Ways to strengthen and release the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle

As promised, in the next couple of posts, we would touch on some ways you could strengthen and release the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle and the Iliotibial band (ITB).

Now that the Tour Down Under is on the way, hope all you cyclists pay attention to this!


The easiest and most effective way for releasing the ITB would be to use a foam roller. Although there is conflicting evidence as to whether foam rolling would physiologically increase tissue extensibility of the ITB, what I have observed clinically is that most of my clients would report of reduced pain and increased range of motion after roughly a week of foam rolling. Now, as the ITB is a thickened band of fascia and not a muscle, it would not relax as readily compared to a muscle. Therefore, more attention should be given to the ITB during your daily foam rolling routine. A good practice would be to also release a muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL). This muscle is connected to the ITB and would put additional stress onto the ITB if it were overly tight.

  • Lie on your right side with foam roller under your right hip
  • Support your body weight using your right forearm
  • Place your left hand on the ground for balance
  • You can choose to place both legs parallel on top of the foam roller, or to bend the top leg and place it on the ground in front of you
  • Starting from the top of your hips, start rolling in small segments all the way down to the knee
  • Keep rolling for approximately 5 minutes holding down on sore spots for 20 seconds (Note: If sore spots do not reduce, move on to another area and re-visit at a later stage)
  • Repeat on the other side
  • Perform release daily

Stay tuned for our next post as we teach you how to strengthen your VMOs.