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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 6: Neutral Hip Clamshell

Updated: May 19

Purpose: To introduce Frontal Plane movement of the hip (with transverse plane influence) while maintaining a stable core and straight spine

What It Targets: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Hamstrings


  1. Lay on one side with your hips in line with your trunk, and your knees bent to about 90 degrees (Bridge position on your side)

  2. Maintain a neutral position of your lumbar spine, so avoiding any lumbar extension

  3. Tuck your pelvis and anchor your lower ribs towards your belly-button

  4. Activate your core through a forceful exhale or fake laugh

  5. Squeeze your glutes

  6. Squeeze your heels together and drive your bottom knee into the floor as you lift your top knee

  7. Pause for 2-3 seconds at the top, feeling it in your glutes (the side of your hip)

  8. Return your top knee back down slowly and with good control

  9. Repeat as prescribed, and repeat on the other side

Main Cues:

  • Trunk and thighs should be in a straight line the whole time

  • Glutes and core are firing the whole time

  • Feet stay together the whole time

  • Only the top knee is moving, and it won’t move very far

  • Lift up the top knee on the EXHALE

  • Lower the top knee on the INHALE

Common Compensations: This one is easy to mess up and is harder than it looks.

  • Pelvic rotation

Correction: Tuck the pelvis and squeeze the glutes throughout the entire exercise; don’t lift the knee as high

  • Felt in TFL (front side of hip) instead of glutes because hips are not in neutral flexion/extension

Correction: Bring knees back so thighs are in line with trunk

  • Felt in low back instead of glutes

Correction: Tuck the pelvis and squeeze the glutes more than it feels like you should from the very start

  • Feel an uncomfortable tugging in the top of the knee

Correction: Straighten knees a bit

Why We Love It:

  • Establishes a strong foundation for initiating frontal and transverse plane control via the glutes

  • Coordinates lumbopelvic control while initiating frontal plane hip movement

  • Promotes length in the quadriceps and hip flexors while maintaining proximal stability

  • Decreases the lever arm so the intended muscle fibers of the glutes have a better chance to activate

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

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