Why You Should Add The Clamshell Exercise To Your Workout Routine

Flashy fitness moves get the most recognition. For example, squats, burpees, and bicep curls are all recognizable exercises that help you break a sweat. However, sometimes the subtlest exercises can be the most impactful. If you're looking to burn your glutes and strengthen your hips, the clamshell exercise is one you need to start incorporating, whether you're beginning your fitness journey or have been down the path for many years.

As the name suggests, the clamshell exercise is named for the way your legs and hips move, resembling a clamshell opening and closing. Simply lay on your side with your legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle then raise your upper thigh as high as it can go without moving your hips, pelvis, or lower leg, according to Healthline. It's an incredibly simple exercise that can be done anywhere without going to the gym. But why should you add the clamshell exercise to your workout routine in the first place?

The clamshell exercise strengthens hips and builds glutes

Despite the glutes being part of your lower body, many lower body exercises do not directly target the glutes. For example, the squat, one of the most recognizable and best lower-body exercises, primarily targets the quads despite the entire lower body being involved, according to Muscle & Fitness. That's where the clamshell exercise comes in. Done properly, the exercise forces the glutes to activate, directly targeting them, according to Shape.

The clamshell exercise is also a great exercise to help with injury prevention and hip strengthening. A 2013 study from the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy showed that people who incorporated the clamshell exercise into their workout routine had fewer injuries and back pain compared to those who didn't perform the exercise. It's a very common exercise in physical therapy sessions to help people come back from an injury or surgery. It can be incorporated into your routine every single day as a warm-up or by itself (via Shape).

The clamshell exercise is especially helpful for runners

Anyone who is able to lay on the floor is able to perform the clamshell exercise and will benefit from it. However, runners will find it especially helpful. One of the most common running injuries is hip injuries, such as lateral hip pain, groin pain, stress fractures in your femur, and collagen breakdown in the tendon, among others, according to Canadian Running. And hip injuries can lead to even more injuries down the road in your knee or foot.

The clamshell exercise can help prevent these injuries by strengthening your hips and creating better hip stabilization and balance between the glutes, pelvic floor, and thighs, according to Healthline. Try starting with two to three sets of 15 clamshells for each side of your body as part of your warm-up before your run, according to MileSplit. This will ensure that you do clamshells before every run, bringing heat to your hips and making them less prone to injury.