Yoga for Runners – Hamstring & IT Band Stretch

Most people know where there hamstrings are, but as a runner there’s a good chance you’re also familiar with where your IT Band is (if not, lucky you!).

Your IT Band is a ligament that runs from your hip down to your shin and it often becomes inflamed or tight in runners and can unfortunately often be the cause of a runners worst nightmare…knee pain.

ITBand

My favorite ways to keep my hamstrings and IT bands happy is foam rolling (which can be quite painful if you have tight IT bands!) and a simple stretch you can do right at home!

For this stretch you’ll need a yoga strap if you have one, if not a belt, dog leash or rolled up towel will work perfectly fine! As you’ll often hear me say when I’m teaching a yoga class, always remember to listen to your body and only go to the point where you feel a gentle stretch, if you feel pain you went too far!

 

PROPS:

  • A yoga strap, belt or towel (I’m using a belt in the pictures below!)

 

HAMSTRING STRETCH:

  • Begin laying on your back with both legs extended out on the ground
  • Bend up your right leg and place the strap, blanket or a rolled up towel around the ball or arch of your right foot
  • Extend the leg with the strap straight up towards the ceiling keeping the foot flexed and leg active
  • Hold and take 3-5 breaths here to lengthen and stretch the hamstring muscle

Hamstring Stretch

 (*Apologies for the puppy photo bomb, but Madison thinks any time I’m on the floor means play time!)

IT BAND STRETCH:

  • Move the strap to your left hand and slowly cross the right leg towards the left side of the body until you feel a gentle stretch on the outside of your right leg (that’s your IT band!)
  • Hold and take 3-5 breaths here to stretch the IT band

IT Band Stretch

Repeat the sequence on the other side!

Done regularly these simple stretches can do wonders for that pesky hamstring and IT band tightness!

What other areas would you like to see stretches for?

Who else has a pet that think stretching & foam rolling means play time?

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a health professional (yet!), only a yoga teacher and fellow runner sharing tips that have worked for me! Please consider your own health circumstances and consult with a doctor if necessary before trying adding anything new to your health & fitness routine!

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14 thoughts on “Yoga for Runners – Hamstring & IT Band Stretch

  1. Oh yes the IT band. I started doing those stretches at PT, plus one more. I have resistance bands at home and I use those to stretch with after I’ve foam rolled.

  2. That looks like a great stretch! I’ll have to give it a try. And yes, our cats like to be what we call “Coach Kitties,” when we’re on the floor doing stretches or exercises. Elsie will sit very close and watch, and Creemee will rub on us or crawl under while we do planks.

  3. Thanks for this! My hamstrings are a constant source of agony for me, and I’ve tried so many different stretches…but not this one! My parents’ Shih Tzu does the same thing; I used to workout in the basement when I still lived at home, and let’s just say his antics made for some interesting crunches and planks, lol.

  4. My calves are always my tightest muscle after running- any stretches for that would be great!! Your little dog is soo cute! The first time I did yoga at my place I spent half the time trying to get my cat to leave me alone hahaha

    • It’s funny, whenever I do this stretch with patients at work they’re like, “I don’t have a yoga strap…” and when I suggest a belt or dog leash their eyes light up and they’re like, “oh, I have that!” Gotta be creative sometimes : )

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