External hip rotations

The clam is a simple exercise you can do at home to strengthen the gluteus medius – the medium buttock muscle lays beneath the gluteus maximus.

Doing this exercise will result in a better pelvic stability when rotating the leg inward or outward. A better pelvic stability will help to reduce lower back pain, and prevent or recover from an injury. In fact, this exercise is often used in physiotherapy to help with back pain and sciatica.

Hip strengthening exercises are especially important for runners, or anyone playing sport in which running is involved. That’s because weak hips are responsible for many running injuries. And doing an exercise like the clam might help create balance between the thighs, glutes, and pelvic floor.

Exercise Video

How to do

  1. Lie in your side with hips and shoulders in a straight line, and legs on top of each other, and knees bended. Rest your head on your arm.
  2. Keep the big toes together while slowly rotating the hip, so the knee raises up. Make sure to keep the hips stable and don’t rotate them.
  3. Slowly bring the knee down to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the switch sides.

  5. You can make this exercise more difficult by incorporating a resistance band around your knees. Or by putting an ankle weight around the top knee.

    Squeeze clam Another way to make this exercise more challenging is to put a pillow between your knees, while returning the knee down, gently squeeze the pillow with the knees.

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