Q&A: Tight IT Band
Q: I'm a distance runner who has struggled with a hamstring/IT band issue for almost two years. Are there any good exercises to help loosen a tight iliotibial band? — Colleen, Austin, TX
A: In order to get the IT band to release, you must attack the problem from two angles:
- Massage your muscles. Soft tissue mobilization either by using a foam roll or with a licensed massage therapist or physical therapist, will help your muscle tissue become more supple and take stress away from the knees. The more it hurts to massage or foam roll the area, the more you need it.
- Strengthen your glutes. Weak glutes are often the reason your IT band tightens up. If your glute muscles aren't functioning properly, the IT bands will incur the stress and become even tighter. Train your glutes with moves like glute bridges (pictured above), side-lying adduction and abduction, and quadruped circles.