Add this active-isolated stretch to lengthen the ITB without causing harm.
By Jim and Phil Wharton / Image by Asaf Hanuka / Published 03/08/2007 (from Runners World)
Along with calloused feet and a tolerance for Gu, runners tend to develop tight iliotibial bands (ITB). The ITB is a sheath of connective tissue that runs from the gluteus to the outside of the shin just below the knee. It helps extend the knee and stabilize the leg during running. Overuse and inflexibility can shorten the ITB, causing hip and knee pain. Many runners attempt to counteract this with the ITB stretch shown here. But because it stresses the leg and back muscles, this stretch has the opposite effect. The ITB and surrounding muscles tighten against this pressure, irritating these areas. Our “active-isolated” method (below) allows you to lengthen the ITB without causing additional harm.
Don’t Do This
Leaning forward (for a greater stretch) stresses the lower back and groin muscles.
The forced muscle contraction stresses the hip and knee joints, which impedes circulation.
The angle of the knee puts pressure on the patellar tendon of the kneecap and the quadriceps.
Lie down with both legs out straight.
Put one foot in the loop of a rope, positioning the rope between your heel and the ball of your foot. Wrap the rope around the outside of the ankle so that its ends are on the inside.
Contract your adductors (inner thigh), and sweep the leg across your body, passing just above the other leg. Keep your knee locked.
Once you feel tension on the leg, gently pull on the rope to extend the range of the stretch just a little more.
Hold for one or two seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Adductor (inner thigh) muscles are activated, which relaxes the opposing muscle group.
Abductor (outer thigh) muscles ease into the stretch instead of being forced and held in a static position.
Back and neck are supported and relaxed.