In case you have sharp ache or tightness on the surface of your knees or hips, there’s a very good likelihood it’s attributable to your IT band. This space of the physique is notoriously robust to stretch, however by no means concern — there are many trainer-approved IT band stretches that’ll aid you get in there and set issues proper.

For a fast rundown, the IT band — quick for iliotibial band — is a thick bunch of fibers that stretch from the surface of your hip down your thigh to the surface of your knee, after which over to the highest of your shinbone, says Austin Martinez, MS, CSCS, ATC, a stretch knowledgeable and VP of schooling at StretchLab.

“In case your IT band will get too tight, it could result in swelling and ache round your knee,” he tells Bustle. The ache may radiate as much as your hip. Most frequently, the ache units in after actions that require you to bend your knee repeatedly, like operating, biking, mountaineering, or strolling lengthy distances, Martinez says. Simply acquired again from a three-mile sizzling woman stroll? It’s attainable your IT band will flare up.

This ache is known as IT band syndrome and it could take 4 to eight weeks to fully heal. To get again on observe, it’ll assist to stretch the world 3 times every week for about half-hour at a time, says Ronny Garcia, CPT, a licensed private coach with Blink Health. Learn on for all the things it’s good to learn about stretching your IT bands.

Why The IT Band Is Robust To Stretch


In response to coach Michael Hamlin, NSCA, CSCS, the IT band connects your hip muscular tissues to your knee and performs a key position in stabilizing your knee throughout motion. A lot of leg bending could cause a flare-up, however this space can begin to harm when you’ve got poor posture or muscle imbalances as properly, he tells Bustle.

“Tightness within the IT band can be attributable to operating or strolling on uneven surfaces, which may trigger the band to rub towards the bone and develop into infected,” Hamlin says. However one other widespread wrongdoer is an excessive amount of time spent sitting, he notes.

While you pair repetitive motion, sitting, or plenty of strolling with a scarcity of stretching — it’s really easy to skip your post-exercise cooldown, in spite of everything— that’s when the IT may seize up and restrict your mobility, Garcia provides.

As a result of your IT bands are supposed to act as a stabilizer when you transfer versus one thing that may be actively stretched like a muscle, it makes it further tough to maintain the world limber. “Because it’s related to different muscle teams, you need to stretch the muscular tissues across the band itself,” Garcia tells Bustle.

How To Stretch Your IT Band

1. Foam Rolling

Hamlin recommends foam rolling your legs earlier than a exercise, for one. “Foam rolling beforehand could be a good way to restrict accidents and create circulation to that space,” he says.

  • Foam roll your thighs, glutes, and calves for 30 seconds every.
  • Repeat for 2 to a few units on all sides.

2. Facet-Mendacity IT Stretch

Garcia says there’s a fantastic line between stretching your IT band and going too far, so ease into this stretch and cease it if actually hurts.

  • Lie in your aspect together with your legs stacked.
  • Bend your high knee and attain all the way down to seize your ankle.
  • Pull again in your ankle and place your backside foot on the aspect of your high knee.
  • Pull your foot in your knee towards the ground gently.
  • Maintain the stretch for 15 to twenty seconds and launch.
  • Repeat three to 5 instances on all sides.

3. Quad Stretch

Garcia is a fan of a quad stretch as a result of it reaches the quad muscular tissues across the band.

  • Do a half kneel with one leg down and the opposite leg stepping out in entrance of you.
  • Push your hips ahead.
  • On the identical time, tilt your pelvis backwards so you’re feeling a stretch over the entrance of your thigh and hip.
  • Seize onto your foot.
  • Maintain the stretch for 30 to 40 seconds.
  • Repeat two to a few instances on all sides.

4. Standing IT Band Stretch

Right here, Martinez shares an IT band stretch you are able to do to alleviate ache alongside the edges of your hips.

  • Whereas standing, cross your proper leg in entrance of your left and press firmly into each toes.
  • Hold your toes about shoulder-width aside.
  • Lean to the proper aspect so far as your physique will enable, feeling the stretch in your knee and outer hip.
  • To deepen the stretch, attain your left arm overhead.
  • Press your left hand right into a wall for added resistance or stability.
  • Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch 3 times on all sides.

5. Standing Ahead Bend Variation

Subsequent up, do that flexible variation from Martinez.

  • Whereas standing, cross your proper ankle in entrance of your left.
  • Barely bend your knees as you fold ahead, putting your palms on the ground, on a block, or one other secure floor.
  • Press your legs into one another for added resistance.
  • Maintain this place for as much as one minute.
  • Repeat on the alternative aspect.
  • Do all sides two to a few instances.

6. Huge-Legged Standing Ahead Bend

Martinez recommends this customary ahead fold, however with large legs to succeed in the surface of your hips.

  • From a standing place, bounce or step your toes out in order that they’re wider than your shoulders.
  • Flip your toes in barely and put a slight bend in your knee.
  • Slowly hinge on the hips to fold ahead, dropping your palms all the way down to the ground.
  • Press into the outer edges of your legs and toes, feeling a stretch alongside the surface of your decrease physique.
  • Stroll your palms to the proper and switch your higher physique to the proper, putting your palms on the surface of your proper leg.
  • Maintain for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat on the left aspect.
  • Do all sides two to a few instances.

Research referenced:

Adamczyk, JG. (2020). Does the kind of foam curler affect the restoration charge, thermal response and DOMS prevention? PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235195.

Strauss, EJ. (2011). Iliotibial band syndrome: analysis and administration. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. doi: 10.5435/00124635-201112000-00003. PMID: 22134205.


Austin Martinez, MS, CSCS, ATC, stretch knowledgeable, VP of schooling at StretchLab

Ronny Garcia, CPT, licensed private coach with Blink Health

Michael Hamliln, NSCA, CSCS, coach, founding father of Everflex Health

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