Rider Exercise of the Month – The ITB Stretch

This month’s unmounted exercise is focused on your Iliotibial Band (ITB) – a fibrous band that runs from your hip to the outside of your knee. The band can become tight or inflamed with use and is most commonly noticed by runners however as riders, we can feel it too sometimes! Tightness or discomfort in this area (hips and knees usually) may arise due to the rotated, toes-pointed-forwards, knees bent position we try to maintain while riding, and combined with knee instability or weak muscles, this band can be strained.

As with most of these exercises, doing them three to four times a week is ideal.

The ITB Stretch

Why you should try it:

  • Helps stretch your Iliotibial Band and reduce knee/hip pain
  • Increase lower back mobility
  • Helps with knee and hip alignment in the saddle.


File:Iliotibial Band Syndrome.jpg
The ITB – Image via BodyHeal on Wikimedia

ITB Syndrome is characterised by the overuse/strain of this band resulting in pain or tenderness around the hip, knee, or outer part of your thigh.

How to do the ITB Stretch:

  • Lie on your back and bend both knees up towards you.
  • Let your knees gently fall to one side.
  • Straighten and extend the leg on top until it’s at a 90 degree angle from your body.
  • Hold the position for 30/60 seconds, then rest. Repeat 3/4 times.
  • Do the opposite side.


Reminder: You should warm your muscles up before you stretch by doing a few minutes of exercise first to reduce the risk of injury (i.e. walking, jogging on the spot, stair climbing, etc). If you experience any pain, stop the exercise immediately. Speak to your doctor/physiotherapist before undertaking any exercises if you have had a related injury in the past.

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