The quadriceps and hamstrings relationship is a lot like Ying and Yang as they keep each other balance. If one has a problem, it will throw off the other. The quadriceps and hamstrings can create issues for athletes because many sports require running and using both muscle groups. The reality of modern society is that it is a lot easier to overwork the quadriceps while the hamstrings get left behind. Too much of this will lead to uninvited athletic injuries.
The Quadriceps and Hamstring Ratio
The ratio of strength from the quad to the hamstring for an athlete should be between 50% to 80%, with 100% being a perfectly equal strength. There are ways to test this for accuracy, but many people do not even need to do that. All you have to do is look to your training habits to get a good idea of where you stand.
If the minimum for strength for the quadriceps and hamstrings rests at the hamstrings being at least 50% of its antagonistic partner, that means for every two times you work the quads you should work the hamstrings. Many do not accomplish even this much.
Since the quads are much stronger in most athletes, we are going to take it one further and say that to stay safe, if you work one, work the other and aim for being at around 80%. I had a lot of hamstring injuries in my early college career, and it was this ratio that was off. For the rest of my career, I had a rule that if I did direct quad work, I needed to work on the posterior chain as well and it kept me healthy.
What Happens When the Quadriceps and Hamstring Ratio is Off?
When you are running, and your foot hits the ground, there is a split second where your quadriceps and hamstrings are fighting each other. The quadriceps muscle is fully flexed, but the hamstring is trying to flex to extend the hip and then begin to flex the knee. It is at this moment that many hamstring injuries happen.
If the quads become too much stronger, this is a fight that the hamstring will not be able to bear. It won’t just lose the fight, but it will give up altogether causing a hamstring injury. When you increase this ratio, you not only make the hamstring stronger, but you do it in a concentric, eccentric and isometric way.
By focusing on all three of these different forms of strength, you ensure that the hamstring can handle all of the stresses that it will be under.
- The concentric contraction – When the muscle is shortened during the contraction flexing the knee.
- The eccentric contraction – When the hamstring muscle is lengthened during the contraction like during glute ham raises
- The isometric contraction – When the hamstring stays in the same position while contracting and is neither shortening or lengthening
Dealing With Quadriceps and Hamstrings Tightness
The other thing that can quickly throw this relationship off is tightness in either muscle. These muscles are like Ying and Yang as stated earlier, so when the muscle is tight, it means the other is going to have to work harder. The quads tend to be the culprit here because of how easy it is to overwork your quads. Sitting down all day will make your hips tight, which makes the quads tight, then you go to the gym and hit a crazy leg day after a doing suicide at practice. Before you know it you have a disaster called quad tightness to deal with.
The hamstrings will not like this either because anytime you try and flex your knee you are stretching your tight quads. Now your hamstrings will have to fight the tight quads every time to do their job. The result is that your hamstrings soon will be overworked because of having to work so much harder. None of this produces the optimal performance that you are looking for.
How to Keep the Quadriceps and Hamstrings Healthy?
There are two main things that you can do on a regular basis. The first is foam roll and stretch on a daily basis to keep your lower body health on your own. The second is to get regular work done by a healthcare professional. Let’s dive into both of these options!
Self-Care for Quadriceps and Hamstrings
- Need a foam roller
- Need a stretching strap
- Best to do after practice or after a warm shower
- Foam roll and hold for one minute on all trigger points or until muscle releases
- Hold stretches for 30-60 seconds
- Breath deeply and relax during stretches
- Will not solve all problems but helps you need treatment less so you save some money
Professional Treatment for Quadriceps and Hamstrings
- Professional will be able to create a gameplan to get you back to optimal health
- Professional will also create a gameplan to keep you healthy
- Best way to ensure you stay healthy in the long
- Key is to get help as soon as possible
- Professional that knows sports medicine is optimal
- Former athlete even better
- Use Kho Health to find the best provider for you
Types of providers you could see
- Massage therapists
- Physical therapists
- Sports medicine physician
- and more holistic health professionals
Types of Skills Sets to Search for on Kho Health
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Dry Needling
- Nutrition Help
- Muscle Activation Technique
- Facial Stretching
Using Kho Health to Find Your Health Solutions
Kho Health is the only place on the internet with an extensive database of healthcare providers that can be filtered by your needs. Whether you want to know what their Kho Number is, or you are looking for a specific skill set, Kho Health will show you your best local options. When you are enjoying working out or being an athlete, the last thing you want is to be slowed down due to injury.