Should I Foam Roll My IT Band?
Ok so I have to admit that I've been guilty of this in the past, telling people that their IT band is tight and that it needs massaging and stretching.
10 years ago it was all the rage (along with weak glutes!).
But we now know that, chances are, there is nothing wrong with your IT band.
It is not short.
It is not tight.
It does NOT need stretching or Foam Rolling.
The IT Band is made up of fascia and although we now know that fascia does have 'some' contractile properties (meaning it can contract a little) they are not enough to cause the 'tightness' that we feel.
AND in all honesty, the IT Band is supposed to be tight. That's part of it's job.
That being said, if you have been told that your IT Band is tight, rather than massaging or foam rolling the IT Band itself (which doesn't do a whole lot of good* AND hurts like hell!), you will be better off targeting the TFL (Tensor Fascia Lata) which is the muscle that the IT Band connects to.
And because the TFL is a muscle, if there is any issue with this then it CAN tighten and cause the IT Band to be pulled more resulting in that 'tight' feeling.
So instead of rolling or stretching your IT Band, use a tennis ball, trigger point ball or hockey ball to mobilise and release the soft tissues in the TFL muscle in the hips instead.
Watch this video for how to do just that:
* That’s not to say that you shouldn’t roll the area around the IT Band. Underneath are muscles that can benefit greatly from being massaged namely the Vastus Lateralis (which is one of the quadricep muscles). That being said, the whole point of this post is to highlight that if you are having trouble with what you believe to be your IT Band please don’t just look at the IT Band. There are so many other factors involved. Also if you have been massaging your IT Band over and over again and it's not helping, please try something else.