In my last post, I talked about how the much-maligned tensor fascia latae muscle is not always the main player in IT Band pain, because sometimes it’s not actually playing enough!
One of the brilliant things about YTU® is the balance of down-regulating and strengthening at it’s core. Learning the assessments and theories behind NeuroKinetic Therapy® has opened my eyes to muscle relationships that I would not have previously considered. This new awareness helps me craft even more precise and well-balanced YTU sequences.
Releasing the TFL muscle and the IT Band is a beautiful thing in moderation (here’s a video of Jill Miller demonstrating the ball plow technique for the IT band). If you have IT band or knee pain and roll your TFL all the time but your pain continues to linger, it might be time to reconsider your strategy and figure out what other muscles might be involved.
One way to get a clearer picture is to do your own single leg stance test in front of a mirror. If you know one IT band feels tighter than the other, start with that foot. If your foot tends to roll inward, your peroneals might need some releasing. If your opposite hip tends to drop, your gluteus medius might need strengthening. My best suggestion is to seek out a YTU or NKT professional in your area to help you truly get to the root of the problem.
My favorite mini-sequence in the YTU repertoire for this particular pattern is the Calf-Smash sequence from The Roll Model (Miller, p. 209-211) and follow with Prasarita Lunges (see video below) This mini-vini will strengthen all the muscles around the hips including the tensor fascia latae and the gluteals. To complete the balance challenge, finish with Moon Rises.
Try these three in a close sequence (NKT® says within 60 seconds to get the best response) and see your own balance improve!
Enjoyed this article? Read Perplexing Peroneals: the ‘Gaitkeepers’
OOO love this article! I love how you point out that it might not be a “releasing” or stretch issue but rather strength. The self assessments were extremely helpful as well as the YTU series. I have to say, that sequence put together like that is one of my favorites as well :). Thanks for starlighting the TFL!
I have a client that is a runner and always complains of her right TFL we have done some pin and release work and she rolls it but after reading this article I’m going to do a little more investigating next time I see her. Thanks for the insightful article!
Interesting. My friend has complained about all of the above recently and I thought it was weak glutes, especially the glute med, but had not considered lower on the leg, the peroneals and the movement of the feet. He did also mention he has tight ankles. Cant wait to show him some rolling tonight!
Thank you for the tips on teasing out if the ITB needs to be roller or if the issue roots from a different source. This was very insightful!
Thank you for detailing other concerns that can be going on in the hip.
Thank you for sharing this! I think we tend to over-roll our IT band and TFL especially in a gym. This is a great reminder to investigate further up or down a chain and aim for balance.
Thank you for this article – it is helping me think about how balancing strengthening and opening is a perfect place to begin looking for how to help a student, rather than only thinking about loosening something up. Seems simple, but it is really a shift in my perspective and I appreciate it. Thank you!
Great suggestions in this article. Reconsider your strategy, use appropriate assessment techniques, and find an effective sequence that works for you.
Since our dysfunction can travel up and down stream, it may be worth the investigation to see if other areas of the body could use the Tune up. This was a good reminder to remain curious and not really on just one technique for self inquiry when it comes to body aches, pains or mobility issues.
A good reminder and one I hear often is why is my ____ still hurting? Keeping fresh in discovery of that question is important. It may not be what we think, and yo begin from the ground up another wonderful reminder. I love this balance sequence opportunity and I will try it.
Love prasarita lunges and moon rises. I taught both as my presentation YTU training, but my hips feel happy so l will for sure keep using them as my warm ups on days l have lower body workouts.
Thanks for the assessment tip! I now know my gluteals need to be strengthened because I dropped the opposite hip when I did a one legged stand.
Thank you for the very simple self assessment followed by approachable and feel great movements to test if what we’re doing is working! I know many people with knee pain that blame the IT band yet never get relief. Having these tools can better equip myself and my clients to find the deeper root causes and help themselves heal!
I agree with Shelly. I am always curious about when things are being overworked/underused. This is a good suggestion on how to start mapping that in the body.
this advice was spot on. it’s seemingly obvious, but I will now be aware of looking beyond the two obvious culprits it pain persists. my peroneals have always been super tight but i never explored releasing this when my IT band was tight.
I never tried rolling my TFL until the Yoga Tune Up teacher training. I loved it. I didn’t know how badly I needed it until then. If you’re reading this and haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot.
Thanks for the following of your previous article. I really like the link to the video of the plow technique on the IT band. And I really appreciate the advice to consider evaluating that other muscles might be involved if there are no changes with massages of the IT band. I think we and health professionnals often forget to look around the painful spot.
This is great information, thank you! I appreciate having the single leg test to help me figure out what’s going on.
Ooh, so excited to try this out!! This is often my biggest question – trying to figure out when something is overworking or under-working. Figuring out where in the kinetic chain the problem is coming from. Is the foot causing the hip issue, or the hip causing the foot issue, etc? I love that your sequence addresses everything along the kinetic chain. Usually when one is affecting another, it does take moving it from top to bottom! Thank you for the post!
Staying in balance through knowledge of the body and how it’s muscles and joints work, is the reason I am at a level one Yoga Tune Up training. This article gives good places to start your journey into the body to find the imbalances that cause pain and joint wear. Thanks!
Thanks for this very informative post. I like the practice sequence you suggested. I also think your suggestion to seek out a professional when you can’t figure out if it is better to roll or strengthen is great advice.
I love the suggestion of combining the Calf-Smash sequence, Prasarita Lunges, and Moon Rises for strengthening the hip muscles. Thanks for the advice!
Thank you Melinda! I also read your previous article and liked the way you discuss the ways of YTU, Roll Model and Neurokinetic Therapy together. The single leg stance test will be really helpful to get the students attention to what is happening to their body and why they need to stay in the balance.
Very helpful and practical tips, especially the single leg stance test and what to look out for.
My world has been forever changed from my exposure to my Level 1 training. I’m thrilled at the idea of doing NKT training in the spring.
Fantastic information, thank you so much. I have done calf smashes before but never realized they could help me with my IT band issues when followed by the lunges. I will definitely be adding that to my practice.
Thank you for the very educational piece. I especially appreciate you pointing out that if repeated rolling on the IT band doesn’t get rid of the pain, then maybe you need to pay attention elsewhere. It is helpful that you gave some follow-up instructions on finding other places to roll.
Thanks Melinda on giving me more intake on a tight IT band other than overused TFL.
I’m glad that you were able to take NKT! It’s a great course for opening us up to a new world of possibilities when it comes to muscle and joint pain. More often than not, some sort of compensation as it the root of it, and it important to understand that its not always the best approach to smash anything that’s sore into oblivion. Sometimes it’s the opposite!
I love the single leg stance test! I’ll definitely use that with students going forward. Thanks!
This sequence sounds fantastic. Look forward to giving it a try.
I love the single leg stance test! Will definitely be working this in with my clients!
As a runner and cyclist commuter, my IT bands and I have had many long conversations on pain management! Noticing particularly the asymmetry in flexibility and using fascial release from the hips through to the feet has helped immensely.
One of my feet keeps turning inward and the opposite hip drops. I will take your advice and do these exercises, thank you.
So true! If rolling doesn’t work – look for another potential cause, thank you for this!
I love this mini sequence to target the hips and tensor fascia latae. I have one side where my tensor fascia latae is tender at times. This will be a great addition to my own practice as well as teaching this sequence to others. Great demonstrations in the videos as well as great supporting information on how you to target the tensor fascia latae and surrounding muscles. Thank you!
Thanks, Melinda. I might try to add this to another modality I use for the TFL and IT. Nice to compare the left and right, too.
I will pay more attention to imbalances in one leg or the other. Doing Prosarita lunges really heats up both sides when I squat deeply. Thanks for the article.
Thank you for elaborating on the muscles that could be causing pain/dysfunction and the action associated with that (i.e.: glute med needing to be strengthened if hip tends to drop on one side). And thanks also for emphasizing the point that balance is required in terms of strength, flexibility and rolling 😉
Hi Melinda. Thanks for the one leg stance test. Sure enough my peroneals and glut med need more attention on one side than the other.
So great to not only think about down-regulating, but also finding balance with strengthening. Often times, I focus on down-regulating with my athletes, but including the Prasarita lunges is a great way to educate them further about their body while increasing the synovial fluid and ROM within their hips.
Thanks melinda, I’ve always experienced tightness in this area and it’s one of the main “hot spot” areas my yoga students are always complaining about. I like the short routine approach as it’s much more realistic for a busy every day schedule! I will put this on my “go to” list. Thanks!
Thanks Melinda. Will certainly be adding this to the line up of usual suspects for my chronic , what I though was “hip” pain. Utilizing the resistance from the torso will help fine tune the elimination of festering pain the TFL/IT band can generate .
Thanks for the reminder – of the need to continually assess the point of origin for pain… so we don’t assume that knee/IT-band pain is automatically TFL. So we continue our exploration of the body.
So much is stored in the hips. being a longtime yoga teacher and student of bodies and my body this was very helpful. it took me on a good little trip through the associated videos too. Thank you! Now i’m going to get onto my mat with my balls and do a little Ball Plow and check out the calf smashes in my book!
une nouvelle perspective, encore, jadore le Tune up merci !!!
Wow thanks for sharing! I love the idea of the impact of muscles compensating to complete the same action after an injury or simply having a weakness. Great insight.
I like the idea on how to notice if you have a tight IT band or not. Thanks for the perspective!
Great point that we often look for the problem in maligned tensor fascia latae in IT Band pain, but not always looking at when it’s not engaging enough. I love this sequence that you have put together with the calf smash start which I also great for increasing stability and strength with so many standing balance poses as well.
This is such a great article Melinda…I loved the entire content so much that my notes are actually, pretty much, the whole post. I have been interested in NKT also, it seems that it could go hand-in-hand nicely within the practice of Yoga Tune Up. I really liked your single-leg stance assessment, and definitely am inspired by your multi-faceted approach in addressing dysfunction. Thank you for sharing all this wonderful knowledge.
Thank you for the reminder to try something else if rolling is not providing the expected relief for knee pain. I have done two of the three pieces you’ve described in a given class, but probably not all three. I look forward to trying them all and trying to do them all in quick succession consistent with NKT theories.
I recall reading in my anatomy trail guide the role the peroneals play in balance. This is my cue to listen to what my wobble is trying to say and see if that helps lead me to progress with my knee.
Just did the Calf-Smash sequence and found some much needed relief from today’s class which, curiously enough, featured Moon Rises and TFL ball massage work. I feel like I’m really beginning to learn who I really am…through Jill’s embodied anatomy lessons.
I like the idea of switching up your strategy if its not working. Having exercises like the prasarita lunges to give you feedback on whats compensating is great. there Is so much more to YTU then the therapy balls
Thanks for the perspective.
The more blogs I read the more interesting stuff I learn, Waking up and releasing tension in the calves with the calf mash then prasaritta lunges for the hips, then moon rises to challenge and retrain for balance makes perfect sense, but it would never of occurred to me at this point in my journey. Thanks for connecting the dots.
Wow thanks for the link! I am definitely still absorbing so much only with basic anatomy and biomechanics but the idea of the huge impact of muscles compensating to complete the same action after an injury or simply having a weakness makes sense. Any bodywork to enhance our understanding of anatomy and teach a better Yoga Tune Up class interests me. What do you think of M.A.T. work? I tried it a few times but have not been consistent with the sessions enough to comment on it right now. Great blog 🙂