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This Tiny Tweak That Makes a Common Hip-Opener So Much More Effective

Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the best workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

Improving your hip strength and mobility can help relieve tightness and pain—and if that sentence started to sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown, then let me add that strengthening those hip external rotators also supports better sex. If that’s not a reason to work out, then IDK what is. Luckily, the core and glute workout in this episode of Trainer of the Month Club incorporates a version of the clamshell that is great for your external rotators and helps open up your hips.

It’s called elevated clamshell, and according to Alex Lyons, creator and founder of The Workup, this simple tweak to the regular clamshell can make it much more effective if you have tight hips. You start in a regular clamshell position: on your side, with your elbow on the ground and your knees stacked. But instead of keeping your heels on the ground, you lift them up.

“It doesn’t feel great, especially if you’re working on your hip mobility like I am,” says Lyons. “Keep your heels elevated. It’s just gonna make sure you don’t cheat. What tends to happen when your heels are down is you really lean into it. So when you take [your heels] up, your hips can’t move. Yes, maybe your range of motion is a little bit smaller. But you know you’re isolating just those external rotators.” (P.S.: Did I mention strengthening those hip external rotators also supports better sex, according to a pelvic floor therapist?)

The entire workout clocks in at around 15 minutes, and is full of other glute- and core-strengthening movements. “You need glute stability and core stability for everything,” says Lyons. “I love glute workouts, especially with a mini band because we can really feel that extra tension,” she says.

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When you’re doing movements like squats—which you will be doing in this workout—a mini band forces you to really use your outer hip to keep your knees from turning in, Lyons says. But don’t worry if you don’t have a band, because she says you’ll still feel the burn if you do this workout with just your bodyweight.  “We start standing. We finish on the floor. Everything that happens on the right will then happen on the left,” Lyons says. Ready to get started? Press play on the video above.

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