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Never heard of clamshells? It is one of the best ways to strengthen and add stability to your lower body.
Keywords: clamshells, clamshell exercise
You know what a good workout entails, right? Stretching, leg press, squats … clamshells?
What exactly is the clamshell exercise?
Clamshell exercise is perhaps the least known of all types of exercises but as it adds strength and stability to your hip, thighs, and pelvic region, it is one of the must-do exercises. The clamshell exercise gets its name due to the resemblance of your body to a clam shell while you do it. Since it strengthens your hips and tones your glutes, clamshell are an essential part of Pilates classes and physical therapy. But as the world practices social distancing and going to the gym is no longer an option, you can try clamshell exercises at home with no equipment and in very little space. Read on to find out more about clamshells and why it is good for you.
Clamshells – The Basic Technique with Resistance Band
- As you begin with clamshells, start by lying on your side. Make sure your legs are stacked and knees are bent at an angle of 45o.
- Place your head on your lower arm (your head should be on the palm). Place your other arm on your side at the waist. This is called the clamshell position.
- Stabilize your spine and pelvis by pulling in your belly button.
- Both your hipbones and your feet should be stacked.
- Place a resistance band slightly above your knees.
- With one of your feet at the ground, stretch your upper leg and raise your knee without lifting your feet.
- Pause and repeat 20 times.
- Now change sides and lie down in the same position and do the same repetitions 20 times.
For a more challenging clamshell exercise, you can continue to add resistance in multiple ways. With the normal clamshell position, you can add weight to the top of your thigh or knee along with a resistance band.
Now move your leg up and down. Add weight gradually as it will add resistance to your movement. For more advanced glutes exercise, you can also use light weight on your ankle and progress the exercise to sideline lifts. During this exercise, you don’t have to add weight on your thighs.
Why is Clamshells Good for You?
While clamshells are known for strengthening hips, thigh and pelvic muscles, it has numerous other benefits which are relatively not known.
An Excellent Warm-Up Exercise
Clamshell exercise acts as an excellent warm up because it improves the functioning of the central nervous system. As a result, it allows you to perform more complicated functional exercises. It also prepares your body to participate in more strenuous sports.
The basic clamshell exercise strengthens the core, hip and thigh muscles however, adding resistance can do wonders. As you repeat the exercise with resistance, your hips and thighs will fatigue but the strength you gain will help you in the long run.
Great for Your Knees
The strengthening exercise is not just great for your hips, thigh and pelvic muscles but is great for your knees as well. As you stretch and externally rotate your glutes with the support of your knees, you not get your muscles working but also ease knee pain.
Clamshell exercises is one of the best ways to strengthen and add stability to your lower body. It is also excellent for people with knee pain. However, in order to get the most out of this exercise, it must be performed with the right technique. It is very common to make mistakes as you perform the clamshells. One of the best ways to find out whether you are doing it right or not is to keep a check on the fatigue. If you perform clamshells and are unable to feel significant muscular fatigue, chances are that you might be doing it wrong. But if you perform the basic technique and do it right, you will feel muscle fatigue in your thighs and hips.
In these testing times when the options to perform outdoor activities are limited, clamshells are one of the best ways of staying active, fit, and safe at home.