The quadriceps are the large group of muscles that run across the front of your legs from the knee up to the hip flexor. Many mistakenly believe that the quadricep is one muscle but it's actually a group of four muscles. This muscle group is one of the largest and strongest in the body and is responsible for movement in both the knees and the hips. The quadriceps work with other muscles in the legs such as the hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors to help perform the movement of running.
Although quadricep injuries are rare, it's important to keep this muscle group healthy, strong and agile to promote overall healthy running. Since the quadricep muscles attach at the knee, when they are tight or weak it can cause knee issues. This primarily shows up as "Runner's Knee," which causes pain in the front of the knee.
I made a video tutorial to show you how to roll out your quads to improve mobility and flexibility and to help smooth adhesions that have formed in the muscles.
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Some important notes:
- Foam rolling can be intense, especially if you're new to it. Remember to breathe!
- Start at the top of the hip and slowly roll down towards the knee.
- Be sure to hit the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) areas of the quads by adjusting your foot positioning, as shown in the video.
- When you find a knot or trigger point, hold for about 20-30 seconds, let it release and move on.
- It's normal to feel sensations radiate from the trigger point out to other parts of the leg.
- Since the quads are a large muscle group, it's okay to roll them daily.
Let me know if you have questions or feedback. Remember, mobility is an extremely important part of running healthy!
Jen DeCurtins is the content manager for Run Charlotte Run. She is a certified personal trainer, 200-hour registered yoga teacher, CrossFit coach, running enthusiast and food and fitness blogger at Peanut Butter Runner.