Care Tools: Fitness Center
Quad Sets

General Overview:

This exercise is intended to work on strengthening the quadriceps muscles on the anterior (front) aspect of the leg being worked. It will focus specifically on the development and re-education of the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) muscle of the quadriceps group. This muscle plays an important role in the proper tracking of the patella (kneecap) and is one of the muscles that gives way to atrophy early on in the injury/post-surgical cycle.

Why do this Exercise?

To increase strength within the quadriceps and re-educate the VMO to allow for proper tracking of the patella.

Detailed Description

Rolled up towel or pillow
Seated with a straight back on a hard surface (floor) with arms at your side to offer support. Unaffected leg bent up to a 90° angle with foot placed flat on the floor. Affected leg extended straight out in front of your body with toes pointed straight up towards the ceiling and heel in constant contact with the floor. Place rolled towel/pillow directly underneath the knee of the affected leg.
While looking at your VMO (the teardrop shaped bulge just above and and toward the inside of your knee) concentrate on contracting/tightening your quadriceps muscle while pushing the back of your knee down into the towel/pillow. Make sure that your heel remains firmly planted on the ground during the exercise. Concentrate on holding the contraction for 5 seconds and then slowly relax the muscle. Rest for 5-10 seconds and then repeat 20-30 times. This exercise should be repeated 3-4 times per day.

Additional Information:

This exercise should only be performed within a pain free range of motion. This may necessitate using a smaller towel/pillow to achieve a comfort level. Do not continue this exercise if there is pain, swelling or a significant increase in skin temperature (skin becomes hot/warm to the touch). The recommended repetitions are here to serve as guideline. Keep in mind that each person is different and you must modify your activity according to the feedback your body provides. If you feel your muscles getting fatigued (a good thing) and you begin losing control (leg begins twitching) stop and return to the exercise at another time. Do not allow your heel to raise up off the floor during the exercise.
Learn More
About Recovery
This exercise is recommended for early stage rehabilitation of an injured or post-surgical knee.
. This exercise can also be included into a general fitness program to develop hip adductor strength, develop proper muscle balance and prevent injury.


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