Six IT Band Stretches for Runners

One of the spots I find tightness in around my hips and glutes, which isn’t uncommon for runners. I’ve shared my favorite stretches for the hips and glutes, so now I’m concentrating my a piece of fascia that affects both these areas!

The IT band runs along the outer thigh from the pelvis to the shin bone and connects the glutes and hips flexors to the knee. It’s responsible for helping keep your hips and knees stabilized during activity so it gets quite a workout during running! These six stretches all help to release tension along the IT band to prevent injury from an overused IT band (along with strengthening the muscles surrounding it).

Crossed Ankle Forward Fold

  • Stand tall with your feet side by side. Cross your right ankle in front of your left and plant both feet firmly on the ground.

  • Slightly bend your knees and fold forward over your thighs with a flat back. Bring your hands to the floor, bending your knees more as needed.

  • Walk your hands over to the right to feel the stretch deepen through the left hip and hamstrings. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then walk your hands back to center and stand up slowly. Switch sides.

Revolved Triangle

  • Stand with your feet two the three feet apart, with your heels aligned.

  • Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing to the front. Pivot your left foot inward to a 45-degree angle.

  • Raise your left arm toward the ceiling, with your bicep next to your left ear. On an exhalation, hinge forward from your hips, keeping your spine long. Place your left hand to the outside of your right foot as you open your chest to the right.

  • Roll your right shoulder back and extend your right arm straight up toward the ceiling.

  • Turn your head to gaze at your right thumb.

  • Keep your hips level. Press down firmly through your back heel.

  • Hold for 30-60 seconds and gently release. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side.

Figure 4

  • Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Cross your left foot over your right quad.

  • Lift your right leg off the floor. Grab onto the back of your right leg and gently pull it toward your chest.

  • When you feel a comfortable stretch, hold there.

  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

  • Repeat for the other side

Standing Quad Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, pull your core in, and relax your shoulders.

  • Bend your left leg, bringing your heel toward your butt, and grasp your left foot with your right hand. Hold for 30 seconds.

  • Switch legs and repeat.

Pigeon Pose

  • Begin in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the mat)

  • Bring your right leg forward and sink down, so the outer edge is resting on the floor.

  • Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your hips angling toward the floor.

  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then step your right foot back under you and repeat on the left leg.

Lizard Pose

  • Start in downward facing dog.

  • Step your right leg forward, placing your foot facing forward with the big toe of the right foot next to the pinkie of your right hand. (Your right foot should be outside of your right hand on your mat.)

  • Bend your right knee into a lunging position while keeping your left leg extended behind you, balancing on the ball of your left foot and your entire right foot.

  • Hold this lunging position for a few breaths. Then, as you like, you can intensify the pose. To do this, bend forward at the waist and place your elbows on the floor in front of you. Your palms and forearms should be flat on the floor.

  • Lift your head and look forward, keeping your neck relaxed.

  • Hold for 10 to 20 breaths, breathing into the hips as you stretch.

  • Release by stepping back into downward-facing dog.

  • Repeat on the other leg.

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