Our IT Band often gets a bum wrap because that is where other body imbalances show up first. For many runners, particularly females, we tend to become quad dominant and overtime the reliance on our stronger muscle means that we stop utilizing our gluteal muscles. If the brain stops telling the glutes to engage while you run, eventually your gait changes and boom…your IT Band starts to hurt.
Scientifically speaking “Average hip abductor (Glute medius) torque in 24 distance runners with ITBS was found by Fredericson et al (2000) to be significantly weaker than that of the uninjured limb and controls.” << short hand…work your butt out, not off.
Here are 3 exercises you can do after any run that require no equipment. They are fast, easy and effective in helping you start to retrain your brain and body to utilize your gluteal muscles.
I became far more fascinated with ensuring my gluteal muscles were strong after doing the stride analysis with Dr Lorenzo Gonzalez DPT, OCS at IIPTR. In the video it became very clear that I am not able to get a full leg extension in my stride, which therefore makes it very hard for me to pick up the pace. The most important muscle for extending your hip (moving your leg back) is the Gluteus Maximus. Again to put it scientifically
“Robinson and Nee’s 2007 study of 10 females who sought physical therapy for unilateral knee pain demonstrated significantly less hip extension, abduction, and external rotation strength than the same number of control subjects with no known knee pathology.”
Structural issues can also come in to play so if you are having consistent issues, consult with an exercise physiologist or PT to help you retrain those muscles. Also, do not be like me and attempt to change everything overnight as you will find yourself with new injuries. Instead incorporate one new change at a time and give your body a chance to readjust.
Checkout part 1 of IT Band School for the at home tools you can use to massage muscles and release tension.
I am grateful for crazy kitty time, which makes me laugh and remind me to relax. Anyone else notice a witching hour where the pets start zooming around and being silly? Maybe we all need that!