The Foam Roller IT Band Exercise is a great self-massage exercise that will give your iliotibial (IT) band (the outsides of your thighs) a deep and effective sports massage, thus improving the health and quality of your muscle tissue and helping you to perform better. It will also alleviate soreness and make your muscles feel better.
The iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The IT band is crucial for stabilising your knee during the golf swing, and when walking the course. The movement of the IT band, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during golf, may cause the area to become inflamed, potentially resulting in iliotibial band syndrome, which is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain.
The foam roller overloads the muscle tissues through compression, causing your nerves to relax, signalling muscle spasms to shut off, pumping blood and and getting your lymphatic system flowing, to help muscle recovery and regeneration. You’ll work out those knots (muscle adhesions) in your muscles caused either by inactivity, by the repetitive strain of the golf swing, or by walking a tough golf course. This will enable you to stretch the muscles back out to their original length, making them more pliable and functional.
The Foam Roller IT Band Exercise can be performed both before and after playing golf, practising on the range, or other physical activity. It’s also great after sitting in the same position for a while, and can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime you feel tight and in need of a massage, such as while watching television or before bedtime.
This exercise requires a foam roller, also referred to as a foam roll.
For more information on the foam roller and its benefits, see An Introduction to the Foam Roller – The Golfer’s Best Friend.
- Start by lying on your side, with a foam roller under the outside of one thigh, using your other leg and arms to support you.
- Roll along the length of the outside of your thigh, from your hip to just above your knee.
- Repeat with the roller under your other thigh.
Work the foam roller back and forth, gliding your thigh over the foam roller, for 30 to 60 seconds on each thigh. As you work you’ll discover muscle spasms and tender pressure points, hold on each pressure point for an additional 30 seconds until the muscle releases from spasm.
The first time you perform this exercise, it might be a little painful, just like a professional sports massage would be, but that’s just a sign that you stand to benefit enormously from it. After the first few sessions, it will start to become considerably easier and more comfortable. The better it feels, and the less it hurts, the better the quality of your muscle tissue.
Only go as deep as you can tolerate, and slowly build up the amount of time you spend on this exercise.
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