Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
This is a classic roller ITB release that is useful for improving blood supply and flexibility. The ITB (Iliotibial band) is a thick fibrous band of fascia that originates from the Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL) and glut max muscles and travels over the hip and inserts just below the knee. It is often involved with hip and knee issues.
lateral view of the leg
The ITB release with a roller is a common roller exercise but is often demonstrated and performed poorly. Usually, very little thought is given to the rest of the body’s positioning during the exercise.
The demonstration below and the description that follows shows how you can maintain your head and body alignment and use your core muscles and shoulder blade for stability.
Placing your foot flat on the floor in front of your body also allows you to vary the amount of weight that you lower onto the roller. This set up means that if you find the ITB release really uncomfortable ( which it can be!), you can use your forearm and foot to lift some of your body weight off the roller.
- roller on the floor, so that it will be horizontal/perpendicular to the body,
- position outside of upper thigh on the roller,
- keep knee straight and outside of the foot resting on the floor
- forearm should be flat on the floor directly underneath shoulder, with shoulder blade muscle switched on a little,
- align shoulder, hip, knee and ankle on the leg you are massaging,
- the other leg should have the knee and hip bent. Then place your foot flat on the floor, in front of your body to support your body weight on the roller.
- lift foot of leg being massaged, off the floor,
- maintaining gentle deep tummy and shoulder blade muscles contractions, and using arm on the floor for momentum, roll the outside of the leg along the roller,
- continue for 2- 3 minutes as tolerated.
- repeat on the other leg.
- concentrate on areas that are tight or ‘gnarly’, this may be anywhere along the ITB,
- if this is too uncomfortable, take more body weight through your forearm, or the foot that is in front. Or roll for 30- 40 seconds only,
- to decrease the discomfort, if you are finding it still quite uncomfortable, leave the outside of the foot on the floor (of the leg you are massaging)
Make It Harder:
- change the plane of the movement so that at the hip, for example, the pelvis tilts slightly to massage the ITB closer to the insertion into the glute,
- lift the foot off the floor in front and place this leg on top of the other. This will add to the weight on the roller.