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The second part in our foam rolling series focuses on hips and the ITB, or Iliotibial Band. Moms on the Run National Fitness Director, Olympian Carrie Tollefson, shows us a couple foam rolling techniques for these areas. It is important to know that your IT band in your leg is not a muscle, but connective tissue, which is always tight. Think of it much like an elastic band, which connects your hip to the muscles in your leg and all the way down to your shin.
What most people talk about when they talk about a tight ITB is an overly tight IT band; an imbalance, or tightness, in the muscles in your legs and hips will cause a tight and sore IT Band. Your IT Band is connected to your pelvis, your gluteus maximus (the largest bum muscle), your hip flexor (the muscle on the front of your hip), and your tibia (which is the largest bone under your knee). When you have very tight muscles in and around your hips, they will pull on your ITB making it tighter, like pulling on an elastic band. There are several stretches you can do to help loosen the muscles around the IT band, and using a foam roller to massage the muscles around the IT band can also be beneficial if done the right way.
As a general rule, if the roller is on the floor, the hands and feet should also be on the floor, supporting the body. (So, make sure you don't put your entire body weight on the roller without hand and foot placement on the floor.)