Yoga for Runners: 3 Stretches for Your Hard-to-Reach IT Bands

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Training for a fall race or marathon? Get tips from Yoga for Athletes's Emilie Smith for tackling the common issue of tight IT bands.

Emilie Smith

If you're training for a fall race or marathon, chances are, you could use a little yoga. (And your IT bands are feeling the mileage…)

So we tapped Emilie Smith, creator of Yoga for Athletes, which is offered at Equinox and Reebok Sports Club, to identify the three most common issues that runners face, and how yoga can help.

On Monday, the runner and yogi tackled your tight hamstrings.

Now, she shares three moves to help your IT bands, which, if left ignored, can lead to lots of problems down the road... —Lisa Elaine Held


Photos: Lisa Elaine Held for Well+Good



Emilie Smith1. Standing Pigeon

Stand in mountain pose with your spine straight. Lift your right leg up, externally rotate your right hip, and place your ankle just above your knee, with your foot flexed. Drop your tailbone and sit back as if sitting into a chair, moving your chest forward with your back flat. Straighten and bend the standing leg, warming up the hip and starting to release the IT band. Stay here for 5–10 breaths and then repeat on opposite side.



Emilie Smith2. Revolved Triangle

Stand with your feet three and a half to four feet apart, your left foot turned slightly in at 45 degrees, right foot at 90 degrees. Place your hands on your hips. Turn your torso to the right, center your hip points forward and lean forward over the front leg, keeping your back flat.

Reach your left hand down onto the floor (inside or outside the right foot) or place your hand on a block if you can't comfortably reach the ground. Bring your right hand to your hip or extend your right arm up towards the ceiling, opening your chest. Look upwards above your right shoulder or keep your gaze down if it strains your neck. Hold for one minute and repeat on the opposite side.



Emilie Smith3. Reclined IT Band Stretch with Strap

Lay on your back with your shoulders down and relaxed, your hips flat on the mat. Extend your left leg out with your foot flexed. Bring the right knee into your chest and wrap the strap around the ball of the right foot. Extend the right foot towards the ceiling. Take both ends of the strap in your left hand and extend your right arm out to the right, releasing your arm to the floor.

Take your right leg over to the left side and roll on to your left hip, stacking your right hip directly above the left. Try to keep your right shoulder grounded on the floor. Gaze over your right shoulder. Hold for three to five minutes and then repeat on the opposite side.



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