Quadricep Muscles (Quads)
As you can see in the picture there are four quadricep muscles. The rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius (underneath rectus femoris). Each of these muscles extend the knee but the rectus femoris is the only one of the four that flexes the hip. If you look underneath the kneecap you’ll see a prominent bump. That is where all four of the quadricep muscles attach. It’s also a very common area people feel tendonitis or pain.
As we take a closer look we can see that the attachments are on top of the patella, or knee cap. What happens when muscle fibers atrophy, or shrink due to lack of resistance training is, your body uses the next strongest structure that’s capable of performing the action. In many instances it’s the tendons and ligaments that initiate the movement due to lack of muscle belly activation.
SO imagine if your quadricep muscles aren’t activating. Look at those tendons that surround the knee cap and knee joint. They will be the tissues absorbing all the force every time you walk, run, squat, kick etc. If you add on the years and years of inactivity or lack of resistance training there is no question that you will either have severe knee pain, a serious knee injury, potential knee replacement surgery OR even hip and ankle injuries.
Strong Quads Can Still Lead To Knee Problems
I must add, even if your quads are strong, they are still susceptible to potential knee damage. If you do not roll out and stretch tight quadricep muscles, they can become over worked and riddled with knots. All that tension and tightness will cause a lack of muscle activation, leading to compensation patterns. So again I say foam roll your quads before and after exercise! Massage sticks and lacrosse balls work well for tension release also. Lacrosse balls will allow you to get a little deeper into the muscle tissue. Massage sticks are great tools to use anywhere! Work especially!