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How to Do Pilates Clam Exercise


Updated June 17, 2014

pilates clam exercise

Pilates Clam

(c)2010, Marguerite Ogle

Pilates clam is a simple exercise that begins to tone the hips and thighs. It also teaches pelvic stability as the leg rotates inward and outward at the hip.

Clam will help you build the strength and flexibility you need in more difficult side-lying exercises. You will need the same skills - pelvic stability, shoulder stability, abdominal control, and moving the leg independent of the pelvis - when you move on to exercises like the side kick series.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 2 min.

Here's How:

  1. Lie on your side with your hips and shoulders in a straight line.

    Bend your knees so that your thighs are at a 90 degree angle to your body.
  2. Rest your head on your top arm as it is stretched out overhead, or bent, whichever is more comfortable.

    Make sure you neck is long so that your head is not tipped back or tucked forward.
  3. Bend your top arm and place your hand on the floor in front of your chest for extra stability.
  4. Stack your hips directly on top of each other vertically. Do the same with your shoulders. Use your deep abdominal muscles to keep this alignment throughout the exercise.
  5. Keep your big toes together as you slowly rotate your leg in the hip socket so that the top knee opens. Open the knee only as far as you can go without disturbing the alignment of your hips.
  6. Slowly bring your knee back to the start position.
  7. Repeat the clam 5 times, then change sides.
  8. If you are comfortable with clam, move on to high clam


  1. Once you get the move, add a breath pattern like exhale to open and inhale to close.
  2. This exercise is calling on your deep six hip muscles

What You Need

  • a Pilates mat or firm, padded surface
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