Close this search box.

How to Release your Tight Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Muscle

Lower back ql muscle pain

How to Release Your QL Muscle: Tips and Exercises

Do you experience lower back pain or discomfort that seems to radiate to your sides? Your quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle might be the culprit. This muscle plays a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and stability of the spine. In this article, we’ll explore what the QL muscles are, why they can become tight and painful, and provide a three-step approach to effectively release tight QL muscles for long-term relief.

If you prefer videos, watch the video version below!

Understanding the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Muscle

The quadratus lumborum is a deep muscle located in the lower back on either side of the lumbar spine. It runs from the bottom rib and the top of the pelvis to the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. The QL muscle is responsible for several key functions, including:

  • Lateral Flexion: Bending the torso to the side.
  • Extension: Helping to extend the lumbar spine.
  • Stabilization: Providing stability to the lower back and pelvis during movement.

Why the QL Muscles Become Tight and Painful

Several factors can contribute to tight and painful QL muscles:

  • Poor Posture: Prolonged sitting, especially with a slouched posture, can strain the QL muscles.
  • Imbalanced Movements: Repetitive or uneven movements, such as carrying heavy bags on one side, can overwork the QL muscles.
  • Weak Core Muscles: Weakness in the core can force the QL muscles to compensate, leading to tightness and pain.
  • Injury: Trauma or sudden movements can cause the QL muscles to tighten up as a protective response.

A Three-Step Approach to Releasing a Tight QL Muscle

To effectively release tight QL muscles, it’s essential to follow a structured approach that reduces muscle tension, restores motion, and reinforces strength and stability. Here’s a detailed plan:

1. Reduce Tension with a Lacrosse Ball Muscle Release

Reducing muscle tension is the first step to alleviating pain and preparing the muscles for further exercises.

  • QL Lacrosse Ball Release:
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
    • Place a lacrosse ball under your lower back, just to the side of your spine, targeting the QL muscle.
    • Slowly roll your body over the ball, applying gentle pressure to the tight areas.
    • Hold the pressure on any particularly tight spots for 20-30 seconds, then move to another spot.
    • Repeat on the other side, spending 2-3 minutes on each side.

This technique helps to release muscle knots and reduce tension in the QL muscles, making them more pliable for stretching and strengthening.

2. Restore Motion with Lateral Flexion Spinal Segmentation

Restoring proper motion in the QL muscles is crucial for improving flexibility and preventing further tightness.

  • Lateral Flexion Spinal Segmentation:
    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides.
    • Slowly initiate a side bend by moving your head towards your shoulder, followed by your neck, upper back, and finally your lower back. Focus on moving each segment of your spine one at a time.
    • Reverse the motion by returning to the upright position, starting from your lower back, then your upper back, neck, and head.
    • Perform this movement slowly and deliberately, feeling each segment of your spine move independently.
    • Repeat 2-3 sets of 5-8 repetitions on each side.

Lateral flexion spinal segmentation helps to enhance the mobility of the spine and the QL muscles, ensuring that each segment moves independently and effectively.

3. Reinforce with Strength and Stability using Side Plank Dips

Building strength and stability in the QL muscles is essential for preventing future tightness and maintaining proper function.

  • Side Plank Dips:
    • Start in a side plank position with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your body in a straight line.
    • Lower your hips toward the ground, then lift them back up to the starting position.
    • Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions on each side.

Side plank dips strengthen the QL muscles and improve core stability, ensuring that the QL muscles are properly supported during daily activities and physical exertion.


Releasing tight QL muscles requires a comprehensive approach that addresses muscle tension, restores proper motion, and reinforces strength and stability. By incorporating the lacrosse ball muscle release, isolated lateral flexions, and side plank dips into your routine, you can effectively alleviate pain and improve the flexibility and function of your QL muscles.

Consistency is key—regularly practicing these exercises will help you maintain a healthy lower back and prevent the QL muscles from becoming tight and painful again. If your symptoms persist or worsen, consider consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment. By taking proactive steps to release tight QL muscles, you can enjoy a pain-free and more comfortable daily life.

Need a consistent plan for Mobility Training?

Do you know you need to train your mobility, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I have you covered! That is exactly why I created the Mobility Suite Membership so you can start mobility training for a fraction of the price of seeing a physical therapist and/or chiropractor!

I’ve created a library of mobility training programs (from hip mobility to spinal mobility) that you can have on-demand access to. These programs were carefully crafted to help you get the most out of mobility training with only minutes of work per training session! Less is more with mobility training. The most important thing is consistency! So, if you need a consistent strategy, start your FREE 7-day trial to my Mobility Suite Membership!

Why offer a 7-day free trial? I firmly adhere to the “1-week rule.” If you commit to consistent mobility training for one week, you’ll gather enough data to determine if it’s right for you. I’m confident that these programs will benefit you, and I want to give you the chance to experience it firsthand, completely free for one week. This way, you can determine whether mobility training aligns with your goals and needs without any financial commitment!

You have nothing to lose but the stiffness in your joints. Don’t let discomfort hold you back any longer— tap/click the button below to join today and take the first step toward a more mobile and pain-free lifestyle!

Tags :
flexibility,lower back,mobility training,stretching
Share :
Related Post :
Scroll to Top