The most famous leg and hip exercises are leg presses, lunges, and squats. These exercises undoubtedly hit hard on your muscles and give you the much-desired shape and strength. But there is one exercise that is less known but deserves to be in your workout - the clamshells. 

What Is Clamshell Exercise?

Clamshell is a leg and hip strengthening exercise that is relatively easy to perform than its alternative exercises like squats and leg presses. Along with hip and leg muscles, clamshells also tone your glutes and stabilize your pelvic muscles. 

Physical therapists often suggest their patients this exercise for beginners to treat back pain and sciatica. It can effectively reduce back pain by making your lower back and core muscles strong. 

The best part about clamshells is how easy this exercise is. You do not require much space or any equipment to perform this effective lower body exercise. There are also a number of variations of this exercise such as the seated clamshell exercise and resistance band clamshell. 

Clam Shell Exercise Benefits 

Mere knowing what is clamshell exercise is is not enough to nudge you to do the exercise. You also need to know various clamshell benefits to stick to the workout. Here is a list of the important clam shell exercise benefits:

  • Prevents Injury: Back injuries happen when your muscles are not strong enough. One easy way to prevent yourself from injuries is by doing exercise that will help you strengthen back muscles. Clamshell exercise can not only strengthen your back but ease lower back tension.¬†
  • Tones Your Lower Half: Gym goers know how hard it can be to tone, tighten, and lift your lower half. Even if they try some exercises for that, they fail to hit multiple muscles that make up the posterior. This is where clam shells exercise can help. Clam exercise for glutes can target your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus to build strong and big butts.¬†
  • Works On Your Thighs: One of the lesser-known clamshell benefits is that it can also work on your thighs. The exercise can balance the tension between your inner thighs and outer thighs, giving your thighs perfect strength and shape. Clamshell leg exercise variations like the seated clamshell exercise also give you the chance to strengthen your thighs without lying down on the floor.¬†

Clamshell Leg Exercise: How To Do It

Learning the right form of clam shells exercise is just a matter of minutes. Follow the below-mentioned step-by-step guide and you will master the side clamshell exercise soon:

  • Roll out a mat, lie down on the side, and stack your legs on each other.¬†
  • Bend your knees making an angle of 45 degrees.¬†
  • Place your head, on one hand, to rest it and place the other hand on the mat to support your body frame.¬†
  • Throughout the clamshell exercise, ensure that your hipbones are stacked because your top hip will tend to fall when you do the exercise.¬†
  • Now, tighten your abdominals to stabilize both pelvis and the spine.¬†
  • Raise your knee in the air that is on the upper side as high as you can.¬†
  • You have to ensure that you do not shift your pelvis or hips while raising the knee.¬†
  • Do not lift the lower leg along the upper leg.¬†
  • Pause for a few seconds and then return to the position where you started the exercise.¬†
  • Change the side, and do 20 reps of clamshell hip exercise.¬†

Clamshells Variations To Try At Home

If you get bored of doing the same exercises in your workout at home, you can try the following variations of clamshells:

  • Clamshell Exercise With Band

Doing exercises with resistance band as they stretch your muscles according to your comfort. This clamshell variation exercise works on your glutes, hamstrings, core, and back. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you practice clamshell exercise with band:

  1. Lied down on one side, place a resistance band around your legs, right above your knees. 
  2. Stack your legs and hips on top of each other and bend the knees making an angle of 45 degrees. 
  3. Stabilize your core by contracting your abdominal muscles, and raise your upper knee in the air as high as you can. 
  4. While raising the knee, your feet should be touching each other and your hips and pelvis should not move. 
  5. Do not lift the lower leg along the upper leg. 
  6. Pause for a few seconds and then return to the position where you started the exercise. 
  7. Change the side, and do 20 reps of this clamshell glute exercise variation with a resistance band. 
  • Reverse Clamshell Exercise

This clam exercise for glutes variation hits your hips, glutes, and outer thighs. All you need to do this exercise is softball. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you practice reverse clamshell exercise:

  1. Lie down on the floor with legs and hips stacked just like you do in a conventional clamshell exercise. 
  2. Place a softball between your thighs and squeeze it as hard as you can using your inner thighs. 
  3. Switch the sides and do reps of a reverse clamshell exercise. 

Precautions And Safety Tips

Here is a list of some precautions and safety tips to keep in mind while practising clamshell hip exercise:

  • Keep your neck in a neutral position while performing side clamshell exercise or you will end up straining it.¬†
  • Never rotate your body from the lower while performing the conventional clamshell glute exercise or its variations. Instead, you should be rotating your body from the hips.¬†
  • Engaging your core throughout the clamshell workout is important not just to activate your abdominal muscles but to also protect your spine.¬†


Clamshells and their variations like the reverse clamshell exercise are perfect for working on your core muscles,  glutes, and other muscles of your lower body. Since it is a low-impact exercise, you do not even have to worry about your flexibility or strength as a beginner. Just stick to the clamshell workout and expect to see the results soon. 

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December 31, 2021

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