QUAD MUSCLES IN RUNNING
Quadriceps femoris muscle, or simply - quads, is a large fleshy muscle
group covering the front and sides of the thigh. It has four parts:
rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus
intermedius. They originate at the ilium (upper part of the pelvis, or
hipbone) and femur (thighbone), come together in a tendon surrounding
the patella (kneecap), and insert at (are attached to) the tibia
(shinbone). (Encyclopędia Britannica
Quadriceps group is among the largest muscles
of the human body
is essential to many movements routinely performed on daily basis. We
do what we do and do not give the work of our quads a single thought,
and they perform smoothly and without a glitch.
We incur injuries when we interfere with the work of our muscles or perform incorrect movement.
What we need to know is how to do something properly and our body will
distribute the workload and the leading roles. The roles of course
change as necessary, the same muscle group performs several different
functions according to the 'action' happening. (Functional System, P.Anokhin
In running, quads play an essential role by providing stability during
the support phase
. That's it. Immediately after the midstance (support
phase), the quad muscles cease any electrical activity
. In plain
English, your quads stop working right after you start falling or
The workload of roughly 75% goes to hamstrings
, the remaining 25%
consists of the work of all other muscles combined, quads included.
As you see, there is not much to this topic, it is not as complicated
as it is usually made out to be. If the extensor paradox
understood and not ignored in 1990, lots of runners could have easily
avoided quadriceps and hamstring injuries
. It is when the work of
hamstrings and quadriceps clashes that they get hurt.
Here is one more misunderstood thing. There is a popular quads stretch
which is actually a flexibility exercise
for the knee. It is always
recommended as part of a warm up
which is a huge mistake. It should
only be done once you're already warmed up. There is a potential to
harm your quad muscles if this flexibility exercise is imposed onto an
unsuspecting and unprepared thigh.
To round it up, if your quads are misused - they hurt and you don't run
good or fast. However if you strengthen them and let them do their
simple work - you'll benefit greatly. Add to that good running technique
and you will run better and faster and avoid quadriceps'
Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Composed by L. Romanov