We’re back w/ another foundational exercise of the week.  This week we want to talk about the clam shell.  This is a great isolation exercise for one specific glute muscle.  We don’t always isolate muscles, but isolation exercises definitely serve a purpose.

So how does isolating a muscle within the hip effect back pain or knee pain?

We’re big believers in treating the joint above or below the site of pain.  That means if your low back or knee hurts, you should probably look into the hips.  This is one of the most common things we see other fitness professionals or therapists get it wrong.  Since the low back is in pain, many people are quick to look at the low back for the solution.  Sure, we assess the low back to check for proper function, but more often than not, we’ll see that low back pain stemming from either a hip dysfunction, or a thoracic spine (upper back) dysfunction.

Looking at the body as a whole is HUGE!  That’s one of the reasons why we screen and assess everyone when they walk through the door.  We want to ensure we’re providing the right type of exercises to elicit the best results.

Coming back to low back or knee pain, we will most certainly be looking at the hip.  More often than not, the hips will be the culprit.  So our foundational exercise this week is the clam shell.  The clam shell will help give the glute medius strength and stability.  The glute medius is one of our prime muscles that will help control the stability of the hips in the frontal plane, or moving from side to side.  If we get too much movement from side to side, you can start to pay the toll with symptoms like low back pain, knee pain, or possibly hip bursitis.  There are several other symptoms that can stem from poor hip stability, but these are some common things we see in the gym on a daily basis.

If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms, check out the video on the clam shell.  Start to strengthen the hips and you may notice a difference fairly quickly.  We always recommend getting an assessment done from a professional; however, if you’ve been following our foundational exercises each week, you may just reduce some of your symptoms by getting good at simple, effective exercises.  Give it shot and let us know how you’re doing.


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