I have found, through many years of research, that a lot of athletes have a similar problem. They have an imbalance in the muscles of their legs. This is becoming less and less of a problem among athletes because research has shown how it can hinder their performance and changes are being made. However, it is becoming more and more of an issue among the average adult.
Prolonged sitting and improper training of the muscle groups can cause tightness or weakness in either the quadriceps (the fronts of the thighs) or the hamstrings (the backs of the thighs). When one of these muscle groups are tight, the other can become weakened and vice versa. There has to be a balance between the two.
When you have tight quads, for example, it can pull on the knee cap causing knee swelling, pain, and sometimes popping. A lot of knee injuries and knee problems often come from an imbalance in the muscles of the thighs. The best way to fix this is by strengthening both the quads and the hamstrings equally
The quadriceps are the agonist muscles of the thigh and they extend the knee. These muscles can be strengthened with the following:
The antagonists of the thigh are the hamstrings. They flex the knee and can be strengthened with the following:
Leg Extensions (back)
Kettle Bell Swing
As always, it important to balance both the agonist and antagonist muscle groups in order to maintain proper alignment and balance. When you build your workout routine, you want to make sure that if you are doing 4 moves to strengthen your quads, you must also do 4 moves to strengthen your hamstrings.
Don't forget to stretch! Stretching helps loosen these muscles in order to avoid tightening. Increasing flexibility in both muscle groups is just as important as strengthening them. Make sure you are stretching when your muscles are warm and stretch them gently. You can even use a foam roller to gently roll out tight muscles and increase flexibility.
I hope that this post has motivated you to get up and get active today! Let me know if you have any questions.
Until next time,