Strengthening the gluteus medius and hip stabilizing musculature is important for injury prevention and optimal performance. In many cases, the gluteus medius is weak or tends to give way to more dominant synergistic muscles (aka the tensor fascia lata). This exercise offers an isolated exercise to work the hip against gravity.
Begin in the side lying position with the right forearm positioned beneath the right shoulder. Place a pilates style ball between the knees and a resistance loop around the ankles. The hips should be flexed 45-60 degrees. The knees should be flexed to 90 degrees, and the feet should be together.
Next, raise the left ankle away from the right enough to take up the slack in the resistance loop. This serves as the start and finish position for the exercise. Once there is no slack in the loop, slowly lift the outer left heel up toward the ceiling. Pause at the top and then lower back down. A cadence of 1/1/1 is sufficient for this movement.
Repeat 10 repetitions and perform 2-3 sets on each side. The key factor in determining reps or total time should always be form. A loss of stability or premature fatigue necessitates reducing or even removing the resistance.
Perform a static side pillar bridge while doing the reverse clamshells.
This exercise is an excellent way to target the glute and hip rotators. Combining the side plank and reverse clamshell together offers excellent activation of the obliques, both the left and right gluteus medius and promotes core stability. This exercise can be used as part of a pillar prep/warm-up for hip activation or as part of a corrective exercise program or routine hip strengthening regimen.