Tight Quads Test

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Quadriceps muscle tension can be insidious. As a constant sitter, you may not notice the day in and day out decreases that occur in your quad flexibility, nor the resulting tension in your low back muscles.  Another scenario: You’ve resigned yourself to the regular low back aches and pains you’ve accumulated along the way to the point where they become your new “normal.” In other words, you’ve learned to live with limitation and at least some back pain – all because your quads are tight.

While getting a physical evaluation by licensed doctor and/or physical therapist is likely the most accurate and reliable way to determine how tight your quadriceps muscles are, there’s a simpler, and for the most part, just as useful way to determine your need for regular quad stretching.  You just put your hip joint on a stretch and notice how it feels.  Slide on for a few ways to accomplish this very thing.

Hips Forward
Try standing up and push your hips forward. (Push from your sitting bones in order to target the correct location.) How far forward can you go and what does that feel like? If you notice pain and/or limitation, you may have tight quadriceps.

Lunge Exercise as Quad Muscle Tension Assessment
The lunge exercise can be a great quadriceps tension assessment tool, as long as you are safely and without pain able to assume a lunge position where one leg is forward (and bent) in front of the other, and the back leg is straight. Note, this is also a yoga pose known as Warrior I. 

Whether during yoga or plain ‘ole exercise, once in a lunge position, ask yourself: What does this feel like at the front of the hip of the back leg? If this area is talking to you, you might consider adding a regular quad stretch to your daily routine.

Camel Post and Quad Tightness
Another tell-tale yoga pose for tight quadriceps muscles is the camel.  In the camel pose, you begin in a kneeling position.  Depending on your level of ability (and flexibility), you arch back, with the ultimate goal of grasping your ankles behind you with your hands. 

The camel pose puts the quads at the hip on a pretty intense stretch if you’re not used to it.  So if you can’t reach all the way back or you need to prop up or modify the pose a lot in order to tolerate the pain, chances are your quadriceps are tight.  By the way, to really get the quad stretch in this pose, bring the bottom of your pelvis forward, toward wall in front of you.  Yikes!