Transcript below of: Which Postures Strengthen Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL)?
Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. You know I answer one every month. You can submit a question if you want to. Go to: yoganatomy.com/myquestion if you’ve got a burning question that you want me to answer here on video. This month’s question is about how to strengthen tensor fascia latae.
So this question comes from Janine and it says:
“I have been reading about the tensor fascia latae muscle and the iliotibial tract. What movements/postures in yoga could strengthen them? Also [I’ve been reading] that they are the primary structures of self-containment in the human body.”
Ummm, well, the last part there Janine, “primary structures of self-containment in the human body”, I’ve never heard that before. I’m sure if I read what you had read I would maybe understand the context around that statement a little bit better. But, I’m not familiar with that, so I’m going to try to avoid commenting on that part.
But, the next thing is we have to be careful with these, sort of very popular muscles. In your case, you’ve read about tensor fascia latae and so what starts to happen is everything becomes about tensor fascia latae and how do I strengthen it. Be careful with that, you know.
One of the popular muscles is psoas, so for a while everything was about psoas and how everyone needs a stronger psoas – strengthen your core, and all that stuff. Then it was piriformis. Oh piriformis is a problem and makes everybody’s back hurt and causes sciatica. Everybody focused on piriformis. At the moment, glutes is really big. Everybody’s focused on glutes, for example your glutes are too weak or your glutes are too tight. Everybody’s got weak glutes. Your jaw hurts, so it must be your glutes. We have this tendency to do this because naturally our mind is looking for answers. We want to understand something so we kind of fall into these, sort of, traps.
You might be slipping into a tensor fascia latae trap. Tensor fascia latae is not a muscle that lives by itself in a vacuum. If you fix that muscle, strengthen tensor fascia latae, that’s not going to fix anything in particular. It lives together with other muscles. That’s true of all of them: psoas, piriformis, glutes. Fixing one of those muscles by itself is not going to be everybody’s solution to a problem. You have to understand that everything is in balance. If you over-stretch, over-strengthen, or over-tighten your tensor fascia latae, relative to other tissues, you’re going to cause problems, just like people do when they over-engage their glutes or over-tighten their psoas. So, be careful with that.
In terms of yoga and how to strengthen tensor fascia latae, it’s not the easiest of muscles to strengthen. It’s a hip flexor and it also internally rotates the leg. So, the pose that comes to mind the most that’s going to add strength to it is anytime you’re lifting your leg. Right? Because remember, muscles need a resistance to tighten or contract against. So, if you’re doing a leg raise, if you rotate your leg in slightly, that’s going to add even more contraction to it. Think boat pose. Boat pose is a great one. In fact, a lot of people end up in boat pose with spasm in their tensor fascia latae. That pain that you feel just off to the side of your hip, that’s tensor fascia latae because you’re doing both flexion and squeezing your legs together and internally rotating them.
Alright? If you really want to go strengthen tensor fascia latae, and I’m not necessarily suggesting that to you, but if you really want to do that, work those boats!
Alright everyone. If you’ve got a question, remember yoganatomy.com/myquestion.
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David answers a question about how to strengthen the tensor fascia latae. He explains how the tensor fascia latae works in balance with other muscles in the body and reminds us that strengthening is not always the answer.