You know those moves that look easy but leave your body feeling like it’s on fire? Yeah, the oyster exercise is one of those. Also known as clamshells, the Pilates exercise is done right on the mat—no equipment required—to target your hips, thighs, and glutes. While the move is easy enough for total beginners to successfully complete—and gentle enough to do while you’re pregnant, according to Kate Hudson—it results in feel-good burn. Plus, it brings on benefits beyond a perkier booty.
Not only is the low-impact move super easy on your joints, but it also protects your knees from high-intensity exercises that can cause pain like jump squats and burpees. “The gluteus medius helps in external rotation of the hip, and strengthening it also prevents internal rotation of the femur, which prevents internal rotation at the knee, keeping it tracking properly to prevent injury,” exercise physiologist Michelle Lovitt tells Self. So what are you waiting for? Mastering it will only take you a minute, tops.
How to perform the oyster exercise.
According to the American Council on Exercise, there are only a couple steps to performing the oyster exercise.
1. Lie on your side with your knees bent to 90 degrees.
2. Raise your top leg, keeping your feet touching the entire time, then lower it back to the ground.
Yep, it’s that easy. All you need is 15 to 20 repetitions on each side during your workouts to help increase your strength. And if you want to take things up a notch, you can make things more challenging by bringing a resistance band into the mix. Just secure it around your thighs above your knees and you’re good to go.
If planks kill your wrists, add these exercises into your routine. Or, try these exercises to get Michelle Obama-level arms—no weights necessary.