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The Band Side Lying Clam

By September 14, 2013January 14th, 2014Glute Training

The side lying clam is a nice little glute exercise. When examining EMG activation, it elicits approximately 77% of MVC for the glute medius and 53% of MVC for glute maximus (click HERE to download a decent review paper on simple activation and rehab exercises for the glutes, but be aware that the authors erroneously compared studies that utilized different MVC positions and failed to mention the effects that ROM and position have on gluteal activity). However, you can ramp up muscle activation in this exercise by utilizing a band.

Band Side Lying Clam

I like the banded side lying clam for several reasons:

  1. Strengthening the glutes as horizontal (transverse) plane abductors,
  2. Inducing metabolic stress (attaining a pump/burn), and
  3. Adding additional training volume without taxing the CNS (central nervous system).

Here is a video where I show you how I have my clients perform the movement. However, I recommend that you tinker around including experimenting with different amounts of hip flexion to determine the position that you feel works your glutes the best.

Give it a try and see if you like it!


  • E says:

    LOVE banded clams. We do clams in the beginning of our group warm ups, right after glute bridges and marches and then we may do them again right before our strength work, banded or not (client’s choice.) If not clams, bird dogs, fire hydrants, x-band walks, mini-band walks – basically some type of glute activation exercise to get those glutes fired up! 😉


  • Naomi says:

    Bret, what bands do you recommend for this and the side step x-walk? Is it all the same band?

  • Orchide says:

    Bret, can one do these in addition to their daily training session(full body workout)? I like to do glute activation exercise at night even when I’ve done a workout earlier during the day, but always afraid of overtraining, which I don’t know if that is a real or not, at least not likely for someone with a desk job.

  • Joe Miller says:

    I do these as part of my patellofemoral pain syndrome rehab between weight lifting days, and in the evenings on my weight lifting days (use a combo of side lying band clam, one leg glute bridge, and side lying leg lift (straight leg). I love them — 3 sets of 20 with the PowerSystems short gray band and I can feel the burn.

  • Randy says:

    Is seated adductor, the selectorize one common in many gyms, a suitable substitute? If not, why?

    Thank you.

  • Luke says:

    I’ve noticed if one glute is “smaller” or less activated doing some extra one-leg bridges or hip thrusts with opposite leg up and band as in clam shell is good 🙂 plank with band and glute activation is also great!

  • Chris B. says:

    You can also stick a block or something under your feet so that you’re starting in a more internally rotated position.

  • Matt Simmons says:

    Interesting excise. Just wish more gyms had bands…

  • Rose says:

    Hi there. Love your articles and this is a great exercise. However, i think this a Pilates exercise orginally right? If so, dont you think Pilates should get some credit for it in the article? Pilates gets some stick from gym bunnies (mainly for the false stereotype of being easy) but personally i think it has a place in fitness and, as the use of this exercise in your article shows, there are some brilliant beneficial Pilates exercises.

  • nigel says:

    what tips can you offer for someone that is overactive in TFL and keeps firing thru TFL rather than a good activation of glute med.

  • Athena says:

    Hello Bret, I am humble physiotherapy student and lack 1 1/2 year of my study. I live in Copenhagen. I love your blog, really. It´s really interesting. And glutes are a big subject often as you say misunderstood, what is right training what is wrong etc. Now I have a question. A queestion about restitution. As I say I am very humble about my knowledge but we are teached at school or in general to remember restitution time. So how can I get strong glute if I stress them every day (or 5 times a week)?? I thank you in advance or your response.

  • Athena says:

    Another little question, in that fantastiscal article that you shared: they talk about front plank with hip extention as being a very good exercice for glut max. But they don´t say how many degree of hip extention you have to do?

  • Athena says:

    * and if the knee is bent or not.
    thanks in advance for your response

  • Athena says:

    And if you have a client with bad scapula/shoulder, core stability what exercice would you do instead? Thanks

  • Jhavia says:

    Is this exercise effective without the band?

  • Julia says:

    Hey Bret,
    What colour band do you recommend training with? I would say I’m at intermediate level.

  • Lauren says:

    I have a problem keeping my feet on the floor for side lying claim. I feel like I can’t hit a full ROM. Is it acceptable to lift one’s feet, keeping the lower knee on the floor, while doing this exercise?

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