Introducing Muscle of the Month: Tensor Fascia Latae/Iliotibial Tract

Ever wonder what muscles you use when you’re walking or maybe when you’re making dinner or doing chores around the house? Perhaps you’ve always wondered why a certain muscle flares up when you’ve been sitting for a long period of time. 

At Spears Strong, we not only want to get fit and have fun while doing it but we also want to inform you about those very muscles you’re using in every workout and in day to day life. Massage Therapist and Trainer Sara Stevens will walk you through a new muscle each month, highlighting everything from what the muscle does to how to relieve tension in that muscle and how we use that muscle in Spears Strong workouts. 

We hope you will find the Muscle of the Month, MOM as we’re calling it, informative and interesting.

Sara Stevens

Tensor Fascia Latae muscle and the Iliotibial Tract is highlighted. Photo by:

Tensor Fascia Latae muscle and the Iliotibial Tract is highlighted. Photo by:

Muscle of the Month, "MOM": Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL)/Iliotibial tract (IT band)

Location: Outer hip. Find the pointy part of the front of your hip, then move your hand back slightly toward your rear. This is the top of TFL. Now move your hand down your leg, pressing lightly into the muscle until it begins to feel tougher and has less give.

This is where TFL runs into the IT tract. If you continue to follow the IT tract down the leg, it will end at the outside of the bottom of your knee.

What’s it do? Flexes the hip (brings knee/thigh up toward your nose), medially rotates the hip (turns knee and front of thigh inward), abducts the hip (takes leg away from the body sideways).

Day to day use: We use TFL when we are walking, running, climbing stairs, and doing femur rotations and ruep kicks, to name a few Spears Strong moves. When we are sitting, TFL is passively shortened, meaning the muscle fibers are hanging out at the short end of their range without any effort from you. 

Why it might hurt sometimes: The TFL and IT tract can get tight and/or inflamed with long periods of sitting, or when running or cycling regularly without any cross training.

Often the diagnosis is IT band syndrome, and will be felt at the outside of the knee. Spears Strong training can help you prevent injuries like this. The workouts you do help “get the chair out of your body”, by activating all of your muscles, helping you build range of motion and strength evenly, keeping you moving efficiently and injury free.