Top 10 Muscle Imbalances And What To Do About Them #7

May 8, 2016

#7 Tibialis Anterior Dominating Quads

“40% percent of muscle force transmission is due to fascia.”
– Carla Stecco

Front line of fascial force anyone? One giant long elastic recoil spiral matrix of connective tissue from the foot to the neck.

Tibialis anterior is a real pain in the shin. Pun intended.

What does the Tibialis anterior do? Dorsiflexes the ankle and inverts the foot.

What does the Rectus femoris do? Flexes the hip and extends the knee

What happens if the Rectus femoris becomes weak? Hip flexion becomes vulnerable and the brain chooses another flexor in the chain to assume the load. The Tibialis anterior is more than happy to oblige. It’s the puppy dog of the Rectus femoris.

Why does the Rectus femoris get weaker?

  1. Sitting on your ass too long and too often
  2. It’s a two jointed muscle and they are prone to inhibition

Try this little experiment:

Stand with feet together so they touch. Slowly flex one hip up in the air like you’re taking a high step. Single Leg Stance position. Bring knee up to waist level. Keep the ankle dorsiflexed engaging the tibialis anterior and feel how stable you are. Now repeat on the other side.

Do the same movement but now relax tension in the ankle and feel the difference. Repeat on the other side. For the majority of people, especially if this relationship exists, you will feel much more stable with your ankle dorsiflexed then relaxed. You should feel stable both ways.

This is one of the biggest relationships I see in runners who get chronic shin pain, shinsplints or tendinitis. Basically their tibialis anterior become their quads and usually their ass.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Release the tibialis anterior or via foam rolling, massage, or IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation)

    Shin Rolling

  2. Lie on your back with legs straight. One leg at a time relaxing your foot slowly contract your quad and then contract the same side glute. Hold 4 seconds. Relax the glute and the quad. Now flex your straight leg off the floor 4 four seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Release for 4 seconds. Repeat on the other side.


Next up…

Upper trap dominates latissimus dorsi