TFL Pretzel

The tensor fasciae latae or TFL for short functions as a hip and pelvis stabilizer during walking. It also is helps to abduct the hip and assists with hip flexion. This muscle attaches from the lateral side of the pelvis between the ASIS (pointy bone by your hip pocket) and the gluteus medius then travels toward your knee to attach to the iliotibial band (IT band). The TFL is often ignored during “hip flexor” stretches but excessive tension in this muscle can lead to pain the knee, hip and low back.

The TFL Pretzel is a PNF style stretch that uses a contract-relax sequence to both lengthen and normalize the tone of this muscle. If you can’t reach back to grasp your ankle in your hand or your hamstrings are fired up, use a strap looped around your top foot. Once you feel a stretch in your upper  and outer thigh and hip press your top knee into your other foot, holding the contraction for 5 seconds then relax and take up the slack by dropping your knee toward the floor and pulling your foot back deepening both the knee flexion and hip extension.

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