Another Technique Tuesday...this week, a “stretch” (I’ll explain)! Stiff IT-Band? The TFL-ITB complex is actually the connection of your tensor fasciae latae (TFL) to your iliotibial band (ITB). The ITB, which is located on the outer portion of the thigh and attaches near the front of the shin, is a thick band of connective tissue that can often be the source of discomfort in runners and weightlifters alike from overuse.
Here’s the kicker to this “stretch”, I wouldn’t recommend traditionally “stretching” the IT-Band! There simply isn’t very much research supporting prolonged stretches of this thick connective tissue. This means the movement shown above should be performed with very light active holds and moving throughout the range of motion that is available at the TFL-ITB complex in order to improve extensibility and prepare the tissue for movement. I still call this a stretch because we are adding tension to the tissue, but I prefer to avoid the prolonged holds in this case.
SO here is how to do just that:
First, lie on your back on an elevated surface (a bench or bed, for instance) and hold the opposite leg in your hands. Then, slowly lower your leg with your knee relaxed as shown. Slowly, and through a comfortable range of motion, bring your knee in towards the middle of your body to reach the end-range of your TFL-ITB. Hold for a 1-3 seconds, and slowly let your knee fall back away from the middle of your body. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions in order to improve the extensibility of your TFL, and hopefully prepare your ITB band for some active movement during your workout. NOTE: Do not let your low back (lumbar spine) come off of the bed or bench, as this may be irritating to the back.
Do you have a regular warm-up regimen? Let us know in the comments!
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