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I have overdeveloped quads, which has affected my knees, what are some exercises that will help counteract this imbalance?

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3 Answers 3

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a fairly common complaint from cyclists. You really should consult with a medically-trained therapist, but straight leg lifts, oddly, are a good place to start. (Lay on back, hold leg straight, lift without bending knee.)

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First, you should really consult with a sports medicine doctor. That's the only way to truly diagnose and evaluate the best way to correct the specific problem that you're having.

That said, this problem is usually a result of a combination of over developed quads, as you suspect, and also a lack of flexibility in your hamstrings. Any hamstring stretch will most likely help, over time.

Try seated and standing toe touches, downward facing dog, and those seated one legged stretches where you reach for one foot while the other is folded in. You'll find plenty of other stretches if you do a search for "hamstring stretches."

Most importantly, don't push it. Gaining flexibility takes time more than effort. Pushing is actually counter productive. Just do the stretches gently and trust in time to do the real work for you.

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Should you try toe touches, remember to bend your hips only, keeping the back straight. Looking one metre in front of your feet (if standing) or looking at the ceiling (if sitting) will help you keeping the spine aligned. Arching your back doesn't improve the stretch as much and damages your spine as an added bonus. More importantly: stretching is not at all about pain/endurance. It is about taking your time, relaxing and tiring the contraction reflex. –  astabada Oct 21 '12 at 9:34

Like the other two state, consulting a specialist first is a good idea. If there truly is something wrong (not just minor inflamation) you'll save yourself a lot of time and headache by getting an early diagnosis.

That said, tTreatment largely depends on the factors that have caused the pain. Are you a power lifter or someone who runs 80 miles a week? Do you lift heavy things at work all day? Are you arthritic? The first step is to identity the activity\ailment that has caused the pain and either stop the acdtivity completely or cut back drastically.

After that, begin strengthening and stretching the hamstrings and quadriceps by way of low weight high rep exercises.

Here's a link to some hamstring exercieses that I swear by:

http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/Exercises/Fitness/Videos/Hamstring/Medicine-Ball

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Note that the usual problem with patellofemoral pain syndrome is that unequal tension is pulling the kneecap off-center. One can guess at which muscles are involved and give the "usual" therapy, but medical evaluation is really required to be sure, before one exacerbates the problem by exercising the wrong muscles. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 24 '12 at 15:32
    
Agreed. It's difficult (impossible really) to answer questions like this without (1) being a professional in this area and (2) being able to diagnose the specific cause of the pain. –  jeuton Oct 24 '12 at 15:37

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