methods for testing hammy vs quad strength?

I have a feeling that like most people, my gluts and hams are weak compared to my quads. So I’ve started doing box squats, lunges, and glut ham raises, which is definitely helping. But what I’m wondering is how do I test the strength ratio to see when the two muscle groups are more equalled out? I would imagine you’d want to do it on some kind of machine, because if you did some kind of complex maneuver, improper form could throw off the results, right? So should I just do quad extensions compared to hammy extensions? I guess that wouldn’t really be testing the glut area, how would I go about doing that? I have a feeling that my left hammy and glut is weaker than my right too, so I’d like to test each leg individually. Is there some kind of scienitific method for doing this? I’ve never seen it mentioned, and I can’t find it on any searches.

Yes, I know those extension machines are looked down on here, but I’m not talking about using them for any period of time, just once for testing purposes, so please don’t scold me for that, I never use those machines. :slight_smile: I’d appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!


Why are you worried about the strength ratio? Do you need a particular ratio for a sport that you play or something?

And it’s “glute”, not glut. :wink:

Well, those extension/curl machines wouldn’t give you an accurate reading as those machines only work the lesser functions of the quad/ham.

Yeah, for a sport. I play ultimate frisbee which involves a ton of sprinting so I’d like the ratio to be as close to 1:1 as possible.

I understand the point about the weakness of using the machines to test, but what else would work better? I know when I’ve had physical therapy, they just test by having you push with the muscle, and the give manual resistance, so they can tell what’s stronger. I’d imagine a trainer would do something similar, but I was hoping to find some way to do it myself without paying for a doctor…


excuse my ignorance…but wtf is “ultimate frisbee?”

i didnt know you needed great low body strength to throw a frisbee. learn something new everyday i guess.

Ultimate frisbee is kind of like a cross between soccer, football, and basketball. It’s like soccer in that play doesn’t stop until someone scores, and you run around a LOT until that happens. It’s like football in that basically every movement is a full out max effort sprint and you have two end zones. And it’s like basketball in that once you catch the frisbee you can’t move, you have to throw it to someone else (no dribbling). Smack the disc down on defense and your team takes immediate possession. Mostly it’s just played for fun, but there are some of us that take it more seriously. It’s growing fast in the college ranks. If you want to see some pure athleticism, watch the trailer for this video from last years club nationals:

Oops, that should be:

why would you need a 1:1 ratio? sprinting mostly involves ‘glut’ hamstring and calf muscles, and having strong calves would help you jump higher to catch the frisbee.

Well, unless I’m remembering wrong, the 1:1 ratio is what charlie francis reccomends as the ideal balance of muscle strength for speed in sprinting.

It makes sense to me that the glut/ham area is weaker than it should be, because you hardly ever use those muscles in daily life. I’ve noticed this because when I do the posterior chain exercises and my gluts and hammys are totally sore the next day, it’s really not that hard to deal with, because those muscles only seem to work when you get up from sitting down. The time when they are heavily used though, is when you are sprinting, because the leg extends back farther with each push of the leg, really targetting that area. Maybe 1:1 is wrong, I can’t remember anymore, but most people are probably around 4:1 and should be closer to 2:1 or even 1:1 for ideal speed.

If I’m wrong, please someone correct me…

Yes you are right that Francis recommends a 1:1 ratio and most people are much stronger in the quads. The thing is, it’s just about impossible to measure in the weight room and even if you could it won’t really tell you much because what really matters is the force differences at high speeds. Having said that, you can compare your performance on various exercises to get an idea. Compare your strict deadlift (no back rounding) to your high bar narrow stance back squat. Your low bar -wide stance sitting back “westside” style squat to your regular high bar squat.(Both of the former involve more hamstring) Your ATG squat or front squat to your parallel squat (ATG involves more posterior chain). Your arched back good morning to your performance on all squats. The amount of weight you can do for reps on reverse hypers (should be at least bodyweight) and your ability to perform glute ham raises. Look at all these and you should begin to see some tendencies. Next you can look at your ability to accelerate vs your top speed in sprinting. Acceleration requires more hamstring and posterior chain involvement.

That’s exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much! I assume I should be able to do GH raises at body weight? How many should I be able to do? Haha, right now I can barely push out four, and I use a weight tower to counterbalance, like the way a gravatron works, reducing my weight to about 60 pounds. Obviously I have a lot of work to do until things come closer to 1:1. My quads are super strong too I guess because I did a ton of biking when I was a kid…