Clam, side-​lying

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The Clam also known as the Oyster, is a side-​lying bent leg raise

What it’s good for Strengthens the outside-​hip muscles and helps to keep hip bones strong. Everyday bene­fits include:

  • Crucial for proper walk­ing
  • Helps you step safely side­ways to get out of the way in a hurry, without fall­ing over
  • Helps to pad and pro­tect your hip bones
How often to do it Daily
Equipment you’ll need A mat, rug, towel or any­thing else you can lie on com­fort­ably on the floor
A cush­ion or two to pad any bony bits that are uncom­fort­able when you lie on your side

side-lying with knees bent in front at start of clam exercisesode-lying with top knee open for clam exercise

  • Lie on one side with your hips, knees and feet neatly stacked, and nees bent, so they’re pulled in towards you in a com­fo­trable pos­i­tion
  • Rest your top arm in front of you, using the hand to help steady your bal­ance
  • Keeping the edges of your feet firmly glued together, open up your top knee as far as it will go without mak­ing any­thing else move – espe­cially your pel­vis /​hips. Your top hip must stay still
  • You should feel a squeeze as the outer-​hip muscle con­tracts to work
  • Hold this squeeze for a count of 5, then gently close the knee
  • Rest a moment then repeat

Aim to do 10 open­ings on one side, then turn over and repeat on the other side

♦ If you are very new to exer­cise, this is one that can pro­duce an intense “burn­ing” sen­sa­tion in the muscle. Don’t worry! The feel­ing will go within seconds and over the days and weeks will prob­ably fade alto­gether

Cannot do this at all? If you are find­ing this impossible, try the seated hip wrap instead.

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

Once you can do this, you need to make the exer­cise a bit harder to con­tinue strength­en­ing your muscles. Firstly, add another set of 10 to your daily routine. Then move on to these other exer­cises in order of dif­fi­culty below.

The pro­gres­sions

1. Change pos­i­tion of knees
side-lying with bent knees and feet behind for start of clamside-lying with feet behind and top knee open for clamKeeping your legs stacked, draw your bent knees down and your feet dir­ectly behind your body until your knees and thighs make a straight line with the rest of your body. Your lower legs and feet should be at a right ankle behind you. If you can com­fort­ably achieve this pos­i­tion, you should feel a more intense effect on the tar­geted muscle when you do your 10 repeats

2. Bent leg lift, lying
side-lying, knees bent, lifting top legSame start­ing pos­i­tion, but this time lift the whole of the top bent leg up to hip height (ie, a few cen­ti­metres) and hold it steady for a count of 5. Return care­fully, rest for a second, then repeat up to 10 times. Turn over and do the other leg.

3. Straight leg raise, lying
Click here for instruc­tions

4. Side leg lifts, stand­ing
Click here for instruc­tions

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