Today – a quick video with some Rehab Training ideas for deactivating your Client’s and your own Hamstrings. This is great for clients with hyper extending knees – turn down those whammies before turning up their quads and glutes!
Keep reading here and for the video: Article
I’m sure you agree that we have spent a good amount of energy trying to improve our Quadricep Quality? Quad tightness, increased VL tone (neural tension), tightness, VMO inhibition and atrophy, etc are all critical. But what if there s one more major ingredient that keeps Quads under-active?
Hamstring overactivity, is what I am speaking about. We teach it on every Rehab Essentials – that the reason so many knees feel great when the Hammies are loosened, that in fact the brain learns to move in such a way that favours the contribution of the Hammie rather than Quad.
In this respect we would call it therefore a “Muscle Imbalance” of the knee – Hamstring dominating Quadriceps.
It would explain why so many people with knee pain are stuck moving through the lower limb in ways that favours the Hamstring. The main movements that favour the Hamstring, and seem to protect the knee (however prevent the Quads from ever really activating and hypertrophying), are when you:
- Lunge or squat through the hip only (Hip Flexion), turning them into a split squat and deadlift. Ever thought about that?
- Hyperextend your knee during walking.
- Over-striding in running
These movements keep the Hamstrings in a high tone, very tight state, making it very easy for the brain to overuse them at the expense of the atrophied Quads.
I’m going to go hunting for some research around this for next week, to see if my idea has any scientific basis for it, or only clinical common sense….
What do you think?
All the best loosening your Hammies for happier Knees!
I hope I didn’t confuse you last week with the ball-squeeze debate… let me say clearly that I believe it is better for activating VMO to have the tubing AROUND THE OUTSIDE of the knees.
This actually increases the activation of the VMO, which shows itself in increased EMG readings (see todays video from 2011 in Iceland where we were trialling different techniques with Physio friends Stefan and Einar). Up to 25% increase in VMO activation happened simply with applying tubing in a medial direction.
Click on the Link to read article and watch video:
Grumpy Quads GQ13
Uh ohhh look out… this one might mess with a few heads because a “sacred cow” is being threatened ….and this one is controversial! Friends, we are talking about whether or not to squeeze a ball together between the knees during squat to help with knee pain. Many fitness and health professionals swear by this.
Research was done in the early 1990’s that kickstarted the idea that co-contraction of the hip adductors and knee extensors may elicit greater VMO activation, as apparently the majority of VMO’s fibers arise from the tendon of adductor magnus. Indeed, this has been previously researched with some encouraging results… whilst other have shown no effect at all.
Keep reading the article and video here:
BALL SQUEEZING FOR GRUMPY QUADS
In all my Physiotherapy days treating knee pain, I was never more grateful for any piece of equipment than for the Leg Press they had in the massive gym next door to our Sports Medicine Clinic at Lutwyche in Brisbane. It was perfect! – the kind that moves your body away from the platform, not the platform moving (less functional I think).
I used it almost every day with all knees – for assessment of everything from 1-5RM strength, though to activation at a basic level, post-operative baseline strength; etc.
Please click on the link to keep on reading and watch the video.
Grumpy Confused Quads
Thank you if you sent in your personal experiences for Switching ON your own quadriceps! Really, really appreciated some of the insights and superb ideas from you.
To begin, here is a small selection that the whole group offered (some very smart Personal Trainers and Injury Specialists out there in our family!):
Please click on the link to keep on reading and watch the video.
Let’s just pause for a deep breath in this series on Grumpy Knees…we have spent a good few newsletters now on Quad releasing, trigger points, R1/R2, and stretching, and how have you found this? Anything new for you? What do you find hardest to do if you have Grumpy Knees?
No video today, instead just want to intro a new direction for us: activation and strengthening of Quads.
The challenging reality we face and discussed earlier was that “Stubborn Quadriceps are surprisingly vulnerable to inhibition and atrophy, and doesn’t like operating when pain and swelling is present. It’s a real Catch-22…weak quads result in knee problems, which result in weak quads. Chicken and egg.”!
And of course we all have some confusion around these issues, like Marissa from Indonesia wrote a while back:
Go to the Rehab Trainer website for the full article:
Hahaha I love bringing some fun into the rather serious world of Rehab – I’m hoping R2D2 might be feeling a lot looser since last session of Myofascial release ;))…. how about you?
But now to KEEP some of that looseness, we need long periods of holding on stretch near the R2 limit. Straight after myofascial release. Use that window of freedom to lock in some longer term changes.
These two passive Quad stretches should be absolutely taught to every client with knee, hip, and low back issues. They each have slightly different values, can you feel the differences?
A few key elements to enhance these intense stretches:
- Check your knees are supported under soft padding if kneeling
- Check your knees don’t feel pain during Quad stretching (although I do sometimes think that the pain felt can be stretching of fascia near the lateral patella..) tricky to know.
- Use pelvis posterior tilt to further enhance the stretch. KEEP your chest up for maximum value.
- Breathe; relax and let go of tightness,
- Hold 30sec at a time, no less! Do 3-4 reps.
How often – Well, how much time you got? No limits, really to how much you do. You could easily do 5 sets per day you know that? Ohh the changes would happen so much faster
Check the Video:
Hopefully your Quality Quads start to loosen before R2D2’s ever will….
R2 mobility? WTF? Sounds like a technique on a certain Star Wars character 😉
All it means is the very limit of a tissue’s extensibility; its true passive end range. Probably some discomfort associated with holding it at this point but not painful (unless you are stretching nerve tissue without realising it).
Muscle and fascia are at full stretch; any “knots” (read Trigger Points aka “Landmines”, or scar tissue) in muscle, fascia and ligaments are holding back the ability of structure to fully lengthen.
Hence today’s big message for loosening muscles effectively:
…do R2 (end range) Myofascial Release FIRST BEFORE before doing R2 Passive Stretching.
Reduce Myofascial “knots” (today’s video) then learn how to do Stretching immediately after (next week) . This rule applies to ANY myofascial tissue, as a matter of fact – if you don’t R2 myofascial release the tissue before R2 stretching, you simply lock in the trigger points further. The knots in the rope analogy applies perfectly:
“Try lengthening that out by pulling at both ends!”
And it applies really well to joint and neural mobility work as well. Myofascial release first, then see what you are left with before attempting the deeper layer of loosening of joints or neural tissue.
So, take yourself up to full stretch of your Quads somehow, listen to how they feel; then do your myofascial work for 3-5 minutes, then repeat and see how much range of movement you have gained!