You’ve likely heard of the IT Band (short for iliotibial band). IT Band Syndrome often arises due to overuse, improper biomechanics, or weak glute muscles. The IT Band is a thick & flat sheet of connective tissue that runs from the outside of the hip down to the outside of the knee. It provides structure and protection for the outside of the thigh. 

The most common advice given to people with IT Band syndrome is to roll out the IT Band. The rationale here is that by rolling the IT band, you will “release tension”. The problem with this is 2-fold: 

  1. Foam rolling will not actually lengthen or release tension from the IT Band. This is a common misconception!
  2. Rolling down close to the knee creates extra compression that can actually flare up the condition even more.

The pain typically arises from tension & compression of the IT band near the knee. Most often, the cause of the increased tension/compression of the IT band is due to a deficiency in glute strength and endurance. Rather than put yourself through the pain of rolling on your IT Band, to no avail, try these glute exercises out! These are a great starting point. You would then want to gradually progress the exercises to better fit the demands of your activity (ie. running, cycling, jumping, etc.)

Try these exercises to better activate & strengthen your glutes. These can be performed while experiencing IT Band issues, as well as proactively to prevent the condition. 

  • Glute Bridges (Single leg if able)
  • Clamshells (add a band for more resistance)
  • Hip hikes (the wall variation is one of our favorites)
  • Single Leg RDL (talk about bang for your buck)

Watch the video demonstration below for an insight into what these look like!

 

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