One of the areas of the lower body that is frequently tight is the external hip. Also included attached to this muscle group are the outside upper and lower leg. This outside of the leg has connective tissue (tendons) running down the leg from the hip to the tibia, commonly known as the shin.

The entire muscle/ tendon/ connective tissue group is often referred to as the iliotibial band. The actual ilitibial band is a tendon running from tensia fascialata, a small muscle on the top, front portion of the hip, to right outside the lateral aspect of the knee.
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    What We're Talking About
    For our purposes, we will be stretching the lateral aspect of the hamstring, tensia fascialata, the lateral quadricep, and inner groin muscles. Here is a drawing of the part of the body we are going to stretch. The area of concentration is outlined in red.
  2. Groin Stretch Review
    Often the outer part of the leg, as outlined above, is tight because it is pulling against tight groin muscles. So the best place to start loosening up the iliotibial band/external hip is to stretch the groin/inner hip area. Go to groin stretches to review.
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      Start Your Groin Stretch
      Note that the groin stretches will begin to stretch the iliotibial band after the groin muscles stretch and relax.
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      Relax Your Groin
      Continue your stretch.
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      Keep Your Back Straight
      If you cannot sit up straight while stretching your groin, sit with your back against a wall. This helps tremendously, since you do not have to tense muscles just to sit upright, and you can concentrate on relaxing the groin. If you have trouble with the above stretch, refer to the Prop Stretches page for starters.
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      Lean Forward
      When you begin to come forward, as in the photo, you will be stretching the iliotibial band/external hip muscles.
    5. Important Hint
      When doing the above stretches, you will first feel the stretching sensation in whatever muscle group is tighter. After this muscle group lets go, you will then feel the opposing muscle group stretching. Next, after the opposing group lets go, you will feel the original muscle group tight, but you will be lower in your stretch. Carry on, and you will notice this in all the stretches: first one muscle group lets go, then the opposing group, then the first, so on and so forth.
  3. Hamstring Stretch Review
    It is useful to add the leg stretch at this point to release the hamstrings.
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      Start Your Hamstring Stretch
      Note that the iliotibial band will be stretched on the bent leg in the picture below, as you get lower in the stretch, as in the picture on right.
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      Lower into the Stretch
      Click here to review hamstring stretches. Do both sides.
  4. Half Lotus Stretch Review
    Now, work on the half lotus stretch. This stretch really works the iliotibial band and hips. Here are a few pictures to show you which stretches to do.
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      Half Lotus Variation 1
      This is one variation of the Half Lotus.
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      Half Lotus Variation 2
      Note how all the variations stretch the iliotibial band on the bent leg.
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      Half Lotus Variation 3
      Make sure you work both sides, and please, read the linked pages above for complete instructions in those exercises.
    4. Important Hint
      I sit in half lotus all the time. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You can sit in half lotus while reading, watching TV, and even sitting at a computer if your chair does not have arms.
  5. Next
    Next, move on to the Seated iliotibial stretch.
Disclaimer
It is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult your physician if in doubt about your physical condition before embarking on a stretching program. The author of howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained while practicing any of the stretches described within.

1 Comment

Shawn - 0 Rep in this Positive (How to Stretch) • 15.1k Total
My IT Band is always ridiculously tight.  Do you recommend using a roller in addition to stretching?  What about particular sitting positions?
2 years ago   •  Link  •  Gallery
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stretches  •  hip stretches  •  iliotibial band  •  it band  •  it band stretches