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Squatting With Cookie Monster: Part 1

5 Sep


As many of you probably already know, my little 2007 Toshiba is finally giving up the ghost.

Last night when I got home from work (11pm), I sat down to write this post and it began to freeze up every time I tried to open a webpage. This computer freezes with pretty much everything other than word document.

So I was stuck writing a post on form, with no video to refer to like I said. Go figure.

Now, I am writing this after having watched the video on my phone, and I am hoping it is as accurate as possible (since watching it multiple times can really eat up the data). A part of me hopes that the laptop will finally just crash, so I have a justified reason for throwing it against the wall. The other part of me is scared that it will, because then…well…I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything.


The main purpose of this post is to go over some common form errors in the squat, and how to fix them. I thought the best way of demonstrating would be to use the video of someone who possesses some of these technical issues. A reader/subscriber named Chris (whom I met in Detroit) happily lent me the use of his videos. Thank you, Chris!


At first I was going to diagnose Chris’s deadlift, but then had recently been getting more requests for something on squats, so I thought we’d start with that first.

Keep in mind, this is for educational and improvement purposes only. Chris was nice enough to allow me to use his videos as demonstration, so I ask that you view them in such as well. We can all learn something here.

Chris – I hope this post is helpful to you! Please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have other questions!




One very important thing to keep in mind when you want to get tight and stay tight from the beginning of a squat, is to not rush the set-up.

When Chris gets under the bar, his shoulders aren’t locked back and down properly. His upper back is not tight enough, so when he un-racks the bar, he is already at a disadvantage. Remember that there is no hurry for performing your squat. I realize that some of you may not especially like getting under the bar, and just kind of want to get things over with. But don’t rush that part of the set-up.

Go slow to get under the bar. Don’t be a sloth. But make your set-up mechanical if you must. Set your hands. Draw your shoulder blades back and down. Lock everything into position. Without losing tightness in your back, bring yourself under the bar, and lift your chest up. Bury the bar into your traps, look up, take a deep breath, and stand straight up.

Always let the weight settle for a moment before walking out.


One thing that I do like, is that he stays in his heels the whole time, and begins the descent with his hips.

However, this is something I see in a lot of other squatters as well – you have to remember to arch your back, and use your glutes.

In this video, he only has 135 on the bar, so it’s a pretty easy weight for him. Had the bar been loaded more, his back would likely take a big hit from the way it is positioned.

(NOTE: Chris mentioned to me that he has tight IT bands and hips, which would definitely make sense given the way his back is positioned. Another indicator of very tight hips is the inability to arch during a bench press. I will give some mobility/warm-up ideas at the end of this article that can be used by anyone who is having a difficult time getting and keeping an arch in the back.)

The arch is important because it allows your back to be fully contracted during the movement. With no arch, the likeliness for becoming loose in the low back when the weight gets heavy is much higher.

Having an arch will also allow you to engage your glutes more, and really sit back into the squat.

If you cannot feel your glutes totally contracted on the lock-out, and if you cannot feel them moving on the ascent, that means they aren’t fired correctly, and chances are, you’re not using them much at all.

The glutes are the LARGEST muscles in your body. And the strongest. To not incorporate them in a squat wouldn’t make sense. But it goes to show that sometimes, staying in your heels does not always indicate that you are using your glutes and hamstrings. The squat in this video is still very much quad-dominant.

While the weight is in his heels, much of the lock-out power is coming from his quads/knees.

Which brings me to saying, DON’T LOCK OUT WITH THE KNEES!

You literally have to think of humping the air at the top, and squeezing your glutes as tight as you can. This is made easier once the glutes have been properly activated prior to squatting.

As a final pointer, always remember to keep the knees OUT. Force them to the sides. If you find that this is difficult, maybe try changing your stance up. Your knees may not be properly tracking with the feet. You can find out what foot width and toe point is best for you when you get into a bodyweight squat. If the knees track in line with the feet, you’re good to go.


It’s important to breathe through the stomach when performing squats. The tendency is to take a deep breath through the chest (while thinking “chest up), but this limits the amount of oxygen, and also the length of time you have holding it. If you have to grind through a heavy squat, you want to make sure you don’t pass out from lack of oxygen (since you are holding your breath during this time).

Always remember to breathe deep at the beginning of each rep, contract your abs, and hold the breath throughout the movement. One exception is letting out a little air with a “tsss” sort of sound to release pressure on the way up, or when you get stuck (hope that makes sense). This way you are ensuring that you don’t pass out from the pressure build-up.

Don’t let out all your air at the top, because this can also pre-exhaust you. Breathe normally, and always take air before you descend. Otherwise you can get loose at the bottom, since you’re like a deflated balloon at that point.


Much of the issues with having a quad-dominant squat can be solved with frequent stretching, mobility, and activation work.

Before squatting, try to take your time warming up. The following exercises are fantastic for activating the glutes, and getting to know what it feels like to really squeeze the glutes throughout the movement:

  • Banded clamshells
  • Banded good-mornings
  • X-band walks
  • Single-leg glute bridges
  • Glute thrusts (between two benches)

For reference, Bret Contreras has some excellent videos and material on youtube if you want some ideas for different exercises. My general recommendation is 1-3 sets of 15-25 reps per exercise.

Yes, per exercise.

I take my glute warm-ups quite seriously these days.

As for mobility work, this is the video I refer to constantly when it comes to warming up my hips:

I’d say at least 5-10 minutes of hip mobility drills is necessary pre-squatting. I also recommend 10 minutes of mobility work first thing in the morning for you plywood folks.

“What about foam rolling?”

Foam rolling is okay. Most people can afford to skip it, and save it for after squats. Use it if you are quite sore or stiff. But don’t over-do it.

ALL static stretching should be left for after you are finished squatting.
If you have flexibility issues, make sure to stretch for a minimum of 10 minutes post-training.

As a final side-note with warm-ups, please…for the love of everything good in this world…STOP FOAM ROLLING YOUR IT BANDS!!

I know. Shocking.

I advocated it in the past. Lots of fitness gurus advocate it. But my RMT would chop my head off if he ever saw me doing it again.

The reason being, your IT bands are just that…bands. They are not muscles. When you do soft tissue work on a muscle, it breaks up scar tissue and helps loosen up the stiff muscles. However, when you try to do soft tissue work on your IT band with a foam roller, you are only compressing the band even further, causing more tightness and more pain in your hips. The IT band needs to be stretched, not compressed.

If you are suffering from very tight IT bands, please keep this in mind. As tempting as it is when they are sore, don’t massage them or roll them with a PVC/rumble roller. Stretch them out.

Thank you!!

(NOTE: Sorry I have to cut this is a little short. I’d love to go off on a tangent, but I have to get to work.

If anyone has further questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below. Give me your thoughts, and I’ll see what I can do with em!)

Baby Got Back: Lats Edition

1 Jul

My sincerest apologies, comrades. This particular post isn’t about derrieres.

What a shame.

Instead, we are here to talk about the other “back” – your lats.

A strong, developed back equates stronger lifts and better posture, as well as helping you to develop that beloved “V-taper” that so many seek. And for those women who do not have a natural hourglass figure, building up the lats (as well as the shoulders) can help give the appearance of one.

In other words, a well-developed back is sexy as hell.


What some people (women mostly) don’t realize however, is that they are training their back wrong. These are the same people that have been exercising for awhile and doing everything to get their backs to grow and develop a better shape, but have either plateaued or just can’t figure out what it is they aren’t doing right.

Let’s just take genetics completely out of the picture for now and talk about the average person. ANYONE can build a prize-winning back if they understand some basic mechanics and have the desire to bust their asses a little harder.

A little bit of throwback for you: There was a time when I had quite an average-looking back for a girl. Skinny fat, barely any muscle at all. Within a year though, I managed to add quite a bit of size to my back, and within 3.5 years have had people asking me how to develop theirs more.

Four years of back progress. 2009-2013.

Four years of back progress. 2009-2013.

So if your back is troubling you, I’m here to help.

Sections of this article (in the following order) will be:

  • Muscle activation and engagement
  • Mobility work
  • Rep ranges, weight, and other specifics
  • Exercise list
  • Program planning


Just like any other muscle, activating the muscles of the upper back prior to training is important for ensuring that you are working them to their full potential. Since your arms act as straps with all back exercises, the tendency is to put too much focus on the arms pulling the weight rather than the muscles in your back pulling the weight.

If you observe someone doing a pull-up or a chin-up for the first time, you will notice that all the force appears to be generating from their shoulders, biceps, and forearms. Thus reducing the power of the movement, causing excess stress to the tendons and ligaments, and excluding the focus muscle group from the exercise.

To properly perform a pullup or chin-up, the lats need to be activated and engaged. Sinking the neck and head into the shoulder blades and allowing your shoulders to shrug at the bottom is not only a good way to get injured, but also once again takes the back quite a bit out of the movement.


The muscles in the back are built through pulling movements. So what happens when your back is not engaged in the exercise? Your arms do all the work. Which is why many people complain that their arms give out before their back does.

Remember that with back exercises, you are trying to work the back. The arms should play a part (obviously), but should not be the focus muscle group.


The muscles in the upper back are activated by a few things: light stretching, contractions, and mobility work (more on that in the next section). Engaging the muscles after all warm-ups have been completed is mostly limited to something called your “mind-to-muscle connection”.

The MTMC This is something I first learned from Kai Greene during the beginning of my journey into weightliting. Putting direct mental focus on the muscle you are working in the movement, ESPECIALLY when you are training a muscle group that directly affects other muscle groups (deadlifts, rows, squats, pullups, etc.), is the key to proper engagement of said muscle.

Kai Greene - 09 -

Just like the example I gave earlier with the pullups, it’s very easy to forget what you are trying to train when other muscle groups are involved to complete the movement.

Another example: If you are doing a deadlift, forgetting that the legs generate most of the power in the movement is a recipe for back rounding and a poor lock-out. It also places a lot of unnecessary stress on your back, when your legs could be doing so much of the movement if you had them properly engaged.

No leg involvement here.

No leg involvement here.

Activation in and of itself is simply not enough. You MUST visualize the muscle before AND during the movement. When you are doing rows, do not think of pulling the arms back. Think of retracting and contracting your lats/shoulder blades to pull the weight. This places nearly all the focus on your back, with your arms just there to hold the weight.

That is what you want.

So remember: Visualize, visualize, visualize. Think to yourself “lats”. Remind yourself that you need to be feeling them during the movement. If your back is sore the next day and your arms are not too different, you’ll know that you have engaged your muscles properly.


All mobility and activation work should be done prior to your upper body sessions. It’s extremely important to make this a regular part of your training program to ensure you are breaking down scar tissue, improving circulation, activating your muscles, and improving flexibility – all of which helps to prevent injury and leads to more weight being lifted, and thus, more muscle being built.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that these are warm-up exercises. Take things slow and work at your own pace, according to your individual flexibility and mobility.

First exercise: Wall Slides

Pic source: T-nation

Pic source: T-nation

Helps to:

  • Improve posture
  • Activate the muscles in the upper back
  • Improve scapular and shoulder mobility
  • Strengthen external rotators
  1. Start by contracting your shoulder blades and standing up against a wall.
  2. Bring your arms to about parallel at a 90 degree angle, keeping your rear delts, head, forearms, and the backs of your hands on the wall.
  3. Focusing on keeping your arms, back, and head against the wall through the whole movement, slowly raise your arms as high as you can until you reach a point of moderately uncomfortable resistance. Hold for a few seconds, and then lower back to starting position.
  4. Repeat several times, and try to raise your arms a little higher every time.

Exercise #2: Scapular Push-Ups

Serratus-2Helps to:

  • Stabilize the shoulders
  • Strengthen the serratus anterior
  1. Begin by assuming a regular full push-up position, hands a little wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Keeping your arms and the rest of your body straight, slowly lower your chest by sinking in with your shoulder blades. You should feel a light contraction at the bottom.
  3. Hold for a moment, and then raise yourself back up to starting position and repeat.

Exercise #3: Band Pull-Aparts

Pic source: T-Nation

Pic source: T-Nation

Helps to:

  • Teach proper scapular contration
  • Strengthen external rotators
  • Stretch the pec minors (very important for improving shoulder mobility)
  • Activate the muscles in the upper back
  1. Hold a band or rubber tube with straight arms, a wide grip, and arm’s length out. Keep the band at eye-level.
  2. Slowly pull apart the band out and down, contracting your shoulder blades at the same time. Focus on your rear delts and traps. They should be contracted hard in this position.
  3. Bring back to start and repeat.


So now that we have covered the grand importantness (new word) of muscle activation, mobility work, and engagement, we can go over some fun stuff.

Like how you should be lifting and stuff.

I’ll give you a hint: it starts with H, and ends with Y.

If you’re a smart cookie, you will have guessed HEAVY. If not, you probably need this article more than anyone.

The back is built through HEAVY lifting. Just like your legs, your back is working all day. In order to properly stimulate growth, you need to overload the muscles. This is done through heavy weight training, and lower reps.

If there is one man in bodybuilding that I have the utmost respect for, it’s Dorian Yates. His style of training and work ethic is absolutely incomparable. Nobody has denser muscle than he did. His trick? Heavy weights, lower reps. Some forced reps.


This is how you build a thick, dense, powerful back. Leave high rep ranges out of the picture if your goal is putting on some serious muscle density in this area. The lats especially respond well to lower rep ranges and heavy weight.

The lats also respond remarkably well to forced rep work, including “cheating” reps. Using a little bit of momentum to get in a couple more reps is a long-kept “secret” from the great bodybuilders in the old times. Arnold believed that cheating reps with bicep curls was the key to big biceps. And just the same, cheating reps every now and then with your heavy back workouts can be the key to making those wings explode.

Forced reps cause serious overload to the muscles, and in turn help to build more muscle. Luckily, cheating reps with back exercises are relatively safe so long as you aren’t throwing yourself halfway across the gym.

All of that being said, I generally recommend that people stick to the 5-8 rep range for back work, with about 4 working sets per exercise.  Keep the volume high and the weight heavy, with some forced/cheating reps thrown in once a week for some extra overload.

Now, when I say heavy weight, I mean HEAVY. You should not be able to get up to 8 reps easily unless you are doing a warm-up. If you’re not prepared to make some seriously contorted faces, you’re probably not prepared to grow a bigger back.


Want to touch on something else that is also extremely important for muscle activation and engagement throughout the movement. The way you grip the bars/handles is very important.

If you are grabbing with your thumb wrapped around the bar/handle, you are already involving your arms too much in the movement. In order to really place the focus on your back and away from your tendons/arms, start adopting a thumbless grip for all of your back exercises.


This not only engages your back more, it also improves your grip strength. If you find that your grip is failing before anything else however, feel free to use straps. They are a wonderful tool for pulling movements.


My top favorite back exercises (in no particular order):

  1. Rack Pulls (below knee, or knee level)
  2. Deadlifts (Snatch-grip for more trap/upper back emphasis)
  3. Face Pulls
  4. Seated Close-Grip Rows
  5. One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  6. Kroc Rows
  7. Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns
  8. Corner Rows

NOTE: I never do wide-grip pulldowns. Why? Because I find that it is damaging to the shoulders. I always suggest a medium grip, close grip being the most preferable. Very little shoulder involvement and less chance for rotator cuff injury.


I’d love to put together a sample plan, but time restrictions will not allow me to at this time.

However, I have a few recommendations for you when putting together a program.

  1. Start with compound movements FIRST. Make these the heaviest. Always start with things such as rack pulls or deadlifts, and keep the reps low and the weight high.
  2. Do not go to failure every workout. Keep the weight heavy for your exercises, but try not to always work to failure. This can work against you. Leave an extra rep or two in the tank.
  3. Warm up for 10 minutes prior to each upper body workout.
  4. Stretch after every session. Every. Session. Pec minors, rotators, upper back, lower back, triceps, biceps.
  5. VISUALIZE! Can’t stress enough how important this part is.


If you are doing everything I have recommended, and STILL cannot seem to add any muscle, I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you are eating like a 15 year old girl. So yeah. Eat more.

Happy training!!



Relieving Back Tension: A Balanced Routine

27 Apr


Before I even get into writing about what this post is regarding, I just have to share this picture of a non-dairy ice cream purchase I made today:


It is was awesome. While it lasted.

Okay. Back on topic.

(NOTE: I am actually half drunk, so please forgive me if something went unexplained throughout this blog post. It’s Friday night and I bought myself a special wine glass for $1 at Wal-Mart. I had to kill the whole bottle…don’t judge me.)

I have been talking about doing a lower back tension relief article/video for a couple of weeks and I have finally gotten around to it. I am posting the video first, so that I can break down each exercise in order.

All of these stretches will help you to:

  1. Relieve tension
  2. Relieve back DOMS
  3. Increase flexibility
  4. Increase circulation


PLEASE keep in mind to go at your OWN pace. If for some reason you are not flexible enough to do the ranges of motion that I have done in this video, adjust it to your own experience level. Do NOT try to rush these stretches.

I sped these up somewhat, but you should generally hold each stretch for about 30 seconds to reap the full benefits. This routine can be done once all the way through, or twice, or however many times you want to do it.

Again, go at your own pace and adjust the stretches when and where needed to suit your own individual fitness level.


Remember to breathe DEEP during each stretch. Breathe in through your nose, and exhale lightly through your mouth. Breathe through your stomach and not your chest, attempting to deepen each breath. This will really help you relax your muscles further.

A glass of red wine helps too. 😉

So without further ado, here is the video. Please excuse my nappy appearance.

STRETCH #1: The Cat/Cow Pose

Not sure what cows have to do with this pose but whatever.

In this pose, you will start on all fours. On the inhale, you will curve your spine down (hyperextending), and at the same time raise your head and chest. Really open up through the chest and take in a deep breath.

On the exhale, you’re going to think of pulling your belly into your spine and rounding the back. The neck and head follow and are dropped towards the floor as you get a nice stretch through the upper back. Repeat.

STRETCH #2: Child’s Pose

This stretch is extremely relaxing for the spine. You will be sitting back through your hips onto your bent knees, and reaching forward through the finger tips to loosen up your upper back. The head and neck stay down. After feeling a good stretch in the upper back, completely relax your upper back and arms and allow yourself to sit nicely into the stretch. Again, breathe deep. With ever exhale you should feel yourself relaxing even further.

STRETCH #3: Cobra

Pressing through your palms, raise your chest high into the air, focusing on keeping your feet straight and your hips on the floor as much as possible. Raise yourself only as high as you can to get a great stretch in the lower back and hip flexors.

STRETCH #4: Downward Facing Dog

From the Cobra stretch, come up onto your toes and press your hips back and up into the air. If a close stance is hard, try keeping your feet wider apart and focus on slowly working your feet in closer together until you can keep them close with your heels pressed into the ground.

Doing some extra shoulder stretching and mobility work as well as hamstring stretching prior to this will really help you to nail this pose more. (NOTE: I actually didn’t get a chance to before I did this video so my back wasn’t as straight as it normally is, but you get the idea.)

Try to make sure you are not wearing see-through leggings while doing this stretch. Or on second thought, never mind that. You sexy beasts, you.

STRETCH #5: Lying Hip Flexor Stretch

I don’t actually know what this one is called. But it’s good.

Sitting on your feet, lay back as far as you can, preferably with your shoulders flat against the floor. If your hip flexors are still too tight to do this, you can also rest on your palms or elbows until you can work yourself down to the floor. Breathe deep.

STRETCH #6: Back Bend

Place your hands by your ears about shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor. From this position, press into your palms and your heels at the same time to raise your body in the air. Go as high as you can and hold.

Pushing your head further through your arms and towards your glutes will help you to get an even deeper stretch.

Be careful when coming out of this stretch. Walk your feet out slowly and lower yourself to the ground in a controlled manner.

STRETCH #7: Knee Pulls

Bend one leg, and have the other extended. Grasp the bent leg behind the knee and pull it as close as you can to your body. Stay relaxed, breathe deep, and just allow yourself to really stretch out your lower back. Repeat on the other leg, and then grasp both legs behind the knees and pull yourself into a ball, breathing and relaxing your spine. Release slowly.


As said before, I recommend holding each stretch (except for the cat/cow pose) for at least 30 seconds. This routine can be repeated as many times as you’d like. I usually do it 2-3 times and it works like a charm.


If you need help figuring out how to make a certain pose/stretch easier, just let me know in the comments and I will help you out. Stretching is all about working at your own pace. You never want to rush or try to stretch in a way that you know you are not capable of. This puts you at a big risk for injury, which is exactly OPPOSITE of what we are trying to accomplish!!

I hope this post helps and gives some of you with tight backs and idea of what to do for loosening up, improving your flexibility, and relieving tightness. I also hope my explanations were understandable enough. If not, let me know!

Train safe – and, as the yogi’s say: “Namaste!!”

King Cobra pose

King Cobra pose

Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Why It Happens, and How You Can Help It

27 Mar


If you don’t know what your iliotibial band is, try rolling the side of your leg with a PVC pipe. You’ll find out real quick.

Out of all the complaints you will hear most often in any sort of athletic activity, “I have pain in my knee(s)” is the most prevalent. This usually ranges anywhere from a very sharp and stabbing pain, to a dull ache, to just plain old discomfort.

Now, it’s easy to just look for the simplest reasoning possible and pin your pain on that – but it’s not always the most accurate. In order to find out what is actually going on, understanding the various different muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the leg – or any body part/area –  is important for pin-pointing what caused the pain and where the pain is actually coming from.

Just as with runners and cyclists, superficial knee pain is extremely common among weightlifters as well. And it is usually do to an imbalance rather than simply performing a movement in the wrong fashion and ending up with knee pain. But let me break down for you first what goes on in your leg every time you bend your knee.

What is the IT band?

The IT band is a strip of fascia that stretches from the top of the hip down to the knee, and inserts into an area outside of the knee just below the knee joint known as the lateral tibial tubercle (LTT; or, “Gerdy’s tubercle”). The IT band basically acts as a force transmitter from the hip down to the knee.

When you are bending and extending your knee, the IT band’s position changes. When your leg is bent at a 30 degree angle, it goes into what is called the “impingement zone”, and that’s where most of the friction happens. If there is too much friction going on it causes inflammation. This in turn can lead to scar tissue being formed, and/or tissue degeneration. As an example, in the case of a cyclist or runner, repetitive motion causes a lot of friction in this area, which is why so many distance runners experience ITBS, also occasionally referred to as “runner’s knee”. In essence, ITBS is an overuse injury. 

So while most people would think the solution to be rest, massage, stretching, etc., this seems to only delay symptoms, but not actually target the real problem. In addition to these things, rehabilitation exercises must also  be performed to strengthen the supporting muscles.

When an area on your body is weak, the nearest muscles will attempt to jump in and perform the movement in place of the weaker one(s). For example, if you have very weak hamstrings and stronger quads, when performing a squat the tendency will be to shift forward onto the toes, which would place the emphasis on the front half of your body rather than your posterior chain. The body knows nothing about form or technique – it only cares about getting the weight up no matter what. So where one area is weak, another area will try to act in its place.

Now, there is a little-known hip abductor muscle known as the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) which aids in pelvic stability and the bracing of your knee, for example when the opposite foot is lifted. This muscle will also attempt to compensate for a weakened gluteus medius and minimus, should the situation arise. The TFL is actually directly connected to the IT band. As a result, if there is direct stress being placed on the TFL, the stress will transfer to the IT band, which will then transfer the pain to your knee.

Anterior_Hip_Muscles_2 (1)

See where this is going?

Essentially, strengthening the glutes and hips, as well as freeing up your tight IT band will result in less pain (provided the injury is superficial).

Regardless if you are uncertain as to what is causing the knee pain, strengthening the glutes and hips will always be beneficial, and 9 times out of 10 will also be the solution to your discomfort during training (running, cycling, squatting, etc.) or at rest.

This is why it is very important to understand every area of your body and the way it operates so that you can look not only for temporary solutions, but long-term solutions. Rehabilitation through proper assessment of weak-points and targeted exercises is the best way to help prevent injuries from recurring. This could take anywhere from a week to several weeks, but as long as you are committed, the relief will come.

So – what are some steps you can take towards strengthening the glutes and hips?

The first step, obviously, is to stop doing what is causing you pain. If you are having a lot of pain in your knees while squatting, I recommend you stop squatting. This doesn’t mean forever, it means temporarily – at least until you have strengthened the weak areas a little. Perform movements that do not cause pain to prevent further inflammation.

Next steps:

  • Mobility work. This needs to be performed before every lower body training session, and for 5-10 minutes or so every morning.
  • Rehabilitation exercises focusing on the lateral hip, pelvic stabilization, and glutes.
  • Foam rolling the IT band at least 2-3x per week.

Recommended mobility routine to follow (lateral hip/glutes):

  • Lateral Leg Raises
  • Clam Shells
  • Pelvic Drops
  • Hip Thrusts With One Leg Elevated
  • X-Band Walks
  • Iron Cross

If you are experiencing pain currently, or it is on and off, you can do this routine every day if you’d like. I’d recommend 25-40 reps per movement, 1-3 sets. If you have experienced pain before and don’t currently have it, I would still recommend doing this for general prevention, glute activation, and stability.

In addition, hip flexor mobility should be performed on a daily basis, regardless of pain being present or not.

Recommended hip flexor mobility exercises:

  • Cossacks
  • Pigeon
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Hip Swings
  • Walking Lunges
  • Glute Stretch With One Leg Out-Stretched
  • Frog Walks


Other exercises:

  • Cable Hip Abductions
  • Pistol Squats
  • Glute bridges
  • Split Squats (Bulgarian or regular)

Of course, you will want to make sure to be stretching the glutes as well. Roll these along with your IT band to help break down and prevent new scar tissue from forming.




In general, so long as exercises (mobility and rehab) are performed consistently, you should see significant progress within the first 2 weeks.

Happy training!!


Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 10:169–175 Linderburg G, Pinshaw R, Noakes TD. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners. Phys Sportsmed 1984;12:118–130

R Khaund, M.D. and S Flynn, M.D., Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Common Source of Knee Pain, the American Academy of Family Physicians, April 15, 2005.

Beers, A., Ryan, M., Kasubuchi, Z., Faser, S., Tauton, J.E., 2008. Effects of multimodal physiotherapy, including hip abductor strengthening, in patients with iliotibial band friction syndrome. Physiotherapy Can. 60:180-188.)


Questions? Observations? Leave me a comment below.