Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Look for a Weak Synergist

Q: I recently pulled my quad while sprinting. This is a re-occurring problem. Along with my quad, last year I also pulled my hamstring twice. Is there anything I can do to hopefully prevent it happening again?

A: With any injury, one of the first things we do is look for a weak synergist. When people pull/strain their quadriceps, it is usually only one of the quads. Namely the Rectus Femoris. In this case, look at the Illio-Psoas. Most likely you will find significant weakness. With the hamstring, you will find weakness in the glutes.

Quad injuries = strengthen the psoas

Example of psoas activation

Hamstring injuries = strengthen the glutes

Example of glute activation

Think of it this way.:

Your glutes and hamstrings are teammates (they assist each other with many movements). Your glutes are the pilot (bigger, stronger muscle) and hamstrings are the co-pilot. What is happening here is the pilot has had little too much to drink and has fallen asleep so the co-pilot has to work overtime. In time, the co-pilot is going to get exhausted from always covering the pilots butt........literally.