Unconscious quadriceps tension keeps your thighs tight and your kneecaps chronically lifted.
This chronic kneecap tension might not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to pain-free knee joints that last a lifetime, this seemingly minor problem is a major player.
It sounds pretty simple to just relax your kneecaps, but if quad tension has become an unconscious habit for you, or if you've been unknowingly using your quads to keep yourself from falling over when you stand, relaxing the knees may not be an easy task.
You have four quadricep muscles that are designed to activate equally and at the same time when you straighten your lower leg, but in our culture we've acquired alignment faults that leave the femur bone internally rotated and our pelvis misaligned. This changes the ability of the quadriceps to activate properly.
When the pelvis is misaligned, it changes your body's ability to recruit the appropriate muscles for walking and standing, so your quads pick up the slack.
The quadriceps can get so used to staying on and being recruited for extra work that it becomes difficult to figure out how to turn them off, even when your brain is asking them too!
The exercise in today's video comes from Katy Bowman's Restorative Exercise™ Institute and it shows you a deceptively simple way to relax your quads.
I'll be exploring the alignment faults that lead to chronic quad tension in future posts, but for now have fun seeing if you can relax your kneecaps!
See you in the studio!
P.S. – If you still find it difficult to relax your kneecaps with the wall, try sitting in a chair and, without lifting your heels, slowly sliding your legs out straight. Then see if you can relax your kneecaps in this seated position.