Everything You Need to Know About the Clamshell Exercise + VIDEO

Squats? Deadlifts? Lunges? They’re all amazing...but we’re all about the clamshell exercise. And no, I don’t mean the shellfish. Find out how to clamshell and boost those glutes. ?

how to do a clamshell

Chances are you’ve raised an eyebrow or two.

The clamshell does not require any equipment, although this can be added if desired. All you need is a small area with a comfortable place to lie down and of course, yourself!

Before we get into how to perform this exercise, let’s talk about its benefits.

Did you know, there are three gluteal muscles? Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus. The three muscleteers join together and allow you to manoeuvre. It’s a fact of life that keeping your hips moving puts less force on your lower back. Your back is not made for bending consistently, it’s there for stability. If you don’t move your hips, your back suffers the consequences! This is where the clamshell exercise comes into play, as it focuses on both hip mobility AND strengthens the Gluteus Medius (the outside of your bum).

  • Build your glutes
  • Unlock their potential
  • Move, move, move!

Correct form is key in all exercises. You could perform 101 clamshells with the incorrect form, or 20 reps with the correct form, and the correct form would win everytime. Quality over quantity.

Stick on your Bum Shaping Leggings and let’s do the clamshell.


…Because it gives you equilibrium between the leg and hip muscles, which in turn, lessens the chance of sustaining injury. This is particularly important for athletes, such as runners or joggers, or anyone engaging in physical activities, like a game of football or a rugby match. What none of us appreciate, is that most sports people suffering from foot, ankle or knee injuries, can most likely attribute the source to the condition of the hips. #fact

Of all the exercises offered for knee injuries, clamshell exercises are the most favoured, due to their healing properties.

Stiff hips? Do the clamshell. Knee pain? Do the clamshell. Want a new go-to? Do the clamshell.

Here’s how to do the clamshell

  1. Find a comfortable position on the floor, on your side, place your legs one above the other and bend your knees.
  2. With your head resting on your lower arm, use your upper arm to balance your body. Ensure your hip bones are poised on top of each other, because there is a risk that the top hip will sway backwards, and this would be incorrect form.
  3. Activate your core by sucking in your stomach to steady your pelvis and back.
  4. With feet touching and without moving your hips or pelvis, lift your upper knee as far as you are able. Keep your lower leg on the floor at all times.
  5. Hold momentarily, lower your upper leg to your starting position and repeat. Complete 20 reps per leg.

See the clamshell in action below:

You can upgrade the clamshell by introducing resistance bands for that extra push. Your glutes and hamstrings will thank you for working them even harder and repay you with a strong core and back. Everyone’s a winner! It’s super easy. Just pop the band around both thighs (slightly above the knee) and you’re in business. Repeat steps 1 to 5, again completing 20 reps per leg.

Why not add some weight to challenge yourself? It’s a well known fact that introducing weight to your workout increases muscle endurance, creating a more toned physique. Dumbbells are perfect for this. Use between 1kg and 5kg. Simply lie down as before, but this time, with a dumbbell in your upper hand, placed on the outside of your hip. Raise your hips off the ground, balancing yourself on your lower elbow and knee. Tighten your core. With your feet together, raise your upper knee to the top. Complete 20 reps per leg.

The clamshell exercise should not be used in isolation. To build good glutes, you must incorporate other glute-focused exercises into your regime. Examples include:

  • Jumping squats – Complete 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
  • Weighted squats – Complete 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Weighted step ups onto a platform (chair/bench) – Complete 3 sets of 12 reps per leg, you can stop at 10 if this is too much.
  • Donkey kicks – Complete 15 reps on each leg for 3 sets
  • Glute bridges – Complete 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps

Classes are a great way to discover new workout routines and meet people who share similar goals. Barre, Indoor Cycling, Legs, Bums and Tums and HiiT will kickstart your journey to glute goals.

Did you know?… The clamshell exercise is highly recommended to reduce the appearance of hip-dips. Well, I’ll be clammed!

Oh and don’t forget to look good whilst doing them! We think you’d like our ruched bum leggings range…


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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