10 Exercises to Treat IT Band Syndrome

Rate this post

Are you suffering from IT Band Syndrome and wondering how to help yourself?

Worry no longer, because we have compiled 10 great exercises to help you achieve pain free running. Follow the tutorials and instruction below to bring yourself better awareness of how your body's strength can help treat your IT band syndrome and alleviate pain.

1. Foam Rolling Technique

Foam rolling technique allows for better circulation that provides pain relief. Start with one leg bent and lower the opposite leg onto the foam roller just above your knee. Move your leg over the foam roller until it reaches your mid-thigh and repeat the movement 10 times. Keep your body well aligned before rolling back and forth between your mid-thigh and hip for 10 times. If it is too painful to roll back and forth, simply rest your leg on the roller for a gentle stretch.

For a visual representation of the foam rolling technique, follow the video below.

2. Clamshells

Clamshells can help alleviate pain and strengthen your body to avoid several types of injuries. A band is not required, but can help with alignment and resistance for clamshells. If you have a resistance band, tie it just above both of your knees and move to a side position. Lift your top leg from the knee and engage your core. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg before doing another set.


3. Side Bend

Side bend gently stretches your IT band for relief. If you are experiencing more severe pain, this stretch may be an easy one for you. On the side you intend to stretch, move that same foot behind your other foot and gently lift your arm on that side up and over for a side body bend. Hold the bend for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Follow Dr. Jo's video for more explanation and demonstration for the stretch.


4. Heel Drops

Heel drops help strengthen your thigh muscles and teach you to maintain good alignment for better muscle control. Stand up on a stair or stool and slowly lower your heel to the ground. Repeat 15 to 20 times before switching legs. Repeat on both legs three times. Only do heel drops if your knee is not experiencing inflammation. If your knee is in pain, then consider an exercise with less strain on the knee.

Follow the video below for a tutorial on heel drops.


5. Hip Abduction

Hip abduction can be done with or without a resistance band. Standing with good alignment, lift one leg up along your side with your knee straight. Bring your leg back down to the ground before repeating 10 times. Repeat up to 3 sets worth.

Check out the video below for better understanding.


6. Leg Lifts

Leg lifts engage your core and your thigh muscles for rounded strength. Lie down on your side with your legs out long. Place your hand on your hip if you have trouble staying aligned while on your side. Lift your top leg up and down on repeat at least 10 times. Repeat 2-3 sets for each leg.

Leg lifts also strengthen your glutes, so follow the video below to get a good workout and help your IT Band Syndrome.

7. Single Leg Bridge

Single leg bridge helps strengthen your thigh for better performance. Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Then, extend one leg out straight and lift your hips off the ground  before slowly lowering your body back down to the ground with your leg still extended. Repeat 10-15 times on each side before doing another set. If single leg bridge is too hard or painful, lift your hips up without one leg extended.

Remember to engage your abs to avoid any back strain, and follow the video below for more instruction.

8. Prone Hip Extension

Prone hip extension focuses muscle strength in multiple areas to help your IT band. Lie face down on the floor with your hands underneath your head. Placing one hand on your glute can help you stay aware of your muscles engaging. Raise one leg at a time, but do not bend your knees. Hold your core in tight and make sure your glute is activating before your hamstrings.

Follow the video below for full instruction.

9. Figure Four Hold

Figure four hold is an isometric hold that can help stretch and strengthen your IT band. Lie on your back and pull your knees up. Cross one leg over and place your ankle on the opposite knee. Put your hands behind the thigh and pull your leg closer to your body. You should feel a stretch through your IT band, but make sure to monitor your pain levels to not overstretch it.

For more details, follow Physical Therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck's instructions.


10. Bulgarian Split Lunge

Bulgarian split lunge helps engage your glutes, which in turn will help you build a stronger IT band. Rest one leg behind you on a chair or stool with your knee bent. Bend down to a 90 degree angle and push against the ground to come back up. Pull your core in tight and continue to lunge down 10-15 times before switching legs.

Follow the video below for a more detailed understanding of the Bulgarian split lunge.

Try out these 10 exercises for IT Band Syndrome and discover how strength leads to pain free running.

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe

Bethany Widdicombe is a runner at heart, a researcher by nature, and a writer by passion. Having traveled across the world, she continues to be an advocate for awareness and knowledge that empowers people to a better life. You can now find her running out on the trail, or nestled away writing her next article.

Portland, OR