I.T. Band Encore...
As we posted last Monday, the I.T. Band isn’t actually a rock band. The iliotibial band is a long, thick piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh. It’s responsible for keeping your hips and knees stable. And like many structures on the human body, is prone to injury due to excessive activity, poor mechanics, and/or muscle imbalances.
Last week, we reviewed some strategies for reducing inflammation and discomfort. Today, let’s tackle how we might address creating better strength and mobility in certain key areas in order to develop better, more efficient movement mechanics, and ensure the IT Band doesn’t have to rock it out quite so hard.
I’ve said it before: the body is complicated. However, when someone’s IT Band is being overused, we often find they lack the ability to fully extend the hips. That is, adequate glute and core strength and stability to drive the hips and pelvis into a strong, upright position without arching the low back. This limitation is often associated with poor posture through the shoulders, neck, and upper back as well.
And so, there are some key spots where we can try to create some more mobility and others where we try to create some strength and stability. And these patterns typically work in tandem.
Ideally, you’d go through all your mobility work first and then target a number of different strength exercises. In the Trainers Moves below, I will take you through everything in this order. Likely you will pick and choose a few of the strength pieces and do them on different days. Equally, you may find you want to try out one mobility and just a few strength pieces. I’ve broken the series down a bit below:
For example, many people with tight IT Bands have weak glutes, abductors, and core muscles. It can be difficult to optimize strength in these areas if you have very tight hip flexors. So… without seeing you, my first suggestion would be mobilize the hip flexors and strengthen the glutes and abs.
- ½ kneeling dynamic psoas stretch
- Hip bridges
- Dying bugs
Next, you could continue to open up the hips, address a bit of the closed upper body posture and continue to strengthen the glutes, abductors, and abs:
- Side lying torso opener, with lumbar rotation
- Squats – emphasizing your hip hinge and external rotation of the femur. You could do this with or without a resistance band over your knees.
- One legged squats. Done properly – emphasis on initiating and finishing the movement from the hips these will really target the glutes and encourage better knee stability and ankle strength. ALL these things will help lessen the load on that IT Band.
Sometimes the glutes get really tight too. Remember the IT Band attaches to the hips via the glute muscle – so that pattern makes sense. Instead of rolling the IT band (this is painful and there’s not much evidence to support that it actually helps…), roll your glute muscles. And try either of these stretches:
Next strength suggestion?
With dumbbells, paint cans, a theraband, or plain old body weight. Emphasis on the very end of the movement as you extend those hips, focus your efforts on the glutes and abs. Even think about a little external rotation of the femur at the hip joint to get those abductors firing more, open up the pelvis a little more and really get those glutes firing. Once you’ve practiced full extension on both legs, you can progress:
- One legged Romanian Deadlift
Check out the Trainer Moves for some more help. Remember, the IT Band didn’t get angry overnight. It’s had years of trying to manage around poor mechanics and/or lack of strength in specific areas. It will take some time to get back on track.
Inspiration of the Day
“All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” - Ellen Glasglow
Live Workout of the Day
Unfortunately, today's live Total Body Conditioning workout is cancelled. However, we don't want you to miss out.
Click below if you'd like to join Penny for last week's pre-recorded workout.
TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING WITH PENNY
Recommended equipment: Chair or lower steady stool (to step on). This is just to add an extra challenge if you want it, but it’s not mandatory!
Click here to join the workout.
THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
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Trainer Moves of the Day
Join Meg for some targeted mobility and stability work that will help open up the hips, engage the glutes and core, and hopefully help take a bit of strain off that IT Band!
For questions about today’s Trainer Moves you can connect directly with Meg here.
Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.