The classic hamstring to quad imbalance is a bane of many peoples sporting and training careers, the difference between the size and flexibility of people’s hamstrings to their quads is often disproportionate. More often than not (unless you’re a runner or cyclist for example), an athlete’s hamstrings are not as big or strong as their quads. On the flip side of this are the differences seen in flexibility, so more often than not a person’s hamstrings are looser than their quads, and this goes for the glutes too! The relative lack of flexibility in the quads can lead to compensatory strains in the quads or the hamstrings, and could even contribute to ailments such as patella tendonitis.
So why is there a difference in flexibility?
So why are the quads often tighter than the hamstrings and glutes…well it could be for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons appears to be the amount of time we spend sat down. If you’ve ever been to a physio with an injury or knotted muscle, then you may have noticed them pressing down very hard on a knot in the muscle. The reason for them pressing down is to starve that part of the muscle of oxygen, which in turn encourages the muscle to relax. So the principle holds true with your hamstrings and glutes, if you’re sat down on them for a long period the blood flow to that area is restricted causing the muscles to relax. Now if you had a similar pressure pushing down on your quads during the day then there wouldn’t be an issue, but you don’t, so the result is tight quads, and abnormally loose hamstrings and glutes!
Get up and stretch it out!
Limber up during the working day, so many people are afraid to do what’s good for them through fear that they may look a little bit silly in the office or workplace…I say scrap that! Who cares what you look like, and besides, I’m not saying go ahead and do a fully-fledged yoga move such as the downward dog with your arse in the air, just a few gentle limbering movements is all. Office workers spend an average of 5 hours 41mins sat at their desk, and around 7 hours in bed at night. Not to mention the psychological repercussions of sitting at your desk for prolonged periods, there remains the issue of muscular and osteopathic problems that should NOT be overlooked! You can minimise the psychological and physical effects of prolonged sitting by simply getting up and moving more often, and one of the lead researchers of a study from the British Psychological Society (BPS) even suggests putting a post- it note on your computer screen or to set reminders on your phone prompting you to get up and move about.
So if you’ve just finished reading this post, chances are it’s time that you got up and had a good little stretch out. Enjoy!
Science Daily, (2012). Office workers spend too much time at their desks, experts say. Retrieved 15th September, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113210203.htm