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IT Band Tightness – Baseball/Barbell Smash
Here is a video where I show you an extreme myofascial release of the IT band.
Tight IT bands can often lead to pain in the knees and lower back, due to the fact that they are proximal to both of those regions in the body.
IT band restriction is very common in people who do not rotate well.
Since the transverse plane of motion is almost entirely absent in most training programs and people in general, the body then uses the other two planes of motion for movement and stability (sagittal plane and frontal plane).
Consequently, the IT band then gets over loaded because of its role in stabilizing through excessive frontal plane movement.
This then creates fascia distortions throughout the lateral border of the thigh.
By getting into the IT band in an aggressive manner, via the use of a barbell and baseball, we will release a major player in lateral movement deficiency.
The result is a more functional body that moves better in all planes of motion.
***Keep in mind that we are not lengthening the IT band. We are releasing the adhesion of the IT band to the Vastus Lateralus (outer quadricep). The goal here is the separation of tissues so that they may work together more harmoniously in a rhythmic fashion.
Hello, this is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns. For today’s video, I’m gonna show you a myofascial release technique to help relieve tension off the IT band, or the lateral border of the thigh. In recent years, an awareness has emerged on this region of the body, as a result of people now becoming more conscious of how their body works as an integrated system.
The problem is, that most these people involved in structural movement, things like functional training, are still working in the sagittal plane, almost exclusively. You’re really just moving in a straightforward, linear fashion. The problem is, that the human being is not adapted in moving in that context. We don’t move as a bilateral organism. This is kind of like how a kangaroo would move. Kangaroos move at the sagittal plane. Human beings have actually adapted to move in a unilateral stance, where we involve rotation of the trunk and a contralateral reciprocation of the upper and lower limbs of the body.
Now, we have to understand that, if you don’t use something, you’re going to lose it. Since most people, in general, don’t rotate with their body, they’re going to lose that function with their body. Let’s say, if you’re thinking about doing functional movement throughout the day, if you don’t train this, you’re going to lose it. So therefore, your body is then, going to have backup systems for stability, for power, for performance. For our specific concern, we have to think about the IT band.
Well, if you lose rotation, you have to think that your body’s either gonna compensate with sagittal plane movement, like with lumbar extension, which is very common, or kyphosis, or it’s also going to compensate with a lateral movement. So, we have sagittal plane, moving straightforward and back. We have lateral movement, which is gonna be the frontal plane, and that’s what people, in general, also compensate with. If we look at the IT band, it’s right here, smack dab on the lateral border of the thigh.
So, whenever you’re working in dysfunction and you’re not good at rotating, what’s gonna be coupled with that, is going to be a tightness on that IT band. So essentially, what we’re gonna focus on today, is trying to break up the adhesions on the IT band. We’re not gonna try and stretch out the IT band, because that’s virtually impossible. So, what we’re gonna focus on, is trying to break up the adhesions from the IT band, to the vastus lateralis, and we’re gonna do that via the usage of a lacrosse ball.
Now, I will warn that this is an extreme myofascial release technique, and that if you’ve never done myofascial release, I would not recommend doing this given technique. You may want to start off with some kind of a foam roller or a medicine ball, and work your way up to the point where you’re actually going to do this specific technique, with these tools. So, I’ll have you guys follow me, over here.
So, what we’re gonna need for this myofascial release technique … I’m gonna be utilizing a barbell. We’re gonna us a … I like to use a muay thai pad. This is for me. It’s available to me. This is what I’m going to use. If you have some kind of cushion, it should be able to work the same. And, I have an optional weight here, and my myofascial release tool is actually going to be a baseball.
This is very advanced. Again, I don’t recommend everybody go straight to a baseball, because the IT band, generally, tends to be a pretty painful area for somebody to work on. But, if you’re already progressed, this is a really great tool. It’s a couple bucks, it really does do a great job.
So essentially, I learned this from one of my students. She’s one of master trainers. Her name’s [Vadonna Bahich 00:03:15]. She’s from Functional Patterns, Middle East. I learned this technique, so shouts out to you Vadonna.
Alright, so what we’re going to be doing here, is I’m gonna be laying on my side. So really, what I’m gonna do is, I’m going to rest the ball on top of my thigh, here. So, what I want to do is rest this here, so that way the bar is not going directly on my thigh. I’m gonna then grab the barbell and place it on top of my thigh, and then lay on my side here, as you guys can see. So now, I have a … There’s a good spacing here. I don’t have any pressure going on my thigh. From there, I’m going to bring the baseball underneath my IT band, and I’m going to bring my leg over the top of that.
Now, one thing I like about an effective myofascial release, is one when I don’t have to do anything. As you guys see, right now, an effective … You’ll see that this is giving me great effect, because I have the weight of the barbell dropping on top of this trigger point, but I’m not straining myself. If you look at most IT band releases, or any myofascial releases for that matter, there’s always some kind of strain involved, where you’re having to stabilize you’re body. Sometimes, what that can do, is create some kind of a neurological activation of the entire fascia network, and then that begins to … Like, it can cut off the capability of you releasing that given muscle. So, when you’re more relaxed, since the body is entirely relaxed, it’s quite likely that the IT band’s going to relax, here, and that you’ll get a much more effective release.
So, I usually just like going in here, hitting that lateral border of that thigh, letting it just kind of settle in there. We’ll be trying moving around. I mean, get a little bit into the parts of the vastus lateralis, and then move a little bit posteriorly, almost, to where you’re almost close to your hamstring. Really explore it, when you’re in this area. Again, this is an obvious progression, just having this thing on there. But, for me, since I’m more experienced, I would actually grab a weight and put it on the barbell, and then let that sucker sit on, on top of that.
So usually, I don’t move too often. Maybe, if I do move in increments, it may be like, increments of maybe one millimeter to another. Maybe, as far as a centimeter, but I typically don’t move too much while I’m releasing that. I kind of just let my body sink into the ball.
You can hang out there for a period of about, anywhere between two to five minutes, and that should be more than enough. You can then, switch sides, when you need to. It’s a great technique. Like I said before, it’s an advanced technique. I only recommend doing it after you’ve, obviously, adapted yourself towards using like, a medicine ball or a foam roller, and that’s kind of gotten boring for you.
You have to understand that, if you want to address dysfunction on your body, it takes an extreme approach. If you are taking a passive approach, like a foam roller, you’re only going to get so far. We have to understand that human being have adapted into a culture that’s not beneficial of our DNA as human being. Human adapted over the course of millions of years, to walk on two feet, and essentially be able to move upright, and when we sit ourselves at a desk for 10 hours a day, that is an extreme adaptation. Extreme deficiency, it requires extreme measures, if we expect to correct those deficiencies.
So, here’s an extreme technique that you can use. I would also recommend implementing more rotation, working on your posture, so you can get that rotation back, so that way you can also get at the root of this deficiency. What we have to realize is, this is all a building process. This technique is going to also help your thoracic rotation, because we if we eliminate a dysfunction at the IT band, it’s gonna travel up the kinetic chain.
So, here’s one more thing that you can employ into your functional training program. I do hope that you guys enjoyed it, and I will see you guys next time. This is Naudi Aguilar at Functional Patterns, reminding you to stretch intentionally, and not habitually.