This month’s moves are designed to stretch and strengthen your IT Band (Iliotibial Band) and TFL (Tenor Fasciae Latae). The tensor fasciae latae attaches at the top of the side of the hip bone, traveling down the side of the hip into the iliotibial band which runs down the side of the thigh connecting to the outside of the shin bone.
FOAM ROLL THE IT BAND AND TFL
Start just above your knee and roll up and down to the outside of your hip 10-15 times, focusing on any tight spots. This will help to ease tension out of the lateral quad, IT band and TFL.
IT BAND AND TFL
Start by lying on your side and then gently pull the top ankle back towards your buttocks until you feel a stretch. Slowly lower this knee to the ground and then place the ankle of the bottom leg on the knee of the top leg. This will help pull the knee towards the ground to stretch the end of the IT band. Do not stretch too hard for you could irritate the area if it is already inflamed. Perform 2 sets of 30 seconds on each side. Be careful to not over extend your low back during this exercise.
STRENGTHENING YOUR IT BAND AND TFL
Researchers have found that distance runners who develop IT Band Syndrome have significantly weaker hip abductors (specifically the gluteus medius and minimus). What’s more, improvement in symptoms occurred as the runners increased the strength of these muscles. These important hip abductors function to keep better alignment of the knee and keeping less tension on the IT band. Below are some exercises to incorporate into your training program.
Glute Medius Training – Side-Lying Leg Lift
- Purpose: to strengthen the gluteus medius (side of your butt) in order to help stabilize the knee.
- Lean your whole body forward 45 degrees and rotate your top foot so that the toes are touching the heel of your bottom foot.
- Lift your heel 4-6 inches off the ground and then lower back down.
- Start with 2 sets of 20-25 reps for each leg.
- Work up to 2 sets of 50 reps
- Then add 5 lb. ankle weight
Hamstring Strengthening – Hip Lift
The Hip Lift is a great exercise to isolate and strengthen the hamstrings. It is also very functional by its nature. It trains the hamstrings to stabilize the knee while extending the hip. The knee will be non-weight bearing during this exercise. This will allow the knee to be spared until the hamstring and the rest of the posterior stabilization mechanism is strengthened.
- Begin by laying on the ground with the knees bent 90 degrees with the feet on a chair.
- Press your heels into the chair, contracting your hamstrings, and lift your hips about four inches off the ground (approximately the size of your fist).
- Next, reverse the motion so that the back returns to the floor. Do not relax completely.
- The pace of the exercise should be two seconds up, one second pause at the top, and two seconds down.
Make sure the feet are pointed up and the knees are shoulder width apart. Perform 2 sets of as many reps as possible. When you are able to do two sets of 30 repetitions, we will switch to using a single-leg for 2 sets of maximum reps.