If you work out, play sports, or are interested in the human body in general, you should have heard of the quadriceps.
Now, if you don’t know what your quadriceps are and you thought they were dinosaurs that went extinct, you’re about to get a rude awakening.
In short, your quadriceps are the muscles in your thighs. There are four muscles in each quad. The following terms are used to describe these muscles:
- Vastus Intermedius – The most in-depth muscle of the four that sits beneath the following three.
- Vastus Lateralis – As the name suggests, the Vastus Laterlalis is situated on the quadriceps’ outside or lateral side.
- Vastus Medialis – Often referred to as the ‘teardrop,’ the Vastus Medialis is located on the quadriceps’ inner side and ends near your patella (kneecap).
- Rectus Femoris – The ‘Rec-Fem’ is a superficial muscle (A muscle felt through the skin) that sits on the top of your quadriceps between the Medialis and the Lateralis.
In this article, we’ll talk more about the Vastus Medialis without going into too much detail about its supporting parts.
The main job of this muscle is to work with the muscles around it to straighten the knee and effectively lengthen the leg.
Many people are much weaker in this area than in others because they don’t train or do the right things.
Because of this, their knee strength is also affected, and they can’t do lower body exercises as well as they could. This is not good, my friend.
Vastus Medialis Vs. Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO)
Does anyone out there like trouble? Well, the Vastus Medialis is said to have a muscle next to it called the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO). Its job is to give the Vastus Medialis an extra function by helping to keep the kneecap stable and giving it support.
If the VMO wasn’t there, the kneecap, or patella, would move a little bit to the outside of the knee when we bent our legs.
This is how the knee is naturally made and shaped. Because of this, the cartilage lining at the back of the kneecap would rub too much, which would make it more likely to come loose in this area.
Because of where and how its muscle fibres are arranged, the VMO can prevent any of the above from happening as it pulls the kneecap inward or medially.
By doing this, the kneecap can move smoothly up and down the channel of the femur (thigh bone). This keeps the back of the kneecap from rubbing against itself.
But, you may wonder, what’s the big deal?
A lot of physiotherapists agree that the VMO is its own muscle. On the other hand, some experts think that the VMO is part of the Vastus Medialis and not a separate muscle.
But for this article, we’ll say that both are just as important as each other because they work together to get things done every day.
Maybe they should have a joust to show how different their ideas are, and the winner could keep the definition? This is just a thought.
Benefits Of Training Your Vastus Medialis
Vastus medialis training is important for anyone who needs their lower body to work well and be strong, which is pretty much everyone.
Even though we can’t always work this muscle without also working the rest of the quads, we can still put more focus on this area to give it more stimulation.
We’ll talk more about Vastus Medialis strengthening exercises later, but for now, let’s talk about how working this muscle can help you in your everyday life.
Lack of strength in the quadriceps, especially in the Vastus Medialis, can make the knees weak and cause long-term pain.
Strengthening exercises for the Vastus Medialis can help build strong foundations and prevent injuries caused by weakness or pain near the knee.
Vastus medialis training keeps you from getting hurt, and it’s also important for improving athletic movements like running, jumping, and lunging. It’s even more important when doing unilateral exercises that require more stability and control.
All of the above moves are explosive, which means that the muscles have to contract quickly and hard. Still, if you do them even though you know your quads are weak and not working well, you could be setting yourself up to get hurt soon.
Upscale Your Aesthetics
Sometimes the goal is to look good. I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen if you have a set of tree trunks that have been chiseled? Perhaps you rip a bunch of old shorts that are too small for your new Quadzilla legs.
By working out your quads, you can improve the overall look of your lower body by bringing those bulging muscles to the surface.
But if you want to see a big change, you may need to make changes to your diet and training. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”
Importance Of Vastus Medialis Exercise
You might think that the Vastus Medialis and the Vastus Medialis Oblique are either the same muscle or two different ones. If that’s the case, it doesn’t matter which exercises you do because they will all help you in the same way.
It is important to make sure the VMO gets the stimulation it needs to keep it from getting weak or misfiring.
This is the last thing we want because a weak or misfiring VMO can cause knee pain, instability, and possible dislocation, all of which can be very painful and make it hard to move.
So, without further ado, let’s get into some Vastus Medialis and Vastus Medialis Oblique exercises that will help you avoid injury and improve the way your lower body works as a whole.
The Best Vastus Medialis Exercises
The split squat is a great unilateral exercise that will help your Vastus Medialis and VMO get much stronger. As this exercise is all about slow, controlled reps, make sure you have enough training experience and strength to do it without hurting yourself.
- Make sure that the toes of your trailing foot are on the raised equipment behind you.
- Step forward with your leading foot until your trailing leg is only slightly bent, about 2 to 3 feet from your elevated equipment.
- Lean forward between 10 and 20 degrees while keeping your back straight.
- Brace your core and squat down on your front leg until your hamstring is parallel to the floor.
- Once you get to the bottom of the rep, pause for a second, and then drive up through your heel while keeping your quads, glutes, and core engaged.
- Keep doing this form over and over again for the whole set. You can make it harder by adding more weight.
If you’re looking for a place to start to strengthen your Vastus Medialis, you don’t need to look any further. Step-ups are a basic exercise that can be changed and done by anyone who wants to improve their training for the Vastus Medialis.
Even though it’s a one-sided exercise, you can swap and change the height of the raised surface to make it more or less difficult. This makes it a great way to work out for people of all ages and abilities.
- Stand in front of the raised surface you’ve chosen, like a flat exercise bench or a small step. You can hold a set of dumbbells in either hand to make the workout harder.
- Wear clothes that don’t bind your legs because you’ll need to be able to move up and down at different heights.
- Step up onto the raised platform or surface with one foot and push your glutes forward as you get to the top. Make sure your back is straight and your core is braced.
- Step down with the foot you didn’t use to get on the surface, and do this as many times as you want.
- Make sure your posture stays straight the whole time. If you see signs of instability, stop the set and take a break to get back on your feet.
Squats are one of the best compound exercises you can do, and they are especially good for strengthening the Vastus Medialis. They help us improve our posture, balance, lower-body strength, core strength, and a long list of other things.
There are many kinds of squats, like the back squat, the overhead squat, the front squat, and the Jefferson squat. All of these exercises have different benefits, but for training the Vastus Medialis, we will focus on the pause squat.
Stand with your feet at least shoulder-width apart on a flat, hard surface.
- Focus on keeping your back straight while you brace your core. Then, bring your hips down until they are even with your knees.
- A good tip from a coach is to try to bend your knees at least 90 degrees and make sure your hamstrings are parallel to the floor.
- As you lower yourself into a squat, your heels should be firmly planted, and your knees should move in the direction of your feet without crossing over your toes. This will help to keep your centre of mass strong and prevent knee valgus.
- It would help if you held this squat in the isometric phase for as long as you wanted.
- This is the part of the squat where you hold the position.
- As you rise back to the top, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes and legs.
- You can do this as many times as you want.
Leg extensions are one of the very best exercises for the Vastus Medialis because they only work the legs. Even though it works all of the quadriceps muscles, it puts a lot of focus on the Vastus Medialis and VMO.
Almost every gym has a leg extension machine that is easy to use and lets you switch between different weights as you see fit.
But if you don’t have a gym membership, you can still do this exercise with a regular dining chair. You just need to hook a stretchy resistance band to the chair leg and put your foot through the other end of the band.
- Sit in the leg extension machine and place your toes on the cushioned foot rest.
- Hold the handles on either side of the machine firmly. By doing this, you help the quadriceps stay tight during the exercise.
- While holding the machine’s side handles, you should only use your quadriceps to extend your legs until you reach the lockout point and start the concentric phase of the move.
- Lockout for 1–2 seconds, then slowly lower the load eccentrically back to the starting position without the weighted plates touching each other on the machine. If you do this, your quadriceps will feel less tight.
- To make it harder, you can change the weight or do reps with only one leg. On the other hand, if it’s too hard, you can drop the weight to a good level of difficulty.
- You can do this as many times as you want.
The lunge is something you’ve probably heard of, right? So, have you thought about the side lunge? Maybe not, but let me tell you why adding the side lunge to your training for the Vastus Medialis can help strengthen that teardrop in no time.
Make sure you’re standing on a stable, flat surface with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly pointing outward.
- As you put your weight on the right leg, you will bend your right knee and drop your hips while keeping your left leg straight.
- Hold for one second, then push off your right foot through your heel to return to the starting position and do the same thing with your left foot.
- Change the number of reps and sets in this cycle until you have reached your goal.
- You can make it harder by holding dumbbells in either hand or by putting a weight in the middle of your body and holding it with both hands.
- Keep in mind that you might not be able to get your hips as low as you would with a regular squat. Because of how the exercise is done, your range of motion may be limited, which is fine.
For people who are new to the gym, the leg press can look like a scary machine, especially when bigger guys load it up to the max.
But I can assure you that it’s a basic piece of equipment that everyone, no matter how much experience they have, should use because it’s one of the best ways to strengthen the Vastus Medialis.
- Make sure the weight on the machine is just right. To target the right area, you must put your feet on the press plate with your hips apart and your toes pointing forward.
- Make sure you know how to move the safety lever on the side of the machine to turn it off. This lets you move the plate forward and lock it back into place when you’re done.
- Start by pushing the plate forward, but don’t lock your knees out. At the same time, let go of the safety lever.
- Once you’ve reached a point before the lockout would happen, slowly and carefully lower the plate. You should try to bring your knees as close to your chest as you can, but don’t worry if you can’t yet.
- If the reps are too easy, you can make them harder by adding more weight. You can also put a pause between reps as you come down to your chest.
- Repeat this cycle for as many reps or sets as you want.
So, there it is. Our training for the Vastus Medialis is finally over. We hope you found this article useful and will put it to use in your daily life.
It can be hard to train your Vastus Medialis or Vastus Medialis Oblique in isolation, so be aware that most of these exercises will work all of the quadriceps at the same time.
So, we’ve given you ways to target and activate your Vastus Medialis more effectively than other traditional exercises, so that teardrop can pop with a bang.
Lastly, it’s important to know how to do these exercises right before you do them. This is especially true for exercises like the leg press.
Due to the safety levers, you need to be very careful with this machine. If you forget to clamp the levers down, for example, you could seriously hurt yourself. Not only that, but you must also make sure that the weight you are using can be moved safely and effectively.
Who would have thought that the Vastus Medialis and VMO were so important to our daily lives? Now that you know how important they both are, you should save this article, write it down, or do whatever you can to keep it close at all times in case you need to look it up again.