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Old 06-06-11, 09:20 AM  
Inchworm
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
Quadricep Imbalance. How to strengthen the "teardrop" Vasto Medialis part of quads..

Hi,

I have been experiencing some knee pain that comes and goes. Right now it feels better but I have finally figured out, thanks to some of you, that my quads are imbalanced. My outer quad as a very obvious outer sweep, but my teardrop or inner quad is barely there. I've read up on this and it can cause some very uncomfortable knee cap tracking problems. What exercises or dvd's have some good exercises for this particular area of the quads. My outer quads develop very easily and I used to do leg extension machines at gym, but no longer go to a gym, so I guess that area has been neglected.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Old 06-06-11, 09:39 AM  
ARTmethodfan
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Marisa Tomei's Core & Curves workout has a few exercises that focus on this area. In fact, the trainer mentions vastus medialis more than once and Marisa even jokes around about the term.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:05 AM  
Lurdes
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I recommend Cathe's Gym Style Legs, the floorwork portion, and Karen Voight's Total Body Pilates (for the latter I use my stability ball in place of the pilates ring).

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Old 06-06-11, 11:35 AM  
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Denise Beatty's Fitness Fix lower body segments should be helpful. I happen to have the intermediate (pick whichever one is best for your level or you can find for the cheapest - there's really no need to stockpile all three), and I know she has a few exercises in there specifically to help strengthen the muscles around the kneecap.

It's also worth considering that your outermost quadriceps may be tight, which could be either be a cause and/or effect of the muscular imbalance. Foam rolling across the quadriceps and IT band may be helpful, too. Again, Denise Beatty's Fitness Fix may be helpful, as she demonstrates this in the foam roller massage segment (the same on all three DVDs) plus also includes some great stretches in the lower body flexibility segment (also the same on all three DVDs) for the quadriceps, hip flexors, and IT band, which may help, too.

I still believe that you should seek out a medical or fitness professional whose trained pair of eyes can determine not only the nature of your particular imbalance but possibly also the cause, suggesting remedies for your particular condition that will help you get back on track sooner.

P.S. My PT specifically forbade me from ever going near the leg extension machine again, during PT and forever after, and I was happy to oblige. It's not an ideal machine for someone looking for functional fitness to begin with. Working with your bodyweight and free weights is, if you can mange it, often better, because you're asking your muscles to work together and respond as they would in real life. The machines may isolate things too much, and if not used in the full circuit may lead to imbalances, as you could be working one part of the muscle much more than the others.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:48 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathAL79 View Post
I still believe that you should seek out a medical or fitness professional whose trained pair of eyes can determine not only the nature of your particular imbalance but possibly also the cause, suggesting remedies for your particular condition that will help you get back on track sooner.
I could have written Kath's entire post, but she saved me the trouble. Thanks Kath!

What she said, with the above quoted because as many times as it was mentioned in the previous thread, it cannot hurt to mention it again.

also, I too was cautioned against the leg extension machine a long time ago when I first started having knee trouble (years and years ago).

And, I could not agree more with the recommendation to use body weight exercises as a way to work the body as an entire unit - the concept of "train movements, not muscles" is particularly important here.

As mentioned in the earlier thread, most of my rehab was done with bodyweight/barre, with the exception of kettlebell swings. But you should get a PT or similar to specify/prescribe what movements are most crucial to your particular condition.
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Old 06-06-11, 01:25 PM  
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I completely agree with what Kath said about seeking a professional evaluation/opinion if your knees are causing you serious pain. You may be right about the problem and cause but if you're wrong, it would be cheaper and probably less painful to get a real diagnosis now rather than later.

And ITA with everything Kath said about the leg extension machine. Most of us don't need to go anywhere near them and are much better off with feet (or foot) on the ground lower body exercises.
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Old 06-06-11, 03:03 PM  
Inchworm
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Long Island, NY
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathAL79 View Post
Denise Beatty's Fitness Fix lower body segments should be helpful. I happen to have the intermediate (pick whichever one is best for your level or you can find for the cheapest - there's really no need to stockpile all three), and I know she has a few exercises in there specifically to help strengthen the muscles around the kneecap.

It's also worth considering that your outermost quadriceps may be tight, which could be either be a cause and/or effect of the muscular imbalance. Foam rolling across the quadriceps and IT band may be helpful, too. Again, Denise Beatty's Fitness Fix may be helpful, as she demonstrates this in the foam roller massage segment (the same on all three DVDs) plus also includes some great stretches in the lower body flexibility segment (also the same on all three DVDs) for the quadriceps, hip flexors, and IT band, which may help, too.

I still believe that you should seek out a medical or fitness professional whose trained pair of eyes can determine not only the nature of your particular imbalance but possibly also the cause, suggesting remedies for your particular condition that will help you get back on track sooner.

P.S. My PT specifically forbade me from ever going near the leg extension machine again, during PT and forever after, and I was happy to oblige. It's not an ideal machine for someone looking for functional fitness to begin with. Working with your bodyweight and free weights is, if you can mange it, often better, because you're asking your muscles to work together and respond as they would in real life. The machines may isolate things too much, and if not used in the full circuit may lead to imbalances, as you could be working one part of the muscle much more than the others.

Hi,

Thanks. I actually have that Fitness Fix one and have never used it. Guess I should check it out. I know what you are saying about having a pro check it out. I plan to, but I know I cannot afford PT, especially at $150 p week (which is usually what it would cost since my copay is $50 and generally PT is 3 times a week, based on past experience.) I suppose I could get it checked out and maybe a PT could give me suggested exercises to do or avoid.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Old 06-06-11, 09:36 PM  
ncl
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I have patellofemoral syndrome and have gone to PT for it (pain in the knee when my patella is out of track). I started with a PT who wanted me to come 3x/week which was ridiculous. It seemed like 3 times per week was a waste and they just supervised me doing the same exercises. I didn't need supervision. I was religious about doing my exercises. I eventually got a new, better PT and I only went once a week or once every 2 weeks eventually. I would look for someone who is very good with knees. I went through 4 PTs before I found my guy.

I think my vastus medialis was weak, but my quads weak compared to my hamstrings, so general quad work was not bad for me. The exercise I still add on is the following:

Lie on your back with ankle weights on. Lean on your elbows. Bent one leg and raise the straight leg up part way (to the height of the other knee or slightly lower...I stop just before I lose the contraction). When you lift the leg, turn your toe slightly outward to target that area. I do 2-3 sets with 10 lbs on each leg. This has helped tremendously.

As far as videos go, I find if I have knee pain, Cathe's Legs and Glutes ALWAYS works like a charm (I modify the jumping). I think it is because it has lots of inner thigh work and a good balance of other things and a little isolated quad work as well (the general quad work does work for me). HTH.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:29 PM  
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Lie on your back with ankle weights on. Lean on your elbows. Bent one leg and raise the straight leg up part way (to the height of the other knee or slightly lower...I stop just before I lose the contraction). When you lift the leg, turn your toe slightly outward to target that area. I do 2-3 sets with 10 lbs on each leg. This has helped tremendously.
IIRC Debbie Siebers does this exercise in Firm It Up and even mentions how good it is for the knees ... I think her sister is a PT ...
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Old 06-06-11, 11:20 PM  
KathAL79
 
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Forgot to mention Gaiam's Strong Knees and Jill Miller's Kneehab as two knee-focused videos. I'd still double check with someone who's evaluated your knee first, though.

Just as an FYI, I think after my initial appointment I only went once a week for six, maybe eight, weeks total for PT for my knee, and my kneecap had already slipped out of place. The first appointment they popped it back in, taught me how to ice, evaluated my shoes, my walk, and my form in basic exercises, then gave me some exercises. Each week I progressed or got a new set of exercises, until after that I was dismissed. Now, each case is going to be different, but if someone says you need to come in 3x/week, especially for more than 8 weeks, I'd ask for specific reasons why and maybe get a second opinion from a different PT.
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I listen to my body and respond compassionately. - sankalpa from Jill Miller's Yoga at Home level 1, month 5 practice

Note: I have had a professional relationship with a vendor of health and fitness books and media. For details please see my profile.
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getting better, knee, knee issues, knee pain, knees, patellofemoral, quads, strong knees, vastus medialis, weak quads

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