Side Leg Lifts and IT Band Stretches

SideLegLiftsSide leg lifts work the hips, glutes and thighs. They are appropriate for any level. If you have a collagen disorder like EDS or MCAD, be careful not to hyper-extend yourself when doing these exercises and stay in normal range of motion, while keeping your leg and foot in line with your body.

I also demonstrate a couple of different stretches for your IT bands, which run along the outer portion of the rear thigh and tend to get pretty tight on those of us with degenerative disc disease, collagen disorders and connective tissue diseases. Remember, stretching is only a good idea for areas of tightness with collagen disorders, as stretching extends the length of the tendons and ligaments, it does not loosen muscle. I’ve also found that blasting along the IT band helps some, but my thighs are still terribly fascia bound and it’s really hard to get deep enough with thighs as heavy as mine, so I haven’t really been working on them much. I’m hoping that I’ll have more success as I lose weight.

For full instruction on the side leg lift, see this video:

You can also perform the side leg lift standing, which makes it convenient and easy to do anywhere, so long as you have the core to support it. To perform the standing side leg raise, stand next to a chair or wall and hold on for support. Transfer your weight to your right leg then lift your left leg out to the side at a comfortable level. Return to the starting position in a slow, controlled manor. Complete the desired number of repetitions. Then repeat the exercise with your right leg. Switch legs and repeat until you have completed all your sets. Of course if you have POTS or NMH or are deconditioned and have difficulty staying on your feet for very long, it may be best to do them lying on your side.

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