Forum / Let's Discuss! / Marathon Runner - Quad dominant

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On: March 13, 2015 17:06 PM
I have a client who is a regular marathon runner. Right now she is in training and runs about 40-50 miles a week. She continues to practice Pilates to lengthen her spine but also has difficulty lifting her legs in a straight leg position. She has very tight quads, but is not tight at the top of her hip (hip flexors) which I find interesting since she runs so much. When attempting teaser the pull of her legs pulls her back out of flexion as she rolls up. I am looking for some assessment moves to help determine what is missing in this equation and some exercises to help strengthen her hip flexors without utilizing her quads? I've tried the hip flexor strengthener on the reformer on the long box (on her back - straps around tops of knees) and she feels abs and low back, but not the hip flexors. Thanks for your help/advice!
On: March 16, 2015 14:59 PM
Hi Ann! Great question! This sounds like she is locking into her psoas in her teasers which is pulling her pelvis anterior in this exercise. This is a common alignment problem especially in runners. It is really important that she do release work on her lateral hip, hamstrings, belly of her quads, and inner thighs( IT band could use some work too!). Also she needs additional opening on her obliques and QL. From there you can work small movements that are specific for psoas recruitment in length. This would look like very supported neutral spine and pelvis in supine with the knees bent and a theraband tying her knees in complete flexion (back of the calf touching the back of the thigh). From here do single leg lifts (knee above the femur head) utilizing the cue of slurping the femur into the socket. When she can organize this effectively she can move into marching. You can add in a counter pressure activation by bringing both knees in line with the pubic bone, and place the hands on the thighs. On the exhale you have her reach her hands into the thighs and the thighs into the hands. This should be helpful! You will see clearly how much she compensates in her pelvis and spine to do this because she cannot use her quads because the band has shut them off! Also, pay special attention to the grounding force of her T8 vertebrae as this often comes off the mat in tight/weak psoas people. With the amount of distance your client is covering you can pretty much assume that she is in some state of adrenal fatigue as this will further tightening the psoas since the connective tissue of the kidneys lay on the connective tissue of this vital core musculature. Your biggest cue for her is softness in this exercise, really paying attention to her easy neutral spine and pelvis. I hope this helps, and let us know how it goes! Much Love, Casey Marie Herdt
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