The ‘quads’ and ‘hams,’ are the two main muscle groups in the upper leg. They work together to move the leg. When the hamstring muscles contract, the quadriceps muscles relax, and vice versa. The quadriceps are at the front of the thigh and the hamstrings at the back.
When conducting a sports massage on a client’s thighs, Lucyna Massage Therapy uses a range of different techniques. These will help to reduce muscle tightness, ease any discomfort, and increase their blood circulation. Each treatment is tailored to each client. We encounter clients with various injuries to these areas, for example a hamstring strain. Having regular sports massages on the legs greatly assists to the prevention of injuries and as part of the recovery process. Often clients we have treated comment that they did not realise how tight their legs were and the relief they feel from releasing these tight areas.
The Quadriceps are a muscle group found at the front of the thigh, and as the name implies, there are four muscles – Rectus Femoris, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Lateralis & Vastus Intermedius. Their primary function is to bend and straighten the knee.
The hamstrings consist of three muscle groups in the back of the thigh (the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) they cross both the hip and knee joint, enabling the knees to bend and to move the leg backwards.
Together the ‘quads’ and ‘hams’ help to rotate the lower leg.
It is important to look after these muscles because the knee joint depends on the strength of them for stability.
With your back towards a wall, without arching, place your hands on the front of your thighs. Contract your abdominals and keeping your weight on your heels, slowly bend your knees, while inhaling and lowering your body. Build up slowly, only go as low as feels comfortable. Hold for a few seconds and exhale and slowly slide up the wall to the original position. Repeat and build up to going lower.
2. Upright Quad Stretch
Balance on one leg, holding onto something if needed.
Contract your abdominals, hold your right foot with your right hand.
With your back straight and your knees together bring your foot in towards your bottom.
Hold up to half a minute. Change legs and repeat.
3. Hamstring stretch on the floor or upright
Either lie on your back, bend one knee, and extend the opposite leg on the floor.
Keeping your leg straight, with your knee relaxed, slowly bring it upward (you can use a band or similar around your foot).
Stop when you feel a stretch behind your thigh and hold the position for about 20 seconds.
Then lower your leg slowly back to the floor. Repeat a few times, then change legs.
Alternatively, put one leg onto a higher surface and reach down towards the foot to feel the stretch. Or reach down towards your toes with both arms falling relaxed towards the floor.
For all these stretches aim for mild tension. Try not to overstretch.