Coming out of a period of ITBS, I recovered while doing Eric's core strength and stability exercises. I could feel how my muscle balance during runs shifted from quad dominance (and a bit of a butt-out posture) to utilising the glutes and calves more. I also did hip flexor / TFL stretches to ease tension on the ITB. All went well...

Until I sat for a long time again (10 hour drive), after which my right hip (TFL, I guess) got tight again and cause ITBS symptoms to return. It went away after a few days, and returned after another long-ish stretch of sitting.

Here's the question. Are the strengthening exercises supposed to make one less prone to undesired muscle tightness? Or is muscle tightness something that one will need to address before each run? I can't cut out the sitting, as I unfortunately do have an office job.

Any inputs welcome!

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Hey Niel - I would focus on perfect the Fit Ball Lunge sequence.  This is really aimed to target overall muscle imbalances that cause the tightness, and specifically ITBS.

I would also work on these fit ball exercises to compliment the above:

  • knee toggles
  • scorpion
  • windshield wippers 

Since you are sitting a lot, I would also recommend getting a soft ball or baseball and roll your glutes on a frequent basis to help break up the tightness while you work on the imbalances.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Eric, I appreciate the comment. I look forward to incorporating the muscle rolls.

An update from my side:

A visit to a biokineticist revealed that my right leg's internal rotators were very weak compared to my tight external rotators. Consistently foam rolling my hamstrings and glutes, while strengthening my internal rotators (hip flexors and inner quads) has done a lot for balancing the leg and taking unnecessary strain off the compensating muscles.

Eric, have you encountered internal/external rotation imbalances before? Do your exercises look to address these?

Thanks again for the insight. Happy strengthening, all!

Hey Niel,

Thanks for this post. Hip flexors/quad flexors are extremely important. Our body works as a unit so everything is important based on how the body operates and moves.

When running, we have 5 forces that create rotation.  Four of these forces rotate the body ONE way, and the 5th force, creates rotation in the opposite direction.

So essentially every step we take running, there is a 4 against 1 rotational "collision" to keep the body moving forward WELL and stable.

It is the hip flexors, we have 7 of them, that are battling the other 4 rotational forces (stance leg push off(glutei/hamstrings), spine rotators, and both shoulders). 

Therefore, as you commented hip flexor strength and rotational strength is super important to combat the other 4 forces agains this rotation.

So the entire strength program in the book is meant to attack this. As you can see, most all of the perceived upper body exercises include rotational and isometric action to them.  This IS the strength we need to use our body well and as a unit based on these rotational forces. Not lifting heavy weight slowly. Concentric strength is way too slow to be much good for a runner.

One way to test or try out your ability for this is to do two of the exercises:

  • scorpion
  • can opener

And with all of this in mimd, you can begin to see the philosophy behind the entire strength program, upper and lower body.

I will be attacking this further in some future youtube episodes.

Thanks for the great topic.

Epic reply, thanks Eric! I can see your strength program has been based on a solid foundation. Very glad I've stumbled upon it.

Looking forward to those YouTube episodes!

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