The female hip flexor and upper quad muscles have an amazing ability to produce power and (to many women’s dismay) girth. In the majority of modern weightlifting programs and classes, and on the well pounded sidewalks of every major city the upper thigh dominates in motion. It becomes thick and knotted, and shuts down effective use of the lower stabilizers of the knee, the hamstrings, inner thigh, and butt muscles. One of your friends may possess the notorious thick thigh flat butt outcome.
As the quad/hip flexor group becomes stiff and glued on its lateral edges to the IT Band it exerts terrific pressure on the knee, changes the knee cap tracking angle and contributes to “crepitus” – otherwise known as “crunchy-poppies”. Every day I release another woman from the “grip” of her upper thighs, flatten her front, and retrain her how to use her other leg and butt muscles without bulking her thighs.
The correction techniques are many but first you should learn how to PREVENT the problem.
Disclaimer: This program is a facetious example of what NOT TO DO. It is an amalgam of the many crazy behaviors I see every day and often rescue people from. Take these 10 steps to blow up your upper hips and quads like a power lifter, tighten up your IT bands so bad your knees buckle in, and if you’re lucky give you “cankles” in the process!
1.) Begin by waking up tight from yesterday’s run and workout, skip a stretch, and drive to work during rush hour with short hamstrings and tensing your quads in response to the stress.
2.) Sit at your desk all day with shortened hip flexors and hamstrings and in slumped over posture.
3.) Drive home from work in rush hour traffic, squeeze your quads some more, and pump that brake foot extra hard.
4.) Change into your running clothes, skip a stretch, and run to your gym with the same muscles you have been shortening all day. (Ignore the pain creeping up your shins into your knees and back)
5.) Get to the gym and start with some weighted squats, followed immediately by power box jumps, and then weighted medicine ball squat tosses. (Or just do Cross Fit)
6.) Grab the dumbbells and start walking lunges being sure not to use your butt or hamstrings in the movement, focus on the searing pain in the middle of your hip and quad.
7.) Lay on the floor (or use the hanging leg raise chair) and do straight leg raises with minimal abdominal activation and pulling mainly with your hip flexors.
8.) Convince yourself more is better and skip any kind of stretch in favor a few more walking lunges so that you can have dessert later.
9.) Go home and eat your dinner and your dessert. Then convince yourself that the pain of the walking lunges has to be worth two servings and have a second!
10.) Go to bed without stretching and feeling guilty about your second dessert serving. Set your alarm early for a morning run to try and burn it off! Go Back to 1.
For a great alternative example of what TO DO for long lean balanced legs see the video INLINE Slider Exercises for Butt, Hamstrings, & Inner Thighs http://youtu.be/4zcMhINX-3Q