At The Core Of It Four: Exercise Highlight- Clamshells

*note: post contains some affiliate links, all are products I personally have used/use

This is the fourth post in a series called At The Core Of It, you can find the others here: 1, 2 & 3

Boom Chicka Boom

Note, adorable baby that has nothing to do with this post.

Harper in stroller

Pushing this meatball on my runs also helps my weak-a… glutes.

When you say clamshells I think of Hawaiian belly dancers in grass skirts and clamshell bras swaying.

But these seriously under-rated and deceptively simple exercises are actually a hidden glute building gem.

Most of us with weak glutes (yes even me) struggle with something called glute activation.

Runner’s world does a great article on “Hibernating Heinies” that talks about glute activation.

There are several good glute activators, including the traditional donkey kicks and glute kickbacks (these are made better using resistance bands or small dumbbells). Today I want to look at the clamshell.

Gotta love these names right?

Clamshells are exactly how they sound. You get on your side and make a clam with your legs stacked and angled and you open and close.

Oversimplified, I’ll get into the meat of that clam in just a second.

Clamshells strengthen your hip flexors, more to the point:

  • The gluteus medius is the main abductor and external rotator of the hip.
  • The gluteus maximus extends the hip and assists with abduction and external rotation.

Strong hip flexors = LESS knee borne injuries while running (IT band syndrome, patellofemoral pain syndrome etc).

How do you clam?

Here is a great YouTube video that breaks it down. From here you can do several variations of the clamshell to work different parts of the flexors. Do not forget to do the same on BOTH sides.


GLUTES ACTIVATE! (makes light saber noise)

Do you clamshell? What are some of your go to glute exercises? Do you struggle with weak glutes?



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