Are You Quad Dominant Too?

Rachel Cosgrove calls this tendency “flat butt syndrome” so I guess I got lucky with Q.D.! But I’m not the only one out there who has this issue. How do you know if you or someone you love are QD too? Well, I’ll tell you what not to do: Don’t walk around staring at people’s backsides to see how flat they are. Like I have been. (Once you know, it’s so hard not to look!)

Nah, basically you need to pay really close attention to your form when you do lower body work like squats and lunges. Do you always feel everything in your quads? Does doing the slightest amount of butt-work like reverse leg lifts make your butt crazy sore? Do you often have tight hip flexors and does your pelvis tip forward (an anterior pelvic tilt)?

While you can get some sense of whether you do these things or not by performing the exercises in front of a mirror, if you’re really interested it’s best to get a professional assessment. You can sign up for one at any Lifetime Fitness, whether you are a member or not! And if you don’t have a Lifetime search for “corrective exercise specialist” in your area. It’s well worth your time!

Because in just one month of doing my corrective exercises — aimed at loosening up my tight right hip and teaching my glutes to “fire” more — I can feel a real difference. And not just when I’m lying on the floor doing my mandatory butt clenches and humiliating myself in public. (See, that should be my nickname: The public humiliator! Actually that sounds like a police record. NVM.)

The first place I noticed a difference was in my running. Since I’m training for Warrior Dash, and I just signed up for a half marathon in a few months, I’ve been doing a lot of training runs. And I’ve found that I’ve started running with my butt! If you are QD you probably have no idea what this means because it’s one of those things you can’t really feel until it happens, but basically it feels more like I’m being “pushed” by my butt than “pulled” by my quads. It means I’ve shortened up my stride a bit and that my form is more efficient so I can run somewhat longer than before. It also means that unlike previous training periods, my hip flexors aren’t killing me after every run.

I’ve also noticed that my splits have gotten easier (splits as in the gymnastic kind, not the running kind. You know you’re a fitness nerd if your first response to “split” is not “banana”!) That might sound crazy at first, but Steve explained to me that when your quads are pulling so hard, it shortens up your hip flexors which pulls the top of your pelvis forward which stretches your hamstrings taut. (Got all that? Quiz later!) People feel their hamstrings stretched out tight and assume that they’re sore from working out, so what do they do? Stretch them more! “You can’t stretch something that’s already fully extended,” he says.

So he’s been having me really work on stretching my hip flexors – think: runner’s stretch and rotational lunges – and by golly this has done more for my hamstring flexibility than anything I have ever done before! I was flexible to begin with but now I can hyperextend both front splits! (Not that I do, I know I’m not supposed to!) Why did I not know this when I was a gymnast?!?

The real test however was when Steve re-evaluated my posture and movement and – ta-da! – declared me cured! Okay, not cured but definitely and noticeably better!

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