Lehigh Valley

Quads Are The Largest Group Of Muscles In Your Body

Quads: What are they and what do they do?

Quadriceps are the largest group of muscles in the body.  The group is composed of; you guessed it, four muscles. These include the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. The rectus femoris is located in the middle of the thigh and is the most superficial muscle of the quad. The others are located deeper within the leg. The vastus lateralis is located on the lateral side of the leg (outside of the thigh). The vastus medialis is located on the medial side of the leg (inside of the thigh). Finally, the vastus intermedius is between the prior two muscles. The rectus femoris covers this muscle and cannot be seen unless you get cut open. All of these muscles are connected to our tibial tuberosity (the little bump below our knee cap). There is a fifth muscle of the quad called the articularis genus. It often isn’t included in the grouping as it is a small muscle and unique as it lies on the surface of the femur. For our purposes, we won’t go into too much detail on this muscle. To further complicate things, a sixth muscle has been discovered in recent studies. The tensor vastus intermedius runs between the vastus lateralis and intermdius. At one point it was considered part of the vastus lateralis. However, the actual muscle can be separated and has its own independent nerve supply that branches off from the femoral nerve. The presence of the muscle is variable however, and has not been seen in every subject. Because of this we will be excluding this muscle. Further research has to be done.

The function of the muscles in the quad group are all very similar. All four are responsible for extension at the knee joint. In simple terms, it causes your lower leg to move forward as if you were kicking a ball. Since the rectus femoris originates from the ilium (the top of the hip bone) it is a flexor of the hip. Again, simply put, this causes the knee to come up closer to the chest. Muscles, on top of allowing movement to occur, often have other functions. We often say deep muscles act as stabilizer muscles. Well the three deeper muscles of the quads, especially the vastus medialis, help to stabilize the knee joint and the patella.

Training the quadriceps is a relatively simple thing to do as they are involved in a lot of our daily lives. Exercises such as squats and lunges work the quads as well as other muscle groups. Isolation exercises like a leg extension will work the quads directly. As any kind of exercise program, a combination of isolation and compound movements will yield the best results.

As far as injuries go, the quads are not bulletproof. Being relatively larger muscles, injuries are not as debilitating as a rotator cuff for example. Muscle tears, strains, and contusions can happen. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation will be effective in these injuries. One of the more harmful injuries that can occur to the quads is tearing the quad tendon. Depending on the severity of the tear, surgery might be necessary. 

In conclusion, the quads are comprised of four muscles (sometimes 6). They are responsible for extension of the lower leg, flexion of the hip, and stabilization of the knee. Hopefully now that we have this knowledge, we can train smarter and keep our joints healthy.

Body Elite Trainer, Sean Willitts

Body Elite Trainer, Sean Willitts

Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.

10 Ways To Improve Health and Save Money

10 Ways to Improve health and Save Money

If you’re like me, you like to save money whenever possible. Some would call me cheap while I consider myself thrifty. When people start a fitness journey, a common thing to do is to go out and buy new workout clothes, new shoes, or even supplements that you can’t pronounce the name of. These things don’t matter. How you exercise is much more important than how you look while exercising. When embarking on your fitness journey, it is a perfect time to not only look at your physical health but also your financial health. Here are a couple tips on how you can save money and improve your health at the same time.

1. Vitamins and supplements

Unless you have a medical reason to take a vitamin or supplement, you can skip them. Often times, the health benefits are limited. For example, the body can only absorb so much from a multivitamin so you’d literally be flushing money down the toilet. A counterpoint to this would be if a doctor tells you that since you are vegetarian, you should take a protein supplement. We also live in a Vitamin D deficient area so a vitamin D supplement is smart to take. By skipping out on these often unnecessary things you could save up to $1000/year.

2. Reduce eating out

A client and I had a conversation the other day. She told me she knew people that ate out 3 times a week. We figured it out and they were spending about $200 a week on eating out alone. I encourage you to take a look at how much you’re eating out and how much you’re spending. Not only is eating at home cheaper but is typically healthier. By cutting down eating out by 50%, you can expect savings of up to $5000.

3. Not eating lunch out

Going out to lunch is tough sometimes. Sometimes you’re meeting someone or conducting business over lunch. Other times, we go down to the deli and something quick and easy and unhealthy. Pack your lunch by using leftovers from dinner the night before. Don’t go out to eat unless someone else is buying or you have a business obligation. By doing this you can expect saving of up to $3000 a year.

4. At-home entertainment

Cancelling cable or satellite is definitely a millennial move but is a major money saver. Using an antenna or Netflix/Hulu/amazon can provide plenty of entertainment at a fraction of the cost saving you up to $1000 per year.

5. Thermos

If you’re like my wife and mother-in-law, you’re addicted to coffee. Not only coffee but expensive coffee. Many people go out and get their morning coffee from a Starbucks or a dunkin donuts. You can save money by brewing coffee at home and investing in a thermos or a travel mug to take it to work with you. It doesn’t sound like much but by doing this you can save up to $500 a year.

With all this money you’ll be saving you can now invest more into your health. Below are some great things to spend your money on while still staying healthy.

6. Join a CSA farm sharing program

What better way to get fresh fruits and vegetables than to get them straight from the farm. Not only do you get super fresh fruits and vegetables but you can save money and eat way healthier. You’ll also know exactly where your food is coming from. 

7. Join a gym

Investing in your health is the best thing you can do. The cost of a gym membership is nothing compared to the cost of the health car you’d incur from staying sedentary.

8. Enjoy an active hobby

Biking, skiing, hiking, etc. are great ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors while also staying healthy. 

9. Cooking class

Taking a cooking class can introduce you to new dishes, new techniques, and new experiences.

10. Take a vacation

With all the money you’ll be saving, you can justify taking some time to yourself on a vacation.

http://www.weightymatters.ca/2018/12/10-easy-ways-to-save-your-money-and.html

Body Elite Trainer, Sean Willitts

Body Elite Trainer, Sean Willitts





Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals









Can you still work out with sore muscles?

Working out sore muscles?

We all get sore, even those individuals who have been working out for a while. We can be as smart with our training as possible and still feel the pain of a tired muscle. It can be the day after or a couple of days after that we’ll experience soreness. Well what if your next scheduled workout comes and you’re still feeling sore? Can you work out a sore muscle? Short answer, depends.

When we experience muscle soreness, it is the body trying to repair the muscle tissue that has been broken down. This soreness can range from minor discomfort to severe discomfort. We have to determine how sore we are if we want to work out the same muscles. If you are feeling slight discomfort, lighter resistance should be used as well as some lighter, low impact cardio. This ensures that blood and oxygen are getting to those sore muscles and speeding up the healing process. In fact, I always recommend some light cardio a day after a lift to help in the recovery process. If you are experiencing any more discomfort than this, by all means, rest. Further damage can be caused. If we keep pushing our bodies hard without proper recovery we can overreach. This can lead to overtraining and actually decrease our performance (see my article on the Law of Accommodation). This overtraining can lead to an increased heart rate, depression, illness, injury, fatigue, insomnia, decreased appetite, or worsening performance.

Fortunately, we can avoid this overtraining. By using a combination of recovery strategies such as myofascial release and sleep as well as splitting your training up we can reduce the likelihood of overtraining. Splitting up your workout so you aren’t doing the same muscle groups or the same loads on the same muscle group can help you to organize your training. For example, if you go to the gym twice a week, do an anterior/posterior split. There is only one proper split out there. That’s the one that works best for you.

Source: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/685/if-my-muscles-are-sore-from-previous-workouts-is-it-safe-to-exercise-them

BE Sean Photo.jpg

Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.

Assessing and Addressing Asymmetries

How To Stay Symmetrical 

You hear it all the time. “That’s my good side” or “that’s my bad (insert body part here).” This is a red flag to trainers, physical therapists, doctors, etc. One of the biggest reasons we assess clients at the beginning of a fitness journey is to find asymmetries in the body. One example is more mobility in your left shoulder than your right or more balance on one side compared to the other. It may seem like a normal thing but it is indicative of future issues. Moving forward in a fitness program without addressing these issues will only make them worse. Form on every exercise can be perfect but you are only hurting yourself if those deep issues are not corrected.

So how can we address symmetry issues? There are a couple strategies to help correct and monitor our asymmetries. First, we do unilateral work. In English, those are exercises that are single arm or leg movements. This type of movement helps isolate and correct imbalances better than bilateral training. It also improves balance, engages more of your core, aids in injury prevention, and helps to rehab prior injuries. Including these movements as assistance exercises or even your big power movements will help to correct many issues. The next strategy is to rest. This is a great strategy especially for people who are trying to train through injury. Oftentimes, we will try to “suck it up” and train through injury. This promotes poor movement patterns as well as increases chances of further injuries. The best thing to do is rest. Taking a few weeks off will benefit you more than pushing through and hurting yourself.  The next strategy is our activation patterns. This is a combination of mindfulness as well as having a trained eye watching your lifts. Sometimes muscles won’t fire properly. Training our bodies to fire each muscle properly will go a long way in our staying injury free. The last strategy ties in well with the last. Make sure you communicate with your coach. Tell your trainer that your knee hurts, tell her that your shoulder is tight, tell him that your wrist is bothering you. Chances are that your coach/trainer will be able to help you. Never be afraid to over communicate. You are the one that has to live in your body, not your trainer. Make sure you feel comfortable and stay injury free.

Asymmetries are warning signs of poor movement patterns. Attacking them early and correcting them quickly and safely is what is going to make you successful in your fitness journey. Having a trainer working with you will make sure you are staying on track. It is difficult to see these asymmetries yourself so having a professional there to help you identify these imbalances makes it much easier. 

Source: https://www.elitefts.com/education/4-things-your-body-needs-to-stay-symmetrical/

Body Elite Trainer Sean Willitts

Body Elite Trainer Sean Willitts

Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.


Strengthening Exercises to Rehab Your Back

What is the McGill Big 3?

Chances are that at some point you will experience lower back pain. Lower back pain affects over thirty one million Americans. Disc herniations and bulges contribute to most of those cases. A common myth is that stretching will help to alleviate this pain. This is false. Truth is, strengthening exercises will go much further to rehab your back than anything else. So what can we do?

Dr. Stuart McGill from the University of Waterloo states that increasing muscular endurance in your core is the best defense against low back pain. If we think about it logically it makes sense. Our core often gives out during longer bouts of exercise. For example, imagine two equally trained individuals doing a standing shoulder press. One individual is using 90 pounds for a set of 5 while the other is doing 90 pounds for a set of 12. It is obvious that the second person will be doing the exercise for a longer duration. As we become fatigued during a shoulder press we often arch our lower back. The second person hurts their back as a result of the fatigue. Basically, this example shows that the longer we do an exercise the risk increases for form to break down and therefore, our back to be injured.

To combat this we need to learn to “brace our core.” You’ve probably been hearing this all the time if you go to Body Elite. How do we do this exactly? A braced core is a balanced core. We stiffen the musculature in our abs, lats, and lower back. For a good visualization, imagine our core as a can. If we push one end of the can in, it collapses much easier than if it were perfect. It might be difficult to achieve at first but luckily Dr.

McGill has developed a core strengthening circuit to strengthen these muscles and to help alleviate low back pain.

  1. The McGill Curl-up

First lie down on your back with one leg fully extended resting on the ground and the other leg bent. Place your hands underneath the arch of your back. Next, crunch up pulling your head, shoulders, and chest of the floor as if these body parts were one unit. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and return back to the ground slowly. Repeat while bending your other leg.

  1. Side Plank

Lying on your side, position your forearm on the ground keeping your elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Place your other hand on your opposing shoulder. Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle with your feet stacked on top of each other. From there, lift your hips off the ground as high as you can and hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat for the other side.

  1. Birddog

Assume the all-fours position on a mat making sure that your hands are directly underneath the shoulders and the knees are directly under the hips. Maintaining 3 points of contact through the spine extend the right arm and left leg simultaneously. Hold for about 10 seconds and repeat for the other side.

These exercises won’t instantly relieve lower back pain but are a prehab technique to combat the source of your lower back pain; the inability to brace your core. Do these exercises for 10 minutes before your workouts as a warm up and reap the benefits of decreased back pain.

Source: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/7077/low-back-rehab-exercises-stuart-mcgill-s-big-three

Body Elite Trainer Sean Willitts

Body Elite Trainer Sean Willitts

Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.