10 Exercises To Relieve IT Band And Hip Flexor Pain

Do you feel tight muscles, pain and inflammation around your knees or upper thighs after a workout? Time to alleviate tension and strengthen muscles surrounding your IT band with these expert-approved exercises. Get Started!

05 Jun 2022

Muscle soreness may seem a common occurrence in people who are involved in running, hiking, or high-intensity workout. But, some pains especially in hip flexor (thigh muscles) can be a sign of internal trauma due to high-impact activities that often get ignored. The iliotibial (IT) band is the dense fascial tissue (identical to a tendon) that runs deep along your hip and spreads to your outer knee and shinbone. The tenacious fibres of the IT band have a firmness that operates as a natural cushion of your outer thigh. The IT band keeps hips and knees stable, especially during rapid, repetitive movements like running and jumping.


What causes the imbalances in the two hip-based connection points for your IT band? To know the answers, we spoke to Vinod Channa, a Mumbai-based certified fitness trainer. “The fascia of the IT band is like a well-tensioned bridge that connects the pelvis and knee. Sometimes when you are involved in high-impact activities like running, burpees, squats, or pushups you are likely to experience stiffness and tightened muscles in your thighs. This can lead to the risk of serious knee injuries. You might feel pain on the outside of your knee when compressed by 20 to 30 degrees during repetitive activities, this may be a sign that you’re dealing with IT Band Syndrome. Another reason people suffer from muscle tears and pain is because they do not release muscle soreness with a foam roller or massage after a workout.” says Channa.


Related story: Easy Guide To Release Stiffness Using A Foam Roller


Vinod Channa shars rehabilitation exercises to ease the tension, strengthen muscles around the IT band and increase flexibility.


Flexibility Boosting IT Band Exercises (2 Sets, 10 Reps)



1. Single-leg half squat

Targets core muscles and quads

  • Stand firmly on the floor and keep your back straight. Raise one leg slightly from the floor balancing with the other leg.
  • Lower your hip slowly into a squat position. Hinge your hips down as much as your knee can tolerate your body weight.
  • Return your suspended leg to a standing stance. Repeat with the other leg.


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2. Leg extension with resistance band

Targets quadriceps

  • Lay on a yoga mat and wrap the resistance band intertwined around your feet to keep the band from sliding. Put the loose end of the band around your other knee and step on the band with the other foot.
  • Grab your functioning leg with both hands beneath your knee. Pull your leg until it reaches your chest.
  • Return slowly to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.


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3. Split lunge

Targets gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and hamstrings

  • Put the middle of a band beneath one foot and step the other foot behind in a split squat position.
  • Pull the band up surpassing your shoulders. Your elbows should point towards the floor and palms toward the roof. Bend both knees and lower into a lunge position maintaining your arms just the way they are.
  • Straighten your legs and continue to repeat on this side switching to the other leg halfway into the exercise.


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4. Deep lunge

Targets gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hip flexors and hamstrings

  • Put a band above your knees. Tilt slightly forward, engage core muscles, move your feet into the floor and launch your body upward, fully expanding knees and hips.
  • Bring feet quickly together and exchange positions when going back. Forward knee should be over the forward foot and not beyond. Keep hips back and allow hips and knees to bend low when placing your foot.
  • Sink to a deep lunge position and move to the following jump lunge. Repeat.


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5. Sliding leg curl

Targets hamstrings


  • Tie a band on a table or a pole, and make sure it's tied a little higher than your ankles.
  • Raise your hips up by squeezing your glutes and pulling your ankles into the floor.
  • Keep the abs and glutes turned on and tight throughout the activity. Repeat.


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6.Hamstring leg curl

Targets hamstrings and calves


  • Stand on the band with one foot and wrap the band around the ankle of the other. Hold the loose side of the band with one hand for stability.
  • Engage the knee of your functional leg in position and curl the heel towards your butt.
  • Return slowly to the starting position by resisting the motion of the band. Repeat on the other side.


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7. Foot elevated long lever bridge

Targets core, calf and hamstrings

  • Lay on the mat elevating your heels on top of a physioball or a chair. Wrap a band around your both feet.
  • Raise your hips off the floor without arching the low back. Slowly drive each knee to your chest one by one, maintaining the hips up and stability of feet placement.
  • Repeat in 8-10 reps.


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8. Lateral band walk

Targets the hip-abductor muscles and quads


  • Place a resistance band around both legs, and position it just above the knees or ankles as per your convenience. Lower your hip in half squat posture and your feet hip-width apart.
  • With all your strength, move your right leg at least 10 inches to your right side (lateral) followed by your left leg placed at an equivalent distance so that your feet are back to a hip-width distance apart. Imagine how crabs move.
  • Repeat in the opposite direction, and continue to step from side to side.


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9. Single-leg fire hydrant

Targets gluteus maximus and core


  • Stand with one leg slightly bent at your hip and knee. Place the band above your knee.
  • Drive your one knee back at a 45-degree angle. Hold at this position for 2-3 seconds.
  • Slowly bring your leg back to the starting stance. Repeat with the other leg.


Related story: 3 Exercises That Build Strong, Toned Thighs



10. Single-leg hinge raise

Targets glutes and hamstrings


  • Hold a resistance band and curl it under your right foot, grabbing one end in each hand. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your knees slightly bent.
  • Lift your left foot off the floor. Lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor without bending your right knee.
  • Stay in the position for a few seconds and return to the starting point.


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Precautions are more important than rehab exercises to recover from strained muscles.

If you have sustained injuries, perform these exercises every alternative day.





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