IT Band stretches are essential for ironing out the IT band, the tendon that is located on the outside of the leg. These foam roller stretches are good for breaking up myofascial adhesions in the ITB and also around it in the thigh. These bands can become quite tight; particularly in runners, cyclists and hikers, or after a bout of intense activity after a period of inactivity. You may have a problem with the IT band if you feel pain on the outside of the knee or even along the entire length of the tendon, this is more commonly known as ITB syndrome – tendonitis of the iliotibial band.
Rest is initially the way to deal with this, as if you continue to exercise it may take a long time to improve. But in the meantime you can help to ease the IT bands with foam roller stretches.
In the video above, Yuri Elkaim shows us how to properly stretch and loosen up this tendon to treat and prevent pain and here are some extra tips here to ensure that you get the best out of this important stretch:
- You can take it at your own pace but I prefer to roll nice and steady, at around 5 cm per second.
- You will want to persevere when you find some sore spots and hold the leg over the roller for a bit longer, but keep going up and down the leg until you get to a stage where to carry on would start to feel painful. If you feel like you’ve been run over the next day, you may have overdone it, either reduce the amount of strokes or lessen the intensity the next time you roll.
- If you have tight IT bands, then feel free to roll every other day, but no more than this as you need healing time too. You may not think it but it is quite a powerful move and will loosen up the tendon as well as various toxins that need to be dealt with.
Not all foam rollers are equal, some have a lot of give in them and I find those with nodules such as the one reviewed below more effective:
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Once you get used to these IT band stretches, you can increase the intensity by laying the top leg over the leg being stretched. For more news and health tips please check back for more powerful techniques.