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RUNNERS! Your Quads may be BULLIES.....



If I have learned one thing over the countless hours working with runners and triathletes on my massage table it is this. Muscles like to talk! Unfortunately, most often when they talk, it is because they are unhappy.  The language muscles speak is tightness, spasm and/or pain. With that said, what you need to know is muscles are also a bit tricky… often speaking in riddles. 

Think back to when you were a kid, If a bully was picking on someone, and you were the observer who told the teacher, the bully would turn his attention on you, labeling and taunting you a tattle tail. 

Painful, tight or spastic muscles are most often the tattle tails to situations of greater complexity going on in the body. A good manual muscular therapist will address both the acute pain in the crying muscle as well as find and address the bully or bullies that are the root cause of the problem. A great example of this in runners is tight and spastic hamstrings, especially in men!

Lets look at an example of a possible cause. Deep in your trunk, lying in front of your lumbar vertebra sits your psoas muscles, one on the right, one on the left. Also, lining the inner pelvis, bilaterally, are its buddies the iliacus. These two muscle groups are major hip flexors and fully engaged during your runs. Lets say these muscles begin to spasm, thus begin to tighten, (not to the point of pain) but just enough to rotate you pelvis downward in the front. This downward rotation then causes your quadriceps (specifically rectus femoris), the muscle that runs down the front of the thigh, to spasm and tighten as well. This then causes the hamstring on the back of the leg to overstretch and most likely cry out in pain or uncomfortable tightening. 

When you seek the PROVEN help of massage, and a therapist simply treats the crying hamstrings, you may feel some initial relief. However, before you know it, the cycle begin again and the condition will return.

If you run to improve your health, you most likely spend good money on running shoes, If you choose sneakers that are designed to be the best for your gait and body type you will improve your overall performance. Knowing how the body's kinetic chains work is the sign of a good Massage Therapist, if you choose to add this amazing modality to your functional wellness program you will greatly increase your injury free time on the pavement.

If you are injury free and training, or dealing with tight muscles, sore, painful or cronic conditions…….. I am here to help and hope to see you on my table soon.

Brian Riley LMT


100 Valley Rd. Suite 204 

Montclair, N.J. 07042

917 968 2112

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