Soh, you’ve got decided to take a protracted, hard look within the fitness mirror and discover in case your lower half is not crazy. We’re talking about testing your “four-fours dominance,” which is whether or not your legs are in a position to effectively engage your glutes and hamstrings, or whether or not they’re overly counting on your front half.
Why does it matter? “The muscles within the front of your legs (the quadriceps, which we are going to call the “front chain”) and the back of your legs (the glutes and hamstrings, which we are going to call the “back chain”) exert control over the pelvis, dictating its position in relation to the chest. – says Tim Landicho, CSCS, home fitness platform trainer Tonal. “So if the rear chain strength is not right, you will not have the opportunity to regulate your pelvis in a way that basically maximizes trunk stability.”
Core stability is significant since it affects our posture and could cause lower back pain if the pelvis isn’t in step with the chest. Essentially, crucial core strength starts within the lower body. However, lots of us have relatively weaker hamstrings and glutes from a lot time sitting, which implies our quads take over after we move – and subsequently get stronger.
The dominance of quads and instability of the link through the proxy can affect our activities. Long-distance running requires the flexibility to interact the glutes and hamstrings to keep up proper form. Strength training requires “proper range of motion,” explains Landicho.
“When it involves lower body strength training, higher core stability can show you how to get more range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles, thanks to raised positioning of your chest and pelvis,” says Landicho. “When you strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, you will get a greater pelvic position. Better connection of the pelvis and chest leads to raised trunk stability, which provides a greater range of motion and higher force production – that’s, more power! – when lifting weights.”
How are you able to judge if you want to make changes to your training to make these back and front chains work in harmony? Virus Instagram roll by running coach Kaila Morgante aka @bodkick addressed this issue with a post on the “chair of death” quad dominance test. Here’s how: Stand in front of a chair together with your knees near the seat, but not touching it. Then lower yourself to a squat. The farther you may go without your knees touching the chair, the less you dominate the quad.
“Many of us assume we’re top 4, but this test offers you an insight into just how much,” writes Morgante. “The farther you may go before your knees touch, the higher glute recruitment.”
Landicho agrees and finds the test a useful gizmo to check the effectiveness of his workouts. “You can use the chair test to find out if exercise is definitely moving you in the proper direction or not (i.e., are you in a position to sit lower over time?),” she says.
Balancing the lower body is all about lengthening and strengthening, says Landicho: “Create length through the front (our quadriceps and hip flexors) and create strength through the back (our glutes and hamstrings).”
It suggests moving from more beginner-friendly moves to more advanced options. To lengthen your quadriceps, start with a standing quadriceps stretch.
Then try the kneeling quad.
Finally, move on to stretching the couch.
To strengthen the hamstrings and glutes, Landicho suggests a series of glute bridges. Start by holding the glute bridge.
Then move on to glute bridges with dips on the hips.
Progression to glute bridge marches.
Finally, tackle probably the most advanced variation, the one leg glute bridge.
Include these moves often in your workouts and the chair of death will finally be no challenge for you!