The IT (iliotibial) band is a thick tendon that attaches to the fascia lata muscle in the thigh. It runs along the outside of the leg from hip to knee. It’s a part of us that often goes ignored, until we feel tightness or pain.

Today, the IT band is in the Prism Fitness Spotlight. Here are some ways to strengthen and stretch IT band.

When we talk about strengthening, we focus on the muscles surrounding the IT band, including muscles in the hips, butt, and thighs.

strengthen and stretch it band - Smart Mat

STRENGTHENING – RESISTANCE BAND

Clam Shell
Lay on your side with bent knees. Place resistance band above knees. Start with knees and feet together. Separate knees while keeping feet together (opening like a clam shell). Close knees and repeat. Use top hand to keep hips from rolling open. Perform 10-15 reps, 2-3 sets.

Lateral Walks
Step right foot wide, then step left foot under left hip, traveling right for 10-15 reps. Reverse. Keep hips and shoulders level. Brace core. Perform 2-3 sets.

single leg squat resistanceSingle Leg Squats
Shift weight forward onto right leg. Extend left leg behind, squeezing glutes and lifted thigh. Brace abs. Make sure knee tracks over the middle toes on the standing leg. Do 10-15 squats. Switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets.

STRETCHING

Thread the Needle
Lay on your back with knees bent above hips. Cross right leg over left leg, placing right shin to left thigh. Reach through your legs with right arm. Left arm reaches around outside of left leg. Gently draw left hamstring toward you. Breathe and hold, releasing more with each out breath. Switch sides. This stretch is printed directly onto the Smart Mat for reference.

RELEASING – FOAM ROLLER

stretch it band Smart Foam RollerAn intense way to release the IT band is to use a foam roller. Support your body with your hands. Slowly roll up and down the hip/outer leg, massaging the IT band. If you forget how to position yourself, don’t worry! This exercise is printed on the surface of the Smart Foam Roller.

Strengthen it. Stretch it. Just don’t ignore IT!

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