For the last few years, glutes have been one of the hot topics in strength training. The premise is that many athletes lose optimal function of their glutes due to the repetitive demands of their sport, as well as poor body positions and prolonged misuse (sitting on a bus for 13 hrs). As a result, athletes lose the ability to properly activate the glutes which leads to decreased strength, poor inter-muscular coordination and faulty motor programs. Some have called this “Glute Amnesia”. At Sparta we take great care to address weak and inhibited glutes based on an athlete’s Movement Signature.
By looking at athlete’s GRF profiles and Movement Signatures, we have now started to recognize that quad dysfunction is just as prevalent as glute dysfunction. This is most prevalent in the Loose signature. For many of the same reasons (prolonged sitting, repetitive movement specialization), athletes lose ankle mobility, stop bending their knees, and develop “Quad Amnesia”. This loss of neural activation, inter-muscular coordination and strength is key to knee health and performance. As athletes lose the function of their quads, the vasti (medialis and lateralis) no longer maintain ideal tracking of the patella. The result is often tendinopathy.
Strategy for restoring quad function:
Soft tissue release (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, IT band)
Squatting (Squat, 1 Leg Box Squat)
Last but not least, we use a special exercise that specifically targets the quads – Sled Drags. Sled drags do a great job of restoring the inter-muscular coordination that affects tracking of the patella. Additionally, they result in a pump, that will guarantee to “wake up” your quads
Sit the butt (90 degrees at the hip and knee)
Upright posture through the torso
Keep the toes pointed straight ahead
We use sled drags as accessory movements, as well as in our GPP complexes. Heavy weights and time under tension are the keys. Load up your sled with enough weight that you can still maintain a slow but steady pace and go for time or distance (at 15-20 sec). Add several sets to the end of your workout and you will experience a crazy pump that will also make your knees feel better.