The short arc quads is mainly used as a physical therapy exercise. It is a knee exercise that targets the quadriceps (upper thigh) muscles.
The exercise is suitable for people with lower extremity injury because it will improve and strengthen the neuromuscular recruitment of the quads.
It is a good exercise for relieving knee and hip pain and can improve how you move around. Also, it will strengthen your muscles and repair torn knee ligaments.
Targeted muscles: Quadriceps, hips and knees.
Exercise type: Therapy.
Exercise mechanics: Isolation.
Difficulty level: Beginner.
Required Equipment: Mat (optional), bolster.
- Spread your mat on a flat surface and lie flat on it. If you don’t have a mat, use any flat surface, such as the floor. Lie facing the ceiling.
- Position the bolster under the knees of the quad you wish to work. Your bolster can be a baseball bat, a coffee can, or a piece of rounded cloth.
- Straighten the bolstered knee slowly until it fully stretches. Ensure you don’t lose contact with the knees at any given point.
- As you stretch the knees, squeeze your quad muscle. Try to stretch your knee as far out as you can.
- Hold your stretched knee for a few seconds – preferably three to five seconds – before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat the process 10 to 15 times.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of the short arc quads to maximize pressure on your quads.
- Increase the intensity of the exercise by attaching weights to your ankle. Use light weights.
MUSCLES WORKED BY THE SHORT ARC QUADS
The exercise targets the quadriceps muscles. The exercise targets specifically the vastus medialis muscles. These muscles are activated during the terminal knee extension stages (straightening the knee). Working the muscles will improve how you run, walk and stand. It will also strengthen the knee joint.
BENEFITS OF SHORT ARC QUADS
The short arc quads exercise has several benefits because it strengthens the quadriceps muscles. Performing this exercise regularly will benefit you in the following ways:
IT WILL STRENGTHEN YOUR QUADS
The quads are an important and biggest group of muscles in the body—their purpose is to extend the knee. The short arc quads will strengthen them, giving you the ability to walk, squat, and run properly. Also, it will give you a good posture.
IT WILL PREVENT HIP PROBLEMS
Performing the short arc quads requires you to lift one knee. The lifting will force you to engage your hips and glutes and indirectly strengthen those muscles. As a result, it will protect you from hip injuries and improve your hip flexion. Also, stronger quad muscles, a direct effect of the short arc quads, will improve your hip movement.
IT WILL HELP YOU REGAIN ACTIVE CONTROL OF YOUR QUADRICEPS
When you injure your knees from an exercise or surgery, they will swell a lot. The swelling can cause a type of pneumonia known as atherogenic inhibition, which will prevent you from contracting your muscles. To deal with this situation, you need to work your knees. Elevating them slightly and stretching them, the basics movements of the short arc quads will allow the muscles to contract, releasing the swelling in your knees.
ALTERNATIVE OF SHORT ARC QUADS
BODY WEIGHT LEG EXTENSION
The body weight leg extension is an excellent alternative to short arc quads because it also stretches the knees and works the quadrilateral muscles. It involves sitting on a chair and extending your legs forward. It will improve your quad strength without relying on added weight. Also, it is easy on the knees and will improve your recovery quickly from a knee injury.
- Put a chair in an open place. Sit on it, ensuring that both feet are firmly positioned on the ground. Stretch your feet hip-width apart.
- Straighten your back for a better posture.
- Extend your preferred knee forward until it is fully stretched. At the top of the movement, hold your leg for 3-5 seconds. This will maximize the effect on your quads.
- Lower your knees back to the starting position by bending your knees.
- Perform three sets of 10-12 reps.
- Repeat the same procedure with your alternating foot.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE SHORT ARC QUADS
ATTACHING HEAVY WEIGHTS TO YOUR ANKLES
Attaching weights to your ankles when performing the short arc quads is effective for maxing out the effect of the stretch. However, attaching heavy weights to the ankles might inflate your ego, making you want to go heavier. This can lead to tearing of the knee ligaments, which might cause massive discomfort. Adhere to the recommended weights if you must use them. Otherwise, perform the exercise without attaching any weights to your ankle.
The short arc quads depend on the flexion of the knees. One way of performing it correctly is by stretching your knees fully. Some people tend to extend their knee halfway before dropping it back down. This will prevent you from fully extending your quad muscles. It might create an illusion that the training is harder than it is and will limit muscle growth. Avoid half movements. Start using your full range of motion when performing the short arc quads.
TORN KNEE LIGAMENTS
Torn knee ligament is a risk associated with the short arc quads, especially if you perform the exercise with heavy weights attached to your legs. The increased resistance caused by the heavy weights might cause excessive tension on your ligaments, forcing them to tear. Avoid tearing your ligaments by using the correct weights.
The short arc quads workout is an effective exercise for your quadriceps. It will rehabilitate your knee injury and improve your quats, walks, and runs. It will improve your knee flexion and will reduce swellings in the knees.
There are a few risks with multiple benefits, making it one of the best physical therapies. You can avoid those risks by adhering to your physician’s recommendations and following the procedure above. There are alternatives to the short arc exercise, but some may not be as effective as it is.
If you want to rehabilitate your knees, give this exercise a try.