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Externally rotate the hip without extraneous movement using the clam

This is an excerpt from Total Control by The Women’s Health Foundation.


The Clam (Sidelying Hip External Rotation)

Purpose

To increase awareness of pelvic pyramid stability while strengthening the gluteus medius by externally rotating the hip without extraneous movement.

Starting Position

Equipment: Small ball

Lie on the side with the hips stacked and flexed 45°. The knees should be stacked and flexed to 90°. The heels should line up with the tailbone. Reach the top arm out in front slightly (use a small ball under the hand if available) to maintain a hip-stack position (a-b).

Execution

  1. Breathe normally. Energize the pelvic pyramid, then lift the top knee no higher than hip height or the point where the hips remain steady. The inside soles of the feet remain touching (c).
  2. Perform 20 reps × 1 set each side for the first 3 weeks, then × 2 sets each side if time permits (no faster than up for 2 seconds, down for 2 seconds).

Cueing Example

  • "Think of pushing against resistance (like pushing through mud). Think of a tight turn in the hip socket. Do not rock back on the hips - use the pelvic pyramid to stabilize. The activated TVA plays the biggest role in keeping the hips from moving back and forth."
  • Note that the reps should be performed like more of a continuum (less of a pause on direction change) than most other exercises.

Common Mistakes

  • Extraneous movement in the pelvis or lazy belly (lack of TVA engagement), which reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • In order for the gluteus medius to be strengthened, this exercise must be performed correctly; that is, without shifting in the hips.

Modifications

  • Reduce the number of reps.
  • Reduce the range of motion and pace of the exercise until the participant can stabilize the pelvic pyramid.

Read more from Total Control by The Women’s Health Foundation.



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