Why Does This Hurt Wednesdays? Edition 3

Wednesday already? Here we are again at another Why Does This hurt Wednesday? For this week we are heading down to the lower body and hitting some muscles there. So with that we have the ..............

Quadriceps Femoris aka the Quads

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Quadriceps Femoris Visual

The Quadriceps Femoris is made of four different muscle bellies-- Rectus Femoris, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis, and Vastus Lateralis.

Origin: 

The four different muscle bellies originate in different areas of the thigh.

Rectus Femoris: Anterior Inferior Iliac Spine  (a bony prominence of the pelvis) & Ilium above the acetabulum (another bony portion of the pelvis that is right above the hip joint)

Vastus Intermedius: Front & lateral surface of the femur (thigh bone)

Vastus Medialis: Medial lip of a roughened line on the posterior (back) of the femur (thigh bone) & part of the front of the femur

Vastus Lateralis: lateral fold of fascia in the thigh (inter muscular septum) & Lateral lip of a roughened line on the posterior (back) of the femur (thigh bone)... the most lateral position of the Quads

Insertion:

Rectus Femoris, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis & Vastus Lateralis: Common tendon into the upper border of the patella (knee cap)

Action:

Rectus Femoris: Extends knee aka straightens the leg out & Flexes the hip aka bring knee into chest

Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Medialis & Vastus Lateralis: Extends knee aka straightens the leg out

Exercise:

Beginner:

Squats to Chair

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Starting position: Standing with your feet hip width distance apart, toes pointing forward and a chair behind you that you can sit your butt on to.

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How to get there:  Bend at your hips (hinging forward), stick your butt out behind you. Keeping your core engaged and your weight in your heels slowly start to lower down until your butt touches the chair behind you. (you might need to adjust your feet so the chair is far enough away but not too far.

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End position: Your Butt/thighs should be resting lightly on the chair behind you. Chest up (hands at hips or out in front of you) and core engaged. Press through your heels, squeeze your butt cheeks and drive your hips forward coming to stand

3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Intermediate:

Squats to Parallel

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Starting position: Standing with your feet hip width distance apart, toes pointing forward and a chair behind you that you can sit your butt on to. (Same as Above)

How to get there:  Bend at your hips (hinging forward), stick your butt out behind you. Keeping your core engaged and your weight in your heels slowly start to lower down

End position: Lower down until your thighs become parallel with the ground (using a mirror will help you see if you are parallel). Press through your heels, squeeze your butt cheeks and drive your hips forward coming to stand.

3 sets of 10 repetitions

Lunges

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Starting Position: Start with your right foot in front of your left  about one legs distance apart. with your feet about a hips width distance apart so you don't feel like you are going to tip over. Right foot planted flat on the ground, left foot lifted up on your toes.

How to get there: Bend your front knee, keeping your knee stacked over your ankle. At the same time, bend your back knee as well, keeping your hips squared forward.

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Ending Position: Bend your front knee until it is as a 90 degree angle, at the same time your back knee is at a 90 degree angle.

Press down through your front foot and return to starting position.

3 sets of 10 repetitions on both sides.

Advanced: 

Elevated Lungs

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Starting Position: Start with your left foot about a foot or so in front of a step (depends on your stride length).  Put the toes of your right foot on top of a step... In this case I used a set of stairs so I used the second step to make it the height I wanted.

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Ending Position: Bend your front knee (but do NOT let it reach over your toes.. if it does step your front foot forward) and slowly lower down until your front knee is at about a 90 degree angle

To return to start by pushing through your front heel

3 sets of 10 repetitions on both sides.

Note: please do NOT do lunges if you have knee problems. Lunges are not the best for your knees but they are a good exercise to engage your quads for those with healthy, happy knees. If you have any pain while performing a lunge STOP immediately and do not try them again. Another important thing to note when doing lunges is poor technique and form really affects your joints (i.e. knees and hips). If you have any questions about YOUR form specifically shoot me an email at nothingwithoutyoga@gmail.com

Stretch:

Standing Quad Stretch

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Stand up nice and tall, putting all your weight into your left foot (with your knee slightly bent). Hold onto a chair, table, the wall on your left side. Bend your right knee and grab the outside of your foot with your right hand.  Try to keep both your knees in a line and pull your heel into your butt without over arching your low back.

Hold for 30 seconds, slowly relax and switch sides.

There are a wide variety of exercises demonstrated here and they don't target ONLY the quadriceps. Both lunges and squats target other muscles such as glutes, hamstrings, hip muscles, etc.  And as always you can't spot train one muscle and tone up only your quadriceps. Keep a well rounded exercise routine with a variety of weight lifting activities, cardio and stretching for a happy healthy body and mind.

Any special requests for the next edition of Why Does This Hurt Wednesdays? Let me know and if you try out these exercises or stretches, take a pick and tag #nothingwithoutyoga AND #whydoesthishurtwednesdays

Namaste & Get working!

Disclaimer: I am currently NOT A medical professional (although soon) but I am a personal trainer, yoga instuctor and Doctorate of Physical Therapy student.  This is where I have compiled all this information from. If you are concerned about starting a physical fitness regime please contact your doctor first.  If you have any questions at all please contact me at nothingwithoutyoga@ gmail.com or my instagram @nothingwithoutyoga.