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Tuesday Tip - Quadricep / Hamstring Strength Ratio

Posted Jan 12 2010 8:47am 1 Comment
At my first gym visit of 2010, I went to the file cabinet and pulled out my progress chart for the first time in months.. The chart lists the exercise machines, the current weight I am lifting and the machine settings. The personal trainer (1 complimentary with gym membership) recommended that I chart my progress. I diligently wrote my routine, weights and reps...for about two months. I ended up spending equal amounts of time charting as I did lifting so I began updating the chart once a month. Eventually...I charted no more.

The main reason for joining a gym was to maintain a strong knee after ACL reconstruction and rehabilitation. I knew that knee strength would be an important part of my routine. My right hamstrings were weakened after surgery because the surgeon used two hamstring tendons to reconstruct my ACL. My right leg was noticeable weaker than my left leg. The trainer suggested I perform hamstring curls with my right leg only. I worked my right leg and exercised using both legs. My right leg slowly increased strength.

Last week, I was using the hamstring curl machine and out of curiosity tested my left hamstring. I was shocked. My left hamstring was considerably weaker than my right hamstring. I am now using the machine to build up my left (non-surgical leg). How did I let this happen? I am certain I would have realized this sooner if I continued to chart my progress.

I was curious about the relationship between the quadriceps, hamstring, strength ratios and knee injuries. I found an excellent article Weak in the Knees by Krista Scott-Dixon Ph.D. She discusses many risk factors but this one caught my eye.
Strength ratios. Women tend to have stronger quadriceps relative to their hamstrings, which may decrease the hamstrings' ability to stabilize the knees. The general recommendation for a healthy hamstring-to-quadricep strength ratio is for the hamstring to be at least 60 percent – and ideally closer to 80 percent – as strong as the quad.

So back to the gym I go....

New Goals for 2010:
Balance out the strength of my right and left leg.
Calculate and improve my quadricep / hamstring strength ratio.

Tuesday Tip: Be aware of the quadricep / hamstring strength ratio for knee strength and injury prevention.
Comments (1)
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Don't forget your inner thigh muscles or the vastus medialis and sartorius muscles.

Muscles that affect knee stability: 


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