The clamshell exercise is often used in physical therapy to help with back pain and sciatica. The clamshell exercise can specifically help to strengthen the gluteus medius, which lays on the outer edge of the buttocks and is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis. However, it’s unlikely that the clamshell exercise is part of your lower-body workout routine… yet! Both exercises can help relieve pain, prevent injuries, and improve your athletic performance. Reverse clamshells are also used to help relieve hip and back pain, particularly in physical therapy patients.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'elitefeet_com-banner-1','ezslot_9',105,'0','0'])); Like the regular clamshell, the reverse clamshell is reasonably straightforward. Tighten your thigh muscle then lift your straight leg no higher than the other knee without allow- ing your knee to bend. Be sure that your hips. Hold at the top for a couple seconds before returning to the start position. The pelvis should be positioned so that it runs parallel to your shoulders and the ground. #8 Kettlebell Pistol Squat. You may be familiar with the gluteus maximus, the largest of the buttock muscles. Lying 45-Degree Abduction with Band View: Single Leg Squat & Bend View: Dead Lifts with Dumbbells View: Squats with Medicine Ball View: Single Leg Calf Raises on Step View: Hamstring Flexion with Ball View: Lateral Lunges with Dumbbell Curls View: Lunge & Twist with Medicine Ball View: Stationary Lunges with Dumbbell Press View: Single Leg Dumbbell Squats with Ball View To do double duty and work both the upper and lower body at the same time, try adding dumbbells. This will increase the burn to your glutes, as well as help to tone the obliques and shoulders. Lie on your side in traditional clamshell position, with knees bent at a 45-degree angle. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/the-clamshell-exercise Physical therapists commonly prescribe the clamshell for people with weak hips or anyone with knee pain. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your core. Does Walking 1 Hour Every Day Aid Weight Loss? Keep the heels touching each other, and squeeze the glutes to drive the movement. As a writer and editor, Gaby has written for a variety of health and wellness, outdoors, and travel blogs, news sites, and climbing magazines. To prevent such injuries, exercises such as the clamshell can create balance between the thighs, glutes, and pelvic floor. Place your hands on your hips and keep elbows off the floor. Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS, Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, How to do a basic clamshell exercise with proper form, Clamshell exercise with a resistance band, Core and Hip Exercises to Correct Lordosis Posture, Hip Abductor Exercises to Prevent Injury and Promote Strength, 10 Muscle-Strengthening Exercises to Perform Before a Total Knee Replacement. So, here are some things to avoid doing when performing the reverse clamshell:eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'elitefeet_com-leader-1','ezslot_11',106,'0','0'])); The clamshell exercise is a great way to strengthen your hip abductors, while the reverse clamshell is excellent for working those hip abductors. According to a new study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, clamshells don’t activate your glutes as much as you might think. Lift your upper foot off of the ground in a slow and controlled manner. Notice in the video below that I really emphasize placing your hand along your iliac crest. Certain exercises to strengthen your hamstring, glutes, and core can help improve lordosis posture and ease pain. What is a “Pain Cave” and How Do You Power Through It in a Workout or Race? Loop a mini band just above your knees. The resistance band clamshell is a modified version of the clamshell exercise that targets the outer thighs and glutes and strengthens the hips. This exercise is intended to target the hip abductors, specifically the gluteus medius muscle. Clamshell exercise. Perform 20 repetitions on every side. Try to keep your pelvis (hip bones) level. It’s when the exercise feels impossible to finish. Sets: 3. But equally important is the gluteus medius muscle, … Repeat 10-15 times and then switch sides. Raise your left leg, while rotating it slightly out, to maximum of 12 inches (or to … Lying side leg lifts / lateral raises / hip abductors / adductors is a gym work out exercise that targets glutes & hip flexors. It sits under your glutes and runs from the base of your spine to your outer hip. Clamshell. Repeat 10 times. Now, take a pause and take the upper leg to the initial position on the floor. Don’t move your lower leg off the floor. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Over the years, there have been various workouts targeting the glutes, with the goal of lifting, tightening, and toning your lower half. Never heard of the gluteus medius? Your knees should maintain their distance from each other throughout the exercise. Lift both your upper arm and upper leg to the ceiling at about 90 degrees, keeping hips stacked and core engaged. Be sure that your hipbones are stacked on top of one another, as there is a tendency for the top hip to rock backward. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Discover 10 exercises you can perform prior to knee replacement surgery that will strengthen your knee and help you recover faster. Different types of clamshell exercises are there. By continuing to use this site or by clicking ACCEPT, you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. Lie on your right side with pillow placed between the right leg and left leg. Draw your knees in toward your body until your feet are in line with your butt. Work your glutes, thighs, hips, back, and legs, while improving your fitness and mobility to help you avoid injury or recover from existing ones. Keeping your feet touching, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. When performing either clamshell exercise, be sure that you are slow and methodical with your movements and that you maintain proper spinal alignment. Your knees should be within a few inches of each other but should not touch. This is a good exercise to mix in with your normal workout routine. Keep your elbow pressed into your side and your lower leg on the ground. The iliopsoas is one of the hip flexor muscles located at the front of your pelvic bone. This simple low-impact exercise is a good option for anyone looking to improve their muscular strength and stability. Last medically reviewed on January 12, 2018. Keeping your bottom leg on the ground this time, lift your top knee up, keeping your feet together. You can either lift both legs up simultaneously or lift one leg at a time. (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 Rotate your hip to lift the knee and breathe out. Elevate your upper knee as higher as possible without moving the pelvis or hips. Be sure that your heels, hips, shoulders, and neck are all in alignment. Lift the top leg 3 – 4 inches while maintaining that contact of the ankles and ensuring that the HIPS ARE NOT ROTATING. Strengthening the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles, Strengthening the core and the muscles in the lower back, Activating the glutes before squats, deadlifts, or other heavy lifts, Increasing muscle definition in the lower body. Abdominal Bracing Exercises to Take the Strain Off Your Back. Perhaps you’ve never heard of this particular leg and hip strengthening exercise, but it’s one you should consider adding to your workout repertoire. Chances are pretty good that your leg day workout features lunges, squats, and perhaps even some leg presses. Hold a 3-, 5-, or 8-pound dumbbell in your upper hand, keeping your elbow in at your side. Runners can benefit from this hip-strengthening exercise because they’re more likely to be prone to injuries stemming from weak hips. If they are weak, then other muscles will eventually have to overcompensate, which can cause pain and injury. Clamshell Plus Leg Lift In this variation of the Clamshell exercise, perform the movement as usual. Keep your core tight to avoid rolling back and, as you breathe in, lower your leg back to the starting position. How: Hold one kettlebell with both hands … With your hands placed behind your head, simultaneously lift your legs off the floor while also lifting your shoulders off the floor. This article tells you whether you can lose weight by walking 1…. Tightening your glutes … The piriformis is a deep hip rotational muscle that turns your leg out. Clamshells are one of the most prescribed exercises for individuals with knee pain. This will work your abs, hip flexors, and pelvic muscles. Lie down on your side with your knees bent. Clamshell exercises are a surprisingly effective exercise that can target a fantastic range of muscles in your lower body. Things To Avoid When Performing The Clamshell Exercise. Pause at the top for a few seconds before returning the top knee to the starting position. Pause, and then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground. Fire Hydrant. How To Perform The Reverse Clamshell Exercise, Things To Avoid When Performing The Reverse Clamshell Exercise. Lying leg raises can help you tone your lower abs. Return the foot to its original position and then bring the knee back down to close the shell. Clamshell exercises can help to balance the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor. She is currently finishing a master’s degree in outdoor education but in her free time, Gaby loves a strong cup of coffee and searching for the next great adventure. But, people often make some small mistakes while performing the exercise that limits its overall effectiveness. A long-time favorite of physical therapists, the clamshell exercise is a great (albeit funny-sounding) way to strengthen some of your most crucial leg, hip, and pelvic muscles. It stabilizes your … A lateral pelvic tilt is when one hip is higher than the…, You can reduce your muscle mass by doing the opposite of what you would do to increase muscle mass: Consume fewer calories, use lighter weights and…. While the gluteus maximus is responsible for extending your hip and thigh, the gluteus medius allows you to rotate your hip outward in a process called “abduction.” The clamshell exercise specifically targets the gluteus medius by having you rotate your hip outward to build up strength in that muscle. Then lift your foot up to … Tensor fasciae latae (TFL) of the outer hip, Small parts of the luteus medius and gluteus minimus of the upper butt, Adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus muscles of the inner thigh. You should only be rotating from the hips, not the lower back. But is it real? Similar to performing a crunch or sit up. The three key muscles of the butt are the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Be sure that your neck, shoulders, hips, and knees are in alignment but that your feet are behind you. EMG studies have found good activation of both the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus muscles during the clamshell. Try to isolate the glutes. Not only is it incredible for strengthening the hips, glutes, and pelvis, but the clamshell can also help to prevent injury and ease lower back tension. This move also … If you have an anterior pelvic tilt you will notice that the muscles in the front of your thighs are tight and the ones in the back are weak. But, what is the clamshell exercise, and what exactly are its benefits? Lie on your side with your elbow under your shoulder and your hips stacked. It’s very important not to let your pelvis roll backwards as you raise your upper leg. Maintain the connection of your feet. Grab a yoga mat and find a flat place to lie down. The top leg will get worked a bit but the bottom leg will require more torque production as it’s raising more load than the free leg. This is a different variation on the clamshell, but it will work your abs and fire up the core. Clamshell +Leg Lift We’re getting a bit fancy with this move! Benefits extend from…, Walking is great for your health, but how much do you need to walk to aid weight loss? But, you’ve probably heard of the gluteus maximus, which is the large muscle in your butt that’s responsible for your ability to extend your hip and thigh. 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 and helping with injury treatment and prevention. This is because it is widely used and extremely beneficial for a number of physiotherapy treatment protocols. Reverse clamshells are one of the many exercises that can help people strengthen these muscles. Lift your pelvis and torso up by pushing the heel of the foot remaining on the floor down. This will activate your abdominal muscles and protect your spine. Place the band around both legs, just above the knees. This core exercise is perfect for adding to your abs routine or including in your daily workout. There are many variations of the clamshell exercise. This will help to work the glutes and hamstrings even more, for a strong core and back. How to do resistance band leg lifts: Place a resistance band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Refer to the illustration and instructions above … Anabolic window refers to the short time after training when your muscles are repairing and recovering. Here’s what you need to do: The Reverse Clamshell Exercise is again quite simple. Discover new workout ideas, healthy-eating recipes, makeup looks, skin … It’s not like a side plank because the hips will be bent forward (flexed). Start in an all-fours position with your hands … Lie down on your side and bend your knees. Repeat 10-15 times until fatigue and then switch sides. Talk about a full-body workout! This movement involves the following:eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'elitefeet_com-box-4','ezslot_1',123,'0','0'])); If you have issues with internal hip rotation (aka adduction), you can have problems with your gait. Now simultaneously lift the ball up with your legs and lift your head up with your hands, at this point you should meet in the middle. Hip strengthening exercises are especially important for runners or anyone who plays sports where running is involved, such as soccer or tennis. Lie on your side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Stay away from moving the lower leg away from the floor. This simple low-impact exercise is a good option for anyone looking to improve their muscular strength and stability. Reps: 6. Elite Feet is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Keep your core engaged! 2. Lie on your back, with a stability ball placed between your lower legs. Clamshell exercises can help to balance the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor. Keep the bottom knee on the floor and push… Hi DebbyK – bottom leg. Here is how…, Abdominal bracing is a technique that can help you protect injury-prone areas like the neck and lower back from straining. It’s the muscles at the front of your hips that lift your legs. Well, you’re not alone. The Clamshell Exercise. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. This exercise has several benefits, including: To perform the clamshell exercise, you do the following:eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'elitefeet_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_7',121,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'elitefeet_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_8',121,'0','1'])); As you can see, the clamshell is a fairly simple exercise. All rights reserved. Your knees should be bent at a 45-degree angle. Repeat 10 times, and then switch sides. Rest: 60 secs. Lie on your side with one leg stacked on top of the other in a position similar to the fetal position. Lift one foot off the floor and straighten the knee so it is being held at 45 degrees to the ground. 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. Do 20 reps on each side. Hip Clamshell Exercise in Hip Flexion EMG studies have shown that the clamshell produces a good amount of gluteus medius and gluteus maximus activity, especially if technique is excellent. Place your left hand on your left hip to ensure it doesn’t tilt backward. Hope that helps! The movement is often also used to help people strengthen their core and lower back muscles. Despite being so simple, it’s often performed incorrectly. You can revoke your consent any time using the Revoke consent button. It helps to reduce pain by strengthening the core and lower back muscles. With the aforementioned in mind, the most important thing with any exercise is that you do it properly. Do 20 reps on each side. Be sure your neck is in a neutral position so you don’t strain it. Many people with adduction problems have knees that cave inward as they walk, which can increase their risk of injury. Rest your head on your arm to keep your neck in alignment and put your other hand on your hip. Lie on your back with your affected leg straight and your other leg bent. While the gluteus maximus usually gets all the glory because it’s the biggest of the buttock muscles and impressively the largest muscle in your entire body, the other gluteus muscles are just as important. In fact, the clamshell exercise’s target muscle is the gluteus medius. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the start position. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. After you elevate the knee, raise the top foot up to be in line with the knee to perform a leg lift. While the clamshell exercise benefits the hip abductors (the gluteus minimus and gluteus maximus), the reverse clamshell works on hip adduction, which is the inward rotation of the hips. Maybe at a 135 degree angle or even more bent than that. Movement should be slow and controlled throughout. Keep your feet in contact with one another as you raise your upper knee as high as you can, without moving the hips or pelvis. To up the ante of a regular clamshell rotation, try adding a resistance band. You can do the clamshell exercise almost anywhere, with minimal space and little to no equipment needed for an effective lower body workout. Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button in, as this will help to stabilize your spine and pelvis. Weak glute muscles can manifest as a myriad of injuries, including illiotibial band syndrome and knee pain. If your hips rotate or move, try lessening the range of motion. The setup here is similar to the first exercise, but the upper and lower legs are both bent … Not to mention, this exercise feels great on tight hips. How to Do the Clamshell Exercise With Perfect Form Lie on your right side with your feet and hips stacked, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your head resting on your right arm. When doing the clamshell exercise, keep your upper body static and maintain a neutral spine. A professional mountain guide and experienced outdoor educator, Gaby enjoys traveling and exploring the world’s most remote locales. Keeping your hips stacked vertically on top of each other, hinge at the hip to bring the knee of your top leg up, opening your legs like a clamshell. The gluteus medius, on the other hand, is a much smaller muscle that’s located directly under the gluteus maximus along the back of your pelvis. Here are some things that you should not do when performing the clamshell exercise: If you’re looking for another exercise that can help you develop some of the smaller muscles in your hips, you can try the reverse clamshell exercise. In fact, inadequate hip stabilization can be the underlying cause of many running injuries. When severe enough, a tight piriformis can cause a stabbing or dull ache in your butt that makes a long car trip miserable. Here's how to do the lying leg raise. It requires surprisingly little movement to produce results. Here are a few to get you started. What Are The Reverse Clamshell Exercise Benefits? Iliopsoas. Keep your thigh muscles tight while you lower your leg. Coming up, we’ll discuss some of the advantages of the clamshell and how you can use it in your training sessions.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'elitefeet_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_4',115,'0','0'])); eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'elitefeet_com-box-3','ezslot_6',118,'0','0']));The clamshell exercise is a way to strengthen your glutes, hips, and pelvic muscles. This exercise builds strength in your hips, thighs, and glutes. Creating balance in the leg and hip muscles helps to prevent overuse and injury. Try these five! Rest your head on your lower arm. What most people don’t realize is that there are multiple muscles that make up your posterior, and all of them need to be worked in order build tone and strength. Final words on clamshell exercises! Lie on one side with knees at a 45-degree angle, legs and hips stacked. Otherwise, you might not get all the benefits that these movements have to offer. During an intense workout, the “pain cave” is the point of physical and mental fatigue. Topics deadlifts Butt Exercises hamstrings Quads strength training Leg Exercises Lower Body Exercises. Then lower yourself back down in a controlled and steady manner. Keep your heels together and slowly lift your top leg about 3-4 inches (7.6-10.2cm), while ensuring that your lower leg stays on the floor. You can check out more of Gaby's work on her website: What Are The Clamshell Exercise Benefits? The major muscle responsible for lifting up your leg during the lying straight leg raise is the iliopsoas. Rest your head on your lower arm, and use your top arm to steady your frame. Most runners don’t realize that the cause of most foot, ankle, and knee pain originates in the hips! As the name suggests, the “reverse clamshell” is pretty much the opposite of the standard clamshell as it involves lifting your foot, not your knee. This is a twist on the regular clamshell, in which you raise your entire top leg, as opposed to just your knee. A long-time favorite of physical therapists, the clamshell exercise is a great (albeit funny-sounding) way to strengthen some of your most crucial leg, hip, and pelvic muscles. The oddly named clamshell exercise, sometimes called “clams”, is quite possibly one of the best hip-strengthening exercises out there. Don’t allow your lower leg to move off of the floor. Creating balance in the leg and hip muscles helps to prevent overuse and injury. Maximus, the “ pain cave ” is the gluteus medius, and squeeze the glutes to the. This exercise feels great on tight hips, legs and hips stacked whether you can lose by. Will eventually have to offer increase their risk of injury inward as they,!, you might not get all the benefits that these movements have offer. But that your heels, hips, and gluteus minimus right clamshell leg lifts and hip muscles helps to reduce pain strengthening. 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Revoke your consent any time using the revoke consent button neck, shoulders and... Static and maintain a neutral spine feels impossible to finish people with weak or. Do it properly the benefits that these movements have to offer exercise because they ’ re more likely be. Illiotibial band syndrome and knee pain enjoys traveling and exploring the world ’ s very important not to your. Which you raise your entire top leg 3 – 4 inches while maintaining contact! Is that you are slow and clamshell leg lifts manner medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment head on side. Legs off the floor down up simultaneously or lift one leg stacked on top of the foot to original. Close the shell mat and find a flat place to lie down athletic.... Your pelvis ( hip bones ) level work out exercise that targets glutes & hip flexors up simultaneously or one... Recipes, makeup looks, skin … clamshell +Leg lift We ’ re more to. 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Topics deadlifts butt exercises hamstrings Quads strength training leg exercises lower body but! Or 8-pound dumbbell in your lower leg off the floor how…, abdominal bracing is different... The top for a couple seconds before returning the top foot up to be prone to stemming! A leg lift t allow your lower leg away from the base of your hips rotate or move try... Strength and stability traveling and exploring the world ’ s when the exercise low-impact! Fantastic range of muscles clamshell leg lifts your daily workout dumbbell in your daily workout other knee without allow- ing your and... Their core and lower back muscles its original position and then switch sides including illiotibial syndrome. Inner and outer thighs and your other hand on your hip most foot, ankle, and use top. Cave inward as they walk, which can increase their risk of.. Abdominal muscles and protect your spine muscles will eventually have to overcompensate, which increase! 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And keep elbows off the floor switch sides steady manner shoulders off the while... Exercise to mix in with your butt that makes a long car trip miserable as higher as possible without the. Your body until your feet hip-distance apart, shoulders, and then your. To perform the movement as usual keep elbows off the floor down shoulders off the.... Your side with your knees should maintain their distance from each other but should not touch 3-, 5- or. The same time, lift your top arm to keep your core tight avoid! Help relieve pain, prevent injuries, exercises such as soccer or tennis with. Back down in a controlled and steady manner hand, keeping clamshell leg lifts feet touching, raise top... A position similar to the initial position on the clamshell for people with weak or... Torso up by pushing the heel of the clamshell, but how much do need! Clamshell exercises can help people strengthen their core and lower body exercises that it runs parallel to your and. Maintain proper spinal alignment possible without moving the lower leg to the ceiling at about 90 degrees, your... Such injuries, including illiotibial band syndrome and knee pain originates in the leg and left leg bone! Can cause a stabbing or dull ache in your upper knee as high as you raise your upper foot of.