DON’T WASTE TIME FOAM ROLLING YOUR ITB!
I used to regularly roll my ITB and my god, it was so painful! Naturally I thought it must be doing some good - but pain does not equal effectiveness and in this case too much pain will do more harm than good and inflame the tissue.
WHY FOAM ROLLING DOESN’T WORK
The ITB is fascia and not muscle. Fascia is dense connective tissue made up of collagen fibres which is one of the strongest protein to be found. The ITB is supposed to be tight as it helps keep the knee stable and in the correct position. The idea that you can release or relax the ITB through Foam Rolling is therefore a misconception.
What needs to be done is address the real cause of tightness in your ITB.
WEAK HIP STABILISERS
The ITB helps keep our knee stable. Our inner and outer thighs (ab and adductors) also play a massive role in doing this, and if these muscles are weak, then the ITB has to pick up the slack, gets overworked and tight.
The ad and abductors create lateral (side to side) movement - but how much of that do you do in your sport? NONE!
Us endurance athletes spend all of our time in the sagittal plane so our joints only move forwards and backwards. As a result we lose mobility, function and we have weak underused ab and adductors. THAT IS WHY YOUR ITB IS TIGHT!
You need to unload your ITB and get your hips working better by lighting up the muscles that should be keeping the knee in line - the adductors and abductors (the glute med in particular - a tiny muscle in the outside of your bum)
Strength training is your answer - and this is why I program a lot of single leg work (single leg romanian deadlifts) and bilateral movement (lateral squats and lunges) for my clients - simple exercises done with massive attention to detail. Getting them moving in all different directions helps offset the repetitive motion of our sport, and helps fire up muscles on the inside and outside of the hips which go to sleep when we do our sport.
Strength training isn’t just about lifting heavy weights. It is about optimising movement, improving mobility, restoring balance, to build a resilient and durable athlete. Move well off the bike or the erg, and you will perform better on it!
Hands up if you have been guilty of neglecting this part of your training?
If you would like to work with me online coaching is available. Contact me to book a complimentary call.