13. Side Lying Clams
Do you have tight IT bands? Most people do. And part of the reason is because of its originating muscle – the “tensor fascia lata (TFL)” – which resides at the top and side of your leg, just a few inches down from your hip bones.
One of the goals with glute training is to ensure you’re doing the best exercises that maximally activate your butt and NOT the TFL. Since these muscles are so close together, unless you have a solid understanding of anatomy it’s hard to tell one from the other.
But good news: a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy revealed that, along with quadruped hip extension and bridging, the “clam” is one of the best glute exercises for getting maximal gluteus medius activation with minimal TFL involvement. Booya!
Now, you might get some funny looks by others when you do this but who cares… they have no idea how beneficial this exercise is for strengthening your gluteus medius and minimus.
How to do it:
Lie on your left side. Rest your head on your left arm. Bend your hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other so your knees are stacked perfectly and your feet are aligned with your back. Now, float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another, then return. Repeat for required reps, then switch sides.