There is a lot to be said for getting private sessions in order to learn to exercise correctly and get help with pain relief. There is also a lot to be said for not attempting or expecting, to do either one of those things in group classes.
But the reality is that private instruction is not in the realm of most people budgets. While it is hard to be your own teacher, necessity should make body scholars of us all.
When I teach someone an exercise privately, whether in person or in skype, I am simply looking at the wrinkles of their clothing to tell me about the efficacy of their technique.
It is hard to do that by yourself if you don’t know exactly what you are trying to accomplish. All too many times people learn an exercise in its form but not its intent.
The clam shell for awakening and strengthening gluteus medius is one of those exercises (which happens to be my favorite of the month) that many people know but fail to execute well.
It isn’t hard to do. The hips have to stack directly on top of one another for gluteus medius to activate when the knee elevates. The tendency is to let the hip move backwards as the knee goes up. This won’t allow gluteus medius to turn on and often exacerbates the pain issues that someone is dealing with.
Hip opening only happens through the opposite movement of the leg and hip. It is such a specific and minute movement that any deviation from the stacked hips diminishes the power of the exercise which is ridiculously influential when someone gets it right.
After doing some of these exercise with a client last week, it was clear he had never experienced the gluteus medius in its full glory. While the exercise itself was more intense than he thought possible when he stood up, he drew the line of the muscle as it should sort of wrap from the back to the front, and said it felt like he was “wearing” them as the wrapped around his hips.
What a great image from my perspective.
Maybe you have been doing the clamshell right all along, if in fact it is part of your routine, but at the same time you might want to revisit your technique to see just what you are working.