The Illiotibial Band
The Illiotibial (IT) Band, as you can see here, is a long, fibrous reinforcement that runs along the lateral portion of the leg, from the hip to the knee. It’s primary functions are to assist in hip extension, abduction, and lateral rotation. It also plays a major role in the lateral stabilization of the knee. Because of its variety of functions, it makes sense that this band is very important in physical activity, particularly running. We can strengthen it by going through the motions of extension and lateral rotation, which will enhance our ability to walk and run. But, how do we take care of this muscle?? Because of the location on the body, it takes a little bit of creativity – and few slightly uncomfortable positions – to really stretch and take care of the IT Band. I’ve got two exercises for you to try. They are simple, but effective in proper care.
As you can see, I start with my opposite foot on the ground and push with it. This will not only take some of my body weight off of the leg on the roller, but I can push up and down with the foot that’s on the ground. If you want a deeper roll, then take your other leg off the ground like I have for the final few reps. Move the roller with your arms at this point, and you will get a lot deeper into the muscles with the roller.
You can certainly go through this stretch without the band. But I would highly recommend a band, particularly for this stretch. Without a band, you can simple bring your leg to the side and not pull up very high. The band, however, provides a constant pull on your foot, bringing it up higher for a much better, more consistent stretch.