A banded clamshell is an interesting and simple exercise that everyone needs to do. It primarily targets the hip flexors, glutes, groin, and outer thighs.
It helps in strengthening the hips and core as well as playing a therapeutical role in reducing back, hip, and knee pain.
It is for the bottom part of the body and most suitable for runners and people doing vigorous sports activities like soccer and tennis.
A resistance band is the only equipment you need to perform a clamshell exercise.
The resistance band should be placed at a convenient position and distance between the hip and the knee and adjusted to suit your needs for the banded clamshell exercise.
HOW TO DO BANDED CLAMSHELL
- Place your resistance band around your knees
- Lie on your left side with your feet and hips stacked. With your head resting on your left arm, bend your knees to a 90 degrees angle position.
- Place your right hand on your right hip to ensure it doesn’t move backward. This is going to be your starting position.
- With left knee firmly held onto the ground or floor, raise your right knee upwards as far as you can without rotating your hip.
- Hold (an open clamshell position) for about 1 second then slowly lower your right knee back to the starting position. This makes a complete cycle.
- Repeat these steps as many times as possible keeping in mind you are feeling comfortable.
- Finally, change and lie on your right side and repeat the procedure.
WHAT MUSCLES DO BANDED CLAMSHELL WORK?
Banded clamshell works to strengthen hips, core, and glutes by extension. These are body parts that play a key role in maintaining stability.
The muscles that banded clamshell targets therefore includes;
1. GLUTEUS MEDIUS
These are abductor muscles that constitute the outside edge of your buttocks and side of your hips. They offer hip stability, balance, and power.
2. GLUTEUS MAXIMUS
These are muscles that aid in your hip extension. They are responsible for tightening up your buts, giving them shape and strength.
The Quadriceps femoris works both as a hip flexor and a knee extensor.
It consists of four individual muscles; three vastus muscles and the rectus femoris which forms the thigh and collectively are one of the most powerful muscles in the body.
The hamstrings work towards stabilizing your lumbar spine, pelvis, and knees. These muscles work synergistically with the glutes.
BANDED CLAMSHELL BENEFITS
Banded clamshell is an exercise that can be performed anywhere. You don’t need to move to other places as it only requires a resistance band.
Besides that, it can be done any time even in breaks within your work schedule.
2. MUSCLE DEFINITION
Banded clamshell will shape, build and develop your muscles. If you are looking to tighten up your posterior, you should make this move a part of your workout routine.
3. HIP STRENGTHENING
As a general exercise, a banded clamshell can help strengthen your medial glutes, bringing more power and stability to your hips.
This can also translate to a decreased risk of injury throughout the entire lower body, greater stabilization in agility workouts, and more strength and power in your squat.
4. GLUTE ACTIVATION
If you are performing squats or deadlifts for strengthening glutes, do a couple of banded clamshells prior so as to activate your glutes. This will ensure that they are engaged and working as prime movers.
5. BURNING FAT
This exercise has proven useful in burning fat. It makes you more fit and active. It also strengthens your muscles for any future training like running or weight loss.
ALTERNATIVES TO BANDED CLAMSHELL
The exercises below works muscles similar to banded clamshell;
Lunges are an excellent exercise to strengthen the leg and hip muscles. You can perform lunges in a variety of ways, including forward, backward, and toward either side. The simplest is a forward lunge
Squats can work the muscles of your legs and engage the core at the same time. Squats will give you the added advantage of being very flexible, meaning you can adjust the intensity to fit your changing fitness need
3. SEATED HIP ABDUCTION
If you have access to a gym, look for the lever machine in which you can do seated hip abductions. The exercise works your outer thighs by offering resistance as you separate your legs.
4. GROIN STRETCH
The coordinated movement of these muscles helps in activities like walking, jumping, and side to side movements. A vigorous workout or an injury to the groin muscles causes pain and stiffness.
Yoga stretching and light exercises can help reduce pain and improve flexibility.
BANDED CLAMSHELL MISTAKES TO AVOID
- Pelvis pointing towards top leg
Ensure your hips and legs are stacked
- Pelvis rolls back as leg lifts
You should ensure pelvis remains at a fixed position
- Hiking top hip
You should support your top hip with your top hand so that it does not move in order to achieve better result.
- Pushing bottom leg down
This is likely to cause more tension. Maintain the bottom leg held on the ground without necessarily pushing it.
The beauty of banded clamshell exercise lies in its reward-to-risk ratio.
As you work towards achieving strength and muscular development, you will realize that many exercises are accompanied by the potential for injury.
Strong glutes, therefore, is essential for stable hips, and for protection from injury for the lower back and knees.
The banded clamshell is a great way to strengthen these muscles with nominal risk of injury.