Pilates exercises – The Clam

What does the clam do?

Clam exercise is a pilates exercise that aims to strengthen the hip abductors, primarily the posterior fibres of glute medius muscle.

The clam is often taught as an exercise for individuals with low back pain and hip pathologies.


Lying on your side, arm outstretches in alignment with your body. Bend your hips approximately 45 degrees and knees bent to approximately 90 degrees. Keep your hips and shoulders stacked on top of each other. Drawer your hip downwards away from your top shoulder. Then lift your top knee upwards.

Video – how to do a clam exercise:

Variations and progressions of the clam

Pilates-exercise-Raised leg clam
  • Raise feet
  • Feet raised extent the knee.
  • Drop knee over – level 3 clam

Top tips

  • If you are struggling to feel your glutes working, push your heels together whilst you raise your knee.
  • Again if you are feeling the exercise working too far down your leg or above your hip (you are aiming to feel the muscle working around the side of your bottom) you may need to adjust the position by bending or straightening your knees.

If you are unsure whether this exercise is suitable for you, you should always seek professional medical advice.

See more Pilates exercises

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