Let’s take a look at the picture above showing traditional way to foam roll IT Band.
– Why do we strain and tense our shoulders while they are tense anyway?
We are supporting our upper body on our shoulder and the elbow. Most people have shoulder tension anyway – so why would we want to add to that tension?
If we want to do strength training – great – let’s focus on strength training! But let’s not mix soft tissue manipulation with strength training! Would you pay your massage therapist $100/hour if she were to put you in this type of uncomfortable position while working on your IT Band? I highly doubt it! So, why do this onto yourself?
– Why Are We Afflicting Pain Onto Ourself?
We are pressing IT Band with hard surface of the foam roller onto fairly sharp femur. Why would we want to afflict pain onto ourselves? Yes – it could be true that this may dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow in short term – but do we want to solve IT Band issue short term or long term?
– Think Before You Act!
IT Band tightness could be caused by tightness in other muscles such as gluteus medius and TFL as shown on the picture below. Do we really think that releasing tightness in the spots that are hurting is the most effective way to resolve the issue when it could be caused by structural issues?
It is extremely important to understand what causes IT Band discomfort before starting to work on it, but if you do decide to give your IT Band gentle message, here is the safe and effective way to do this.
We will be working both on the IT band as well as along its edges, where it commonly gets adhered to the outer quadriceps muscle (vastus lateralis) which runs underneath it.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Position the inflatable Big Orange and up to three (or four if you have longer legs) Double Track Rollers along your side, next to your legs. Increasing the number of Double Track Rollers will help to moderate the intensity, especially if this is your first time performing this exercise.
Lift your hips and rest them on top of the Big Orange, between your iliac crest and greater trochanter. Next, lower your thigh and position it on top of the Double Track Rollers such that your IT band would rest between the two balls of each tool. Turn to your side and support your head on a Foam Support or pillow.
At this point, you can remove one or two of the Double Track Rollers to increase specificity and intensity to your comfort level. Perform small rolls along segments of your outer thigh – upper, middle, and lower – while paying close attention to the sensations generated. If you find that you are tensing your thigh muscles, the intensity is likely too high. You may also choose to simply close your eyes and breathe as you draw your attention to the tissues beneath the tools and seek a release; gradually reposition the tools as needed.