Hello and welcome everyone to another edition of Fey Fitness! Today I am teaching you how to do a beginner level hip abduction and IT Band workout called a Banded Clam Shell. This exercise is named as such because when you are performing the movement your legs look like a clam shell opening and closing. Banded Clam Shells are amazing for improving leg mobility and reducing pain or stiffness in conditions such as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Also, this exercise is perfect for those of us with Atrial Fibrillation, as it will not spike our heart rate during the movements. Just be careful getting down onto the ground and back up again if you have severe AFib, or problems with your blood pressure. Remember, slow and steady wins the fitness race!
Why Do a Banded Clam Shell?
- The clam shell exercise really works the gluteus medius. This is the abductor muscle that forms the outside edge of your booty and outside of your hip. So by working and strengthening this muscle you are increasing the functionality of your hips and lower body, and also developing a more rounded booty- to me that’s a win-win!
- Your glutes (booty) are responsible for moving your hips and thighs, so these muscles need to be strong and healthy enough to provide functional and sport mobility. For example, climbing up and down stairs, getting in and out of chairs, or playing basketball.
- Also the gluteus maximus, a prime muscle for hip extension, gets a good workout from this movement. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, and the one most people are looking to shape and strengthen with the squat and deadlift. So just remember, strong glutes equal a shapely booty!
- And the IT Band, which is composed of elastic connective tissue called fascia, runs along the outside of the thigh from above the hip to below the knee. This tissue is very important because it allows the IT band to act like a giant spring to assist in walking, jumping or climbing.
How to Perform a Banded Clam Shell:
- Begin on the floor laying on your side with your hips, legs and feet stacked on top of one another and a band wrapped around your thighs between 2-3 inches above the knees.
- Bend the knees to approximately a 45-60 degree angle.
- Engage your core and keep your feet together as you raise the top thigh to the ceiling or sky slowly and in a controlled manner. Note: Keeping the feet together will create a hinge motion and your legs will resemble a clam opening up- hence the name.
- Hold this position for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering the leg back to the starting position.
- After 15-20 reps, roll over and perform this movement on the other leg.
- Repeat this motion for 15-20 reps and for 3 sets per leg.
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