 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 is often used in physical therapy to help with back pain and sciatica. It helps to reduce pain by strengthening the core and lower back muscles.

Over the years, there have been various workouts targeting the glutes, with the goal of lifting, tightening, and toning your lower half. What most people don’t realize that there are multiple muscles that make up your posterior, and all of them need to be worked in order build tone and strength.

The three key muscles of the butt are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. While the gluteus maximus usually gets all the glory because it is the biggest of the buttock muscles and impressively the largest muscle in your entire body, the other gluteus muscles are just as important. If they are weak, then other muscles will eventually have to overcompensate, which can cause pain and injury.

The clamshell exercise can specifically help to strengthen the gluteus medius, which lays on the outer edge of the buttocks, and is the muscle responsible for stabilizing your pelvis. Clamshell exercises can help to balance the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor. Creating balance in the leg and hip muscles helps to prevent overuse and injury. (Article Source)

How to Do a Basic Clamshell Exercise with Proper Form:

1) Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.

2) Rest your head on your lower arm, and use your top arm to steady your frame. Be sure that your hipbones are stacked on top of one another, as there is a tendency for the top hip to rock backward.

3) Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button in, as this will help to stabilize your spine and pelvis.

4) Keeping your feet touching, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Don’t move your lower leg off the floor.

5) Pause, and then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground. Do 20 reps on each side.

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