Stop Rolling Your IT Band!

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If you're still rolling out your IT band, then just stop..now.. you always hear people, and maybe even yourself saying, "my IT band is always super tight!" or hearing coaches say "roll out that IT band before and after you workout" ...well don't. What they really mean is roll out the muscles SURROUNDING the IT band.

The IT band (Iliotibial Band) is a tendon that stabilizes the surrounding muscles. It doesn't have the properties that a muscle does. The IT Band can stand to take a lot of force. A good analogy is a rubber car tire. If you were to try and stretch and roll out a car tire, you wouldn't really get anywhere. The amount of force you'd need to actually stretch it out would be ...well a lot, and by the time you did have enough force, it would just damage it, not help it any. So yeah, as a stabilizer, it's supposed to be tight, what use is a stabilizer if it's loose?

Also when foam rolling, be gentle with yourself. There is a difference between a therapeutic discomfort and straight up pain. If you're foam rolling, and it hurts so bad that you're just tensing up like crazy, you're making it more painful for yourself, and the benefits will not be as good as they can because you are fighting against the pain.

I do understand that a lot of people feel they have pain on the side of their leg, I too myself identify with this, and most likely it's going to be that outer thigh muscle (vastus lateralis) which lies right next to the IT band. So if you feel that the site of pain is where the IT Band is, try rolling on the outside of your quad, qlute, a little hamstring and TFL to help get relief.

Tanya Crooks

ThumbWorks Sports Massage, 1224 Mangrove Avenue, Chico, CA, 95926