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Quads & Hamstrings

We've learned a bit about the knee, so lets talk about the muscles that support the knee, the quads and hamstrings.

The quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles located in the front of the thigh. The group of muscles originates on the femur bone and attaches to the patella, or kneecap. All four quadriceps are powerful extensors of the knee joint. They are crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. Because the rectus femoris attaches to the ilium, it is also a flexor of the hip. This action is also crucial to walking or running, as it swings the leg forward into the ensuing step. The quadriceps are prone to injuries including strains, tears and ruptures. While increased activity on your feet may lead to tight quads, so can inactivity. Sitting for hours reduces the amount of time you spend lengthening and shortening these muscles. With increased sitting, the quads become static and more resistant to lengthening or stretching.

The Simple Quad Stretch

1. Stand on your left leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold a chair or the wall to keep you steady if needed.

2. Grab your right foot, using your right hand, and pull it towards your butt. ...

3. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat, switching from your left leg to your right.


The hamstrings muscles (a group of three muscles) run down the back of the thigh. They start at the bottom of the pelvis at a place called the ischial tuberosity. They cross the knee joint and end at the lower leg. Hamstring muscle fibers join with the tough, connective tissue of the hamstring tendons near the points where the tendons attach to bones. The hamstring muscle group helps you bend your knee and extend your leg straight back.

Muscle tightness. Tight muscles are vulnerable to strain. Regular stretching helps mitigate tightness.

Muscle imbalance. When one muscle group is much stronger than its opposing muscle group, the imbalance can lead to a strain. This frequently happens with the hamstring muscles. The quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh are usually more powerful.

Keep your hamstrings healthy with these stretches:

Lying hamstring stretch

1. Lie flat on either the ground or a mat with the legs fully stretched out.

2. To stretch the right leg, hold the back of the right knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward the chest, and slowly straighten the knee until it feels as though it is stretching.

3. Hold the stretch for 10–30 seconds.


Standing hamstring stretch

1. Stand with your spine in a neutral position.

2. Then place your right leg in front of you. ...

3. Gently lean forward while placing your hands on your bent right leg.

4. Be sure to keep your back straight to avoid hunching over your leg.

5. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds.

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