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Why Stretch?

First class



Neck stretches

Back Stretches

Wrist Stretches

Balance Exercises

Advanced Stretches

Prop Stretches

Side Stretches

Shoulder Stretches

Iliotibial Stretches

Standing Balance Exercises

Lotus Exercises

Correcting Posture Through Stretching DVD

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IIiotibial Band and External Hip Stretches
One of the areas of the lower body that is frequently tight is the external hip. Also included attached to this muscle group are the outside upper and lower leg. This outside of the leg has connective tissue (tendons) running down the leg from the hip to the tibia, commonly known as the shin. The entire muscle/tendon/connective tissue group is often referred to as the iliotibial band. (The actual ilitibial band is a tendon running from tensia fascialata, a small muscle on the top, front portion of the hip, to right outside the lateral aspect of the knee) For our purposes, we will be stretching the lateral aspect of the hamstring, tensia fascialata, the lateral quadricep, and inner groin muscles. Below is a drawing of the part of the body we are going to stretch. The area of concentration is outlined in red:

Often the outer part of the leg, as outlined above, is tight because it is pulling against tight groin muscles. So the best place to start loosening up the iliotibial band/external hip is to stretch the groin/inner hip area. Go to groin stretches to review.

Note that the groin stretches will begin to stretch the iliotibial band after the groin muscles stretch and relax. If you cannot sit up straight while stretching your groin, sit with your back against a wall. This helps tremendously, since you do not have to tense muscles just to sit upright, and you can concentrate on relaxing the groin. If you have trouble with the above stretch, refer to the Prop Stretches page for starters.

When you begin to come forward, as in the photo on the right above, you will be stretching the iliotibial band/external hip muscles.
Important hint: When doing the above stretches, you will first feel the stretching sensation in whatever muscle group is tighter. After this muscle group lets go, you will then feel the opposing muscle group stretching. Next, after the opposing group lets go, you will feel the original muscle group tight, but you will be lower in your stretch. Carry on, and you will notice this in all the stretches: first one muscle group lets go, then the opposing group, then the first, so on and so forth.
It is useful to add the leg stretch at this point to release the hamstrings. Note that the iliotibial band will be stretched on the bent leg in the picture below, as you get lower in the stretch, as in the picture on right. Click here to review hamstring stretches. Do both sides.

Now, work on the half lotus stretch. This stretch really works the iliotibial band and hips. Here are a few pictures to show you which stretches to do.

In the above photos, the stretch is called the half lotus. Note how all the variations stretch the iliotibial band on the bent leg. Make sure you work both sides, and please, read the linked pages above for complete instructions in those exercises.
Important hint: I sit in half lotus all the time. The more you do it, the easier it gets. You can sit in half lotus while reading, watching TV, and even sitting at a computer if your chair does not have arms.

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It is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult your physician if in doubt about your physical condition before embarking on a stretching program. The author of accepts no liability for any injuries sustained while practicing any of the stretches described within.



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