Looking after your quads
Looking after the guys that look after you…
No, I don’t mean the amazing coaching staff at Perpetua, though we need looking after too. I’m talking about your powerhouses. The guys that get you up and over the box. The team that propel the bar over your head in your snatch. Whether you’re running, jumping or squatting your quads are in big demand, so its just as well they’re one of the largest muscle groups in the entire body. But…with great power comes great responsibility and your quads are no exception. They need close care and attention to be maintained properly and a lazy attitude towards looking after your quads can lead to nasty results.
The quads are made up of four muscles as seen above. The Rectus Femoris, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius and the Vastus Lateralis. The main risk of not looking after your quads lies with your knees. When our quads get tight it can affect our patella and how it tracks within your knee. Results; pain when squatting, running, jumping, walking and potentially any flexion or extension really. Additionally, poorly maintained quads will simply not function as well as they could. It doesn’t take a genius to see that when this happens it can directly affect our performance and numbers within the gym, whether its our squatting, Oly lifting or even with metabolic conditioning workouts where you can expect to feel fatigue in your thighs much faster than you otherwise might.
Ok, so that’s a pretty compelling case to look after these guys, how do we do it?
First off, you can’t get much better than some expert hands-on treatment. Enter Mesut our newest recruit into the community who knows his stuff when it comes to maintaining bodies. Especially bodies placed under the sort of demands that strength and conditioning work puts on them. I’m talking work under large loads, explosive movements and long sustained muscular endurance demands. The guy is legit, and I’m for sure going to get myself in front of him on a regular basis to make sure I’m staying balanced and functional. He put me through a great assessment this week and nailed all my dysfunctions and weaknesses.
Secondly, if you can’t get yourself in front of Mesut, you need to take yourself off into a corner, with a foam roller or even a lacrosse ball and start applying some pressure on those bad boys! Make sure you hit the entire thigh so you’re not neglecting any of the four muscles that much up the quad. Start on the inside of the thigh, work up into the groin and down to the knee. Then onto the main body of the quad and finally onto the outside towards the illiotibial band. If at any stage you feel a particularly painful point, just pause there for 10-15 seconds, maintaining deep breaths until the discomfort eases off, and move onto the next one.
Thirdly, you gotta stretch. You know the one I’m talking about…your friend and mine, the couch street. Ahhhh yeah!!!!
Common mistakes here, don’t feel your knee HAS to touch the wall. If your knee is touching the wall but you cant sit up and get your front leg out in front of you you’re not getting the most out of the stretch. Bring the back knee away, place your front foot into the lunge position, sit up with your same arm above your head and gently squeeze the glute of the leg you’re stretching. Boom…now we’re talking!!
Lastly…get down to our athlete’s yoga classes on Saturday mornings with Hannah! It’s not just our quads that need maintaining. The athlete’s yoga classes take a look at all the key parts of the body we use throughout the week and gives them the attention they need to stay functional. If you’ve not been yet check it out. I guarantee it’ll highlight areas of tightness and dysfunctions that you may or may not have realised were there.
So there you have it. 4 great ways to look after your powerhouses and 2 pretty good reasons why that is a very good idea.