Was asked to reblog my answer to a quad dominance question!
WHAT IS QUAD DOMINANCE?
In a nutshell, quad dominance happens when our quads are stronger and more powerful than the opposing group, the hamstrings. It’s fairly common in runners and can result in pulled hamstrings, sprains and other injuries. No fun. :(
When we’re running often (or long distances), our quads get a ton of work in: they build up very strong. This allows us to gain speed/endurance and power in our strides. Our hamstrings work as a brake system for these strides. They keep the knee from hyperextending, and contract in reaction to the stride. If you have very powerful quads, and weaker hamstrings, they may not be strong enough to put the brakes on. The force from the quads may be too much for them to handle and it can result in tears (injury), OR early fatigue (they get pooped early from working MUCH harder than they should be).
HOW DO I FIX IT?
It’s fairly easy to fix and prevent: all runners should spend a few days a week working on strengthening (and stretching) their hamstrings. Single leg deadlifts, hip bridges, hamstring curls and single leg squats are all great exercises to work your hamstrings. If you notice occasional muscle tweaks or fatigue, you may be quad dominant and can prevent future injuries by training the back of your legs.
WHAT IF I ALREADY PULLED MY HAMSTRING?
If you already HAVE a hamsting injury, treating it with exercise is something you should speak to a physical therapist about, especially if the injury is recurring or persistent.
IS IT JUST RUNNERS?
Other activities that use our quads a lot may have the same result: super human quads and a weaker hamstring. ‘Mirror syndrome’ is also common with some exercisers: they train only what they can see in the mirror and forget about everything in the rear (working the chest and not the upper back, the abs and not the lower back, the quads and not the hamstrings, the biceps and not the triceps etc).
Paying attention to our weak spots and working ALL muscle groups at least a few days a week can prevent injuries across the board and help performance. I like to pair my upper and lower front/rear muscles on different days: front upper body with back lower body (chest, biceps, core with hamstrings, glutes and calves) then my back with lower body (upper back, lats and shoulders with quads and inner & outer thigh). This might help you split things up if you’re not sure where to start. :)
The Dirty Dozen 3 has a lot of fabulous hamstring exercises (and it’s also a CRAZY workout). See it here (romanian deadlifts are hamstring candy).