Sunday, March 14, 2010

IT Band Stretch

If you've ever run with me you've already seen this stretch a zillion times. There are other good stretches for IT but this one is quick, convenient and easy. You can easily stop on the side of the road for this quick stretch if necessary at any time during a run.

Step 1: Cross the right foot over the left foot.

Step 2: Lean to your right to stretch the left IT band.

(View of the above left IT stretch from the back.)

Opposite Side: Cross left foot over right foot, lean to the left to stretch the right IT band.

Tips: Keep the back leg straight and stiff, push hip outward to really feel the stretch.

Another good one is to roll on a foam roller or medicine ball. This is done by lying on your side with the roller or ball under your leg. Balance yourself with one hand on the floor and the foot of your top leg on the floor. Then roll as slowly as possible from hip to knee (and back up) on the side of your bottom leg, with as much body weight/pressure that you can stand. You could do this 10 times on each side, or less. You can really feel the IT band stretching and if you're tight or injured it will be painful. Another runner told me this weekend that she uses a rolling pin on her IT to stretch it out as well. There are other stretches that can be done lying on your back but this standing stretch is my "go-to" IT band stretch. :)

Ice massage is great for IT band inflammation after a workout. I've used this in the past when I had severe knee pain from a tight IT band. Simply freeze a paper cup filled with water in advance. Immediately following your run, peel the paper down on the cup so that the ice is exposed. Move the ice in small circles all along the outside of the knee for 10 minutes. Be careful to ice in small circles and not in an up and down motion. I always needed a towel underneath my knee because it melted into a big puddle as I was icing.


Jen said...

See you are an EXPERT! Thanks for finally posting this for me - and the rest of the WORLD!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Oh, yeah, that's a good stretch. Thanks for posting photos!

Carol said...

I see a trainer career in your future.

Carol said...

I see a training career in your future.

Rebecca said...

Hi Kirsten, I've talked about IT band issues with you before - thanks for posting this info! I'm currently trying to decide on a good, fast fall marathon to do to hopefully BQ before I start back into the clinical years of med school and have less time. I'm considering Steamtown, but I'm worried about all the downhill since I've had ITB issues in the past. It's not too bad now (but I'm only training for a half) with stretching, icing and rolling, but I wonder if the hills are a recipe for disaster. If you have any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them ( Thanks so much!