- Karen Stoner, LMT
Mini Massage Lesson: Quads
Weekend warriors, carrying moving boxes up and down stairs, - your quads go through a lot. See how to get a small amount of quick relief between your massage appointments with our 'Mini Massage Lesson'.
*For all of these massage strokes, you are never limited to only the amount of reps, time, or direction demonstrated in the video unless otherwise stated - repeat techniques as many times or as long as you feel like you need. I can only show so much in a 30-second video!
For the quads, officially known as the quadriceps muscles, refers to the muscles in the front of your thigh. Your thigh is made up of 4 muscles (hence, 'quad') - the Rectus Femoris is the big one up the middle, the Vastus Intermedius is actually under the others, the Vastus Lateralis is on outside of the thigh, and the Vastus Medialis is on the inner side. These are some of the strongest muscles in your body and they basically make your leg work by letting you lift your leg and extend your knee.
Start with the flat part of your knuckles - the FLAT part - not the knuckles themselves unless you have a lot of deep adhesions and scar tissue or can tolerate a LOT of pain. Press into the leg gently and make small circles while traveling up the leg from knee to hip. work your way up all of the muscles on both sides and up the middle of the quads.
Grab the whole thigh with both hands and use the whole hands to gently squeeze the whole thigh. Let these squeezes also travel up from the knee as high as you can to the hip. If you can't get your hands completely around the thigh, you can simply gently press down on the muscles as well.
Finish with wrapping hands around quads again and slide up from knee to hip - kind of like pulling your hands up around the leg.
Using the flat sides of the fists (again, definitely NOT the knuckles), gently make rhythmic drumming motions all over the quadriceps area.
Always follow any type of percussion or "hitting" or "pressing" movements with more long gliding strokes (it helps flush out anything that gets broken up with the more aggressive work and keeps you from being as sore). Long gliding strokes are also a nice, calming finishing stroke to finish any kind of massage. Just always do the strokes up or towards the direction of the heart
Quadriceps muscles can get sore very easily. They do a lot of work and are often the first muscles that get sore as soon as we start exercising or doing a lot of work that involves moving around. They can usually handle a little more aggressive pressure than many other muscle groups. Stretching is also very very helpful for this much used but often neglected muscle group. Ultimately, a good massage from a professional massage therapist can make sure all the muscles in your legs keep operating at top condition.