PT on the Net Research

Band Walking and I-T Band Tightness


Question:

I am having battles with a physiotherapist regarding band walking and I-T band tightness. He believes band walking should not be part of the program (I do it as part of the warm up for my athletes to activate glutes). I am following Vern Gambetta's principles of reps. Can someone please help?

Answer:

By band walking, I assume you are talking about crab walks where you stand in a squat position with your hips and knees bent, weight over your heels and a resistance band around your ankles and slowly step to the side. I believe that this exercise is appropriate for a client with iliotibial (I-T) band tightness and is good to include during the warm up of your program. Many other personal trainers, physical therapists and exercise physiologists share our belief in this exercise as well. You also mention that you use this exercise to activate the gluteus muscles (maximus and medius). This thinking is correct as well.

Joshua Dubin, DC, CSCS, makes reference to training people with I-T band tightness by using resistance bands in his April 2006 article “Conservative Therapy Stretches Iliotibial Band for Recovery” (www.cmp.com). He states that a 15 to 20 minute flexibility routine with resistance bands helps to decrease the occurrence of delayed onset muscle soreness (also known as DOMS) as well as to improve flexibility through a process called hysteresis or creep. This process refers to moving the muscles in a manner to relieve stress. Stretching the hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, iliotibial band and external rotators of the thigh for 30 to 60 seconds should be included.

Dubin also says that a strengthening program for the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and quads should be utilized by doing squats, abduction exercises and supine bridges with single leg lifts. One of the best exercises to strengthen the abduction and gluteus muscles is band walks. This also accomplishes Dubin’s stretching requirement for the adductors.

Further support for your case lies on the web site www.outdoorsnorthwest.com. Jeffrey Hauser, DPT of Therapeutic Associates Ballard Physical Therapy, specifically recommends crab walks with resistance bands for people with tight I-T bands. This is one of his exercises listed to alleviate the iliotibial soreness.

One stretch that would be good to incorporate in your program, if you have not done so already, can be found in the April 2007 issue of Runners’ World magazine. It involves lying on your back with a yoga strap over the middle of your foot. You hold the other end of the strap and straighten the involved leg with your knee locked. Contract the inner thigh muscles and bring the leg across your body. At the point where you feel resistance, gently pull with the strap. Hold for two seconds and release. The article suggests doing two sets of 10 reps on each leg.

I hope this information helps!