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February 11, 2021

Glute + Core | Side Plank Clamshell Form Breakdown

From physical therapy clinics to fitpso booty band workouts, side plank clamshell variations are used across the health and fitness industry. And that’s for good reason.

If you’re going to do them, you might as well understand HOW, and WHY.

Clamshells can be done without the side plank piece. But the side plank addition gives us a few things:

  • Hip flexion and extension
  • Double, and loaded abduction
  • The core piece from the obliques in the side plank

See the cues and form breakdown via the video below

Side Plank Clamshell Form – great for core and glutes

Side Plank Clamshell Breakdown

Form – start with hips flexed (back), knees stacked, and inline with your shoulders. As you raise to the top of the side plank, press down into the floor with the bottom knee, while bringing the hips to extension AND raising the top leg (abduction). The feet stay together, as the legs open like…you guessed it, a clamshell.

It’s important to note that as you raise up, the bottom glute is loaded due to supporting the weight of your body. This is a progression from a normal clamshell.

Use – as stated in the intro, these can be used for THE MOST reasons. Just know that they target your gluteus medius (what gives the butt a “shelf” and rounds out the upper and outer parts of the glute from an aesthetic standpoint). Side plank clamshells can be used in a warm up, or as accessory work as well.

Progression – you could add a mini band around the knees here, added weight to the top leg, making it harder to abduct. Or you can hold a dumbbell or small weight plate on the top leg for a similar double loading effect. The band would add more resistance at the top, and less at the bottom.

Have you done clamshells before? Have questions? I am happy to help!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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