In this post I’m going to show you how to use the tennis ball to mobilize the quad muscles. The goal with this mobilization is to anchor one end of the muscle down and then actively stretch out the rest of the muscle against it.
1) Go back and read the massage post specifically on the hand itself to review the body landmarks and muscles in this region. There are actually four individual muscles that make up the quadriceps. They are the rectus femoris and the three vastus muscles (lateralis, intermedius, oblique). Together they are arranged in three columns that run from the knee cap (patella) up the thigh to the front of the hip.
2) To perform these mobilizations, you’re going to need a tennis ball and some floor space. The basic idea is to apply pressure with the tennis ball by laying on it with the knee straight. From here, the next step is to try and bend the knee up. Remember, only go as far as you can comfortably. You’re not trying to force the movement. If this is too much or the spot is too tender ease up on the pressure and move to a different spot. See the video below for full details and demonstration of the mobilizations.
When working on the quad, use the three “columns” as your guide to hit each of the quad muscles separately. Start with the middle one directly above the knee cap and work your way up the thigh. From here, move to the outside column and then finish up with the inside column. Remember- if a spot is too tender. Move above or below it.
Column 1: The first segment is as wide as your knee cap and moves straight up the middle of the thigh. This will help you isolate the RF and VI and is pictured in between the red lines in the picture. Keep the leg straight and foot pointed down to the floor when working on this strip.
Column 2: The second segment is on the outer part of the quad and isolates the VL (between the green and outer red line in the picture above). Rotate your leg in so that your foot is pointing towards your other leg when working on this strip (key: use the hip muscles to rotate the leg, not the quads; you want to keep them relaxed!).
Column 3: The third segment is on the inner part of the quad and isolates the VMO (between the blue and inner red line). Rotate your leg out so that your foot is pointing away from your other leg when working on this strip. Remember- use the hip and keep the quad relaxed.
3) Repeat for 10 reps.
4) Same warm up rules apply. Try to do this either following a workout or warm up the area with the foam roller first. Especially if you’re coming back from an injury or this is a problem area.