Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch

Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch

This is Brent coming at you with another
release and stretch video. In this video, we’re going to do the often forgotten
muscle, the quadratus lumborum, commonly known as the QL. Now the QL has a
propensity to get overactive and short in those individuals with an
asymmetrical weight shift, and those individuals with lumbo-pelvic hip
complex dysfunction, specifically an anterior pelvic tilt, may have shortness
and overactivity in this muscle, especially if they have a history of low
back pain. I’m going to have my friend Yvette come
out and help me demonstrate this exercise. Now this muscle is a little
deeper. This muscles a little different than
some of the other muscles that we’ve talked about with self-administered
release techniques, so I want to take a second to discuss anatomy here, show you guys a little bit of a
palpation activity, something you can practice so you get a good idea of where
this muscle is. If you find the back of somebody’s pelvis, go to their posterior
ilium and find the rim. Right, the top edge. You then put your
hand on the last rib that you can feel. I want you guys to stick your thumbs on
the lumbar spine. You can feel the spinous processes. Then use your index
fingers to go to the posterior ilium, the edge of that last rib, that little square
you just made with your fingers outlines the quadratus lumborum. You can then take your index fingers, move them inward towards each other and then bring them
down into the lumbar spine. All right so immediately, this way, and you should be
able to feel the edge of the quadratus lumborum. It’s definitely a pretty
distinct border. Now what that’ll do is it’ll give you an idea that this muscle
is not superficial. It actually lies just lateral to the lumbar spine underneath
the thoracolumbar fascia, underneath the external and internal obliques, as well as
underneath the transverse abdominis. This is a very deep muscle. We’re not going to be able to hit this
with a foam roll across the low back. Not that it would be a good idea, anyway. So
I’m gonna have Yvette go ahead and flip over. Now what I’ve done guys is when I was
walking my ginormous chihuahua this morning; I know some of you guys are
going to laugh at me for having a chihuahua, but he’s 22 pounds and is the biggest
chihuahua you’ve ever seen. You guys can look that up on Facebook. We were at Petco, and at Petco they had a big bin of tennis balls, right, because dogs love to play with tennis balls. The nice thing about that is I could
kind of play with these tennis balls to find different densities, right, so some
of these–like this one– super, super, soft and this one is a little bit more dense. Why is that important? Well, if I’m
dealing with Yvette here her tissue depth is really not that much, and
I just want to get to her quadratus lumborum. I don’t want to push
past it to the point where we end up with this huge lumbar lordosis. Now
somebody like me, with a little bit more tissue depth, I would need a little bit firmer tennis
ball. So, I just picked out three with different densities. We’re going to use
the softer one for Yvette. It’s actually a pretty fairly easy
technique to show. All you’re going to have them do is find the top of the
pelvis. They can use their hands. So find the top of your pelvis back
there, you got that, now I want you to put this tennis ball underneath your back
there, just on top of your pelvis and then what you’ll have them do is
actually slide sideways in one piece. All right, make sure that they don’t do
this squirmy pelvis thing because that will actually contract the QL
and then relax the QL and make it harder for them to find any sort of
trigger point that may exist there. But if they kind of bridge and use their arms
and slide in one piece, what they’ll end up doing is slide that tennis ball right
into the QL and then slide a little further until they find the most tender
spot, and then you guys know what the release protocols are. It’s 30 seconds to
2 minutes, until we get a significant, significant decrease in discomfort or we
see an actual release, right, where we feel that the muscle is letting go. Now one thing I do not want to see is you guys know I’m very fond of the
training softball, right, that’s a softball with a soft outside. If Yvette tries to do a softball on her QL, let’s look at what happens. So she’s going to go through the same
motions and then I’m going to go ahead and tell her to relax, right, we can’t have her all tensed up or we’ll never get a
release. Well, as soon as she relaxed and she puts her backside on the floor, we get this lumbar lordosis. We get a
little bit of rotation in her pelvis. Probably the scariest thing for me
thinking long-term is we get this huge posterior to anterior force on the
lumbar spine. Now I’m not worried about one session.
What I’m more worried about is if I give this to her for homework, if I put this
in her routine to do every day, because I’m trying to correct whatever
dysfunction exists that includes the QL, and she starts doing this every day. Is there a chance that posterior to
anterior force is going to create adaptive changes in the connective
tissue around the lumbar spine, setting up an instability and potentially injury? I’m not so worried with the
tennis ball, right, her lumbar spine was flat on the floor. There was no reason for me to think that
there was really that much of a posterior to anterior force that I might
cause those changes, but something huge like this, that could be a problem. The same could
be said about using a foam roll on the low back. It’s not so much one session. One session
is probably not going to hurt you, but if you did it every day, could you create those changes that
eventually set up injuries such as like, a herniated disc. Now once I get this muscle released, now
I need to start thinking how do I lengthen it, right, I want to return it to
optimal length, so I’m going to have that get into Child’s Pose position,
which you guys have seen. We actually use the Child’s Pose for a latissimus dorsi
stretch. The nice thing about this position is it
posteriorly tilts the pelvis, which the quadratus lumborum is a very weak lumbar extensor, will actually be lengthened just slightly by posteriorly tilting the
pelvis, because it’s the same as lumbar flexion. We can then side creep as we did and the progression of that
latissimus dorsi stretch, the only thing we need to worry about
now, is there a potential that the lat is going to be the restricting structure
and I’ve never actually going to get to the QL? Well that’s easy enough to fix.
All I have to do is have Yvette relax her arms a little bit, bring them
in, she can actually use them to kind of pillow her head. She can go a little bit
more into lateral flexion until she feels it at the QL. I do have to know
guys, that this particular stretch, unless somebody is really, really, geared up, they’re probably not going to feel this
QL stretch. It’s so deep and it’s so medial, so proximal to the lumbar spine,
that actually takes a fair amount of tightness before lateral flexion is
going to lengthen it enough for the individual to feel, going back to the
regular Child’s Pose stretch in that case, is probably your best bet. So
that, at least you’re affecting the other lateral flexors, the spine, being the
latissimus dorsi, and the erector spinae on that side. Do you feel this? Yvette actually feels this and
she has been having a little bit of SI joint dysfunction and does have an
asymmetrical weight shift, so this is probably a good stretch for her. She’s
going to use the release technique using the tennis ball at the appropriate
density. Make sure you guys are very careful at calculating which tennis ball
you should be using. I hope you guys get great outcomes from this technique and
anybody who has been having some of these problems gets great results. Talk with
you soon.

56 Replies to “Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch”

  1. Hi Brent, I'm following you from a lot of time because I'd like to fix my anterior pelvic tilt. I watched your video on the topic but I still couldn't fix it. Could you give me some extra suggestion, please ?

  2. Review some functional anatomy. Smash SMFR on your rec fem, sartorius, iliopsoas, tfl but also your adductors. Follow this with mobility (controlled movement promoting tissue extensibility and joint mobility) of the front of the hips and hip adductors. Then try some isometric split squats with tibia remaining vertical, hip thrust with post pelvic tilt, and dead bug variations. Avoid sustained sitting(get up every 40 mins at work) or even move to a stand up desk. Que good posture throughout day

  3. That should go along way. Read "why you should stop stretching you hip flexors" by Dean Sommerset on Tnation it should give you some insight

  4. Hi Brent, my left QL has been painful and tight for some time now, not on my right side though. I might have an elevated hip or shifting in the pelvis. As a result, my squat is asymmetrical. Any insight? More videos like this would be very appreciated

  5. Hey BodyBuildingDGE,
    You may try reading my articles on "Postural Dysfunction/Movement Impairment… there is a ton of info in that section that help you build a routine for yourself, and many hyperlinked videos.
    Hope that helps,

  6. Thanks for this video. I've had serious low back/glute issues for years including brutal spasms. Some massage eventually got rid of it after 10 years on the left side (after even botox, IMS, prolotherapy, chiro, physio, etc). Now I have it on the right side after sitting on the couch mostly. I noticed when I cross my leg over my other knee my right side is higher as I can't lay it flat on a table. I tend to cross my legs and put weight on one side at the computer. I tried foam rolling but it doesn't seem to work, even a ball is tricky to get at the spot but there is definitely a sore spot, the spasm is triggered sometimes when I roll over from on my back to the side and I noticed the QL flexes during this motion when I held my thumb on it there is definitely a sore spot. When I did some easy yoga stretches – lying on back, knees to chest or knees falling to the side, child pose etc it seems to aggravate the condition.

  7. Is there a way to correct what seems to be a tilted hip but side to side, left/right – (not just posterior/anterior)? When I lay my left leg on a table (from knee to foot) it's perfectly flat but I have to lift my right leg higher to get it on the table and it doesn't lay flat (the knee is up off the table). So it seems my right hip is higher than my left or there might be another reason. So I'm looking for something to re-align or possibly one side is tighter. Thanks!

  8. This helped me a TON. Now I can actually do the yoga poses I need to do without cramping and shooting pain in my left QL. Had no idea what to do about thus before the video. Thanks!

  9. Really uncomfortable prescribing this as a self care technique. Very dangerous area to work with a lay person with high pressure from a very small object. Aways been taught never to perform any pressure based release technique in the lumbar area Better to leave this to therapists and hands on care givers. Too many people as well probe and prod in this area without the proper knowledge of its skeletal and neural structure and musculature.

  10. New Comment – Testing and the QL – on the video: Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch 

    #QuadratusLumborum   #QL   #Hypertonic   #Overactive   #triggerpointtherapy   #triggerpoint   #triggerpointrelease   #Stretch   #Stretching   #lengthen   #Inhibit   #BrookbushInstitute   #Brookbush  

  11. Hi Brent, I'm really glad I came across your channel. I've been having lower back troubles for a few years now, I recently discovered that a lot of my complaints seem to be stemming from my Gluteus and hamstring muscles but I've always felt a pulling/tightness in my QL, which I didn't really know much about until a few days ago! Before I found your video I read a blog post about the trigger point in the QL so I've been doing this tennis ball release and it really seems to be working. I was a little concerned that I might do something bad or dangerous so have been doing it against a wall, as suggested in one of the blogs I read. I feel a lot of tenderness close to the spine but exactly in the area you described is it safe to keep the tennis ball there to release? I NEVER roll over the spine in any direction. Just a little concerned. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  12. Hey iamellamella,
    I would not be concerned unless the ball you are using is so hard or large that lying on it causes you to assume an increased lordosis (arch your low back over the ball).  I actually use fairly soft tennis balls for this technique.  Obviously, if you feel pain during or with in 24 hours of doing the technique stop…  make an appointment with a PT, DC or ATC and schedule a one-on-one evaluation.

  13. New Comment on the video: QL Static Release & Stretch 

    #QL   #QuadratusLumborum    #lowbackpain   #lowbackpaintreatment   #lowbackpainrelief   #lumbago   #correctiveexercise   #Therapeutic   #therapeuticexercise   #HomeExerciseProgram   #HEP   #BrookbushInsitute   #Brookbush  

  14. Hi Brent, great video! Quick question, I was confused at 4:00 when you referred to release protocol.  So when you're on that tender spot, am I to just rest there with the ball on that one spot?


  15. Hey Brent, I just want to say that the videos that you upload are unbelievably brilliant and I am very grateful because I am now knowing causes of certain dysfunctions. Brent please could you tell me the best types of foam rollers for Thoracic Spine release and TFL.

  16. I answer a question about the type of release tools I use on the video: Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release & Stretch 

    #QL   #QuadratusLumborum   #Stretch   #Release   #Chiropractic   #chiropracticcare   #chiropractictreatment   #sportschiro   #sportschiropractic   #SportsDC   #athletictraining   #AthleticTrainer   #OrthopedicPhysicalTherapist   #orthopedic   #orthopaedic   #orthopt   #OrthopedicPhysicalTherapy   #Brookbush   #BrookbushInstitute   #DrBrookbush  

  17. New Comment on the video: Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch 

    #QuadratusLumborum   #QL   #lowback   #lowbackpain   #lowbackpainrelief   #lowbackrelief   #Lumbago   #Release   #SMR   #selfmyofascialrelease   #myofascialrelease   #myofascialtriggerpointtherapy   #BrookbushInstitute   #Brookbush   #BrentBrookbush   #DrBrookbush  

  18. Will try this exercise out.  Might want to try  Pro Kadima balls… they are small and soft and not too hard.  Something like:  http://www.amazon.com/Sport-Design-Replacement-Beachball-Watercolors/dp/B0017XJBRM/ref=pd_bxgy_sg_img_y

  19. Hi Brent, I tried to share your video with a fellow practitioner, but they weren't able to view the video from the link listed: https://youtu.be/UO066nGKQZg  Not sure why this is happening, but you give a great explanation on how to properly palpate and work with the QL & would love to be able to share your video!

  20. what a great video – needed to watch some videos to get a better understanding of the QL muscle. learned a whole lot! thank you 🙂

  21. New Comment on the Video: Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch 

    #BrookbushInstitute   #PhysicalTherapyAide   #PhysicalTherapyAid   #PhysicalTherapyAssistant   #PTA   #occupationaltherapy   #OT   #FitnessTrainer   #StrengthCoach   #CorrectiveExercise   #TherapeuticExercise   #CEx   #TherEx   #TherX  

  22. Really nice video with detailed information.  I am an avid biker but have started to have bilateral back pain in what I imagine is my QL after 45 minutes or so of hard riding.  It dissipates quickly upon dismounting.  Different bikes with various setups have failed to correct the problem.  Seeing a few PT's and a sport med doctor hasn't helped either given the general prescription of "strengthen your core."  Being 46 years of age, I imagine it is some issue with strength, flexibility, or both.  Unfortunately, the stretching and core work I have instituted may be too broad and it has failed to relieve the problem.  Given these circumstances, I was interested whether you have seen clients with similar issues and if they happen due to a primary strength/flexibility issue in the QL or in the surrounding musculature?  Thanks for any advice.

  23. Hi. I have an extremely tight QL so much so that it's pulling my rib down and hip up to meet. Its like I'm leaning over. Please offer some help.

  24. New comment on the video: Quadratus Lumborum SA Static Release and Stretch

    #BrookbushInstitute   #Brookbush   #QuadratusLumborum   #QL   #BackPain   #LowBackPain   #LumbarSpin   #Lumbago   #LumbarPain   #Lumbopelvichipcomplex   #LPHC   #anteriorpelvictilt   #APT  

  25. Hey man in your video you said "not that that would be a good idea anyway" talking about rolling the low back. Why?

  26. Hi Brent! I like the way you explain things. It is very clear and obvious. Have one question for you. How can we know that we got to the quadratus lumborus muscle and not to other superficial muscles you were talking about. Best!

  27. i feel that lateral stretch big time. and the release really helped. quite painful in there. Also the static u taught for the terres major/minor helped huge!! thanks so much.

  28. Hey Brent.

    1) In the final exercise, only the toracic spine flexes (keeping the lumbar straight – something like ")") or do you flex, from the sacrum, in a straight line (more like "") ?

    2) Those balls are really soft, no? I remember when I first started to use lacrosse balls and foam rollers… I tried to put the lacrosse ball in that spot and really F**** my back. Never used any other tool in my lumbar ever since. 😀

  29. Hey Doc! What would be the antagonist of the QL?

    What would you if feel tightness in a QL, but that one was actually elongated?


  30. Great instructional video. Thanks! I experience a VERY tight QL on my left side. (Hx of 2 lumbar surgeries). I've been trying to find out if the tight QL could cause nerve impingement. When walking for any considerable length of time my outer left calf muscle becomes extremely tight, to the point that it is difficult to lift my left foot. Is this consistent with a tight QL???? Any help is appreciated.

  31. What a clear and thorough explanation of how to create release in the QL! Really appreciate this video … looking forward to checking out others on your channel.

  32. Brent, I have constant lower back issues which has been identified as a QL tightness issue.  I'm keen to try the tennis ball idea, but am unclear as to how to decide on the softness of the ball. I am a 70kg, 5 feet 9 inch male, with low body fat, but reasonably well conditioned…..not much to go on, but any thoughts welcome.Steve

  33. Yes Mr. Brent, I'm about 8 months into my 2nd lower back surgery, I've been going to the gym working on my abs to help stabilize my spine. I'm also stretching my hamstrings and my piriformis muscle on my right buttock area. The only problems I'm having is after walking about 1/4 miles my q l, on my ride side starts to hurt and my right glute area tightens and I end up lipping real bad on that side. Is there anything you can recommend my trying? Thanks

  34. Is tight QL one of the causes of Anterior Pelvic Tilt , should I do this stretch if I have APT ??

  35. Yes & yes. After this limb salvage saving surgery in the lower extremity….tibial bone replaced with endo prosthetic, man!!! From the piriformis to the QL to…..smh just all my secondary muscles. No, no you cannot shut it down with the foam roller 😔 Thanks for the video!!

  36. Hi Brent. What is your take on the standing QL stretch (https://youtu.be/N-F06NRSwwg) as opposed to the childs pose QL stretch in your video? I feel more tension during the standing stretch version and more relaxation afterwards. Am I hitting the QL more? Or am I just "imagining" it?

  37. Hi, Brent! Thank you for the video. Short question : does QL somehow connected to external/internal oblique and QL and TFL on the same side.

    I am asking, because i have issues with SIJ. GMed didnt work and i began stretchibg right TFL and it seems turned on right Gmed and i feel much better with my SIJ, but when i do TFL stretching i feel pulling/tightening between my pelvic and ribs on anterior side. I even can touch the muscle, it looks like my exterior oblique get tight after that stretching 🙂

  38. Hi Brent,
    my 14yr old son plays tennis 3-4 times a week. For the past few weeks, he is having pain in the left lower back just above the pelvic bone only while serving, no pain while playing other strokes. Can this be QL?. APPRECIATE your response. THANKS.

  39. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOSHJnz_ouj-NzMs4PuBdNg Hi Brent, all makes sense. Thanks for illustrative explanations ! Question: the tennis ball routine in this video, can be done once or twice daily, until muscle release? or it's just one time only and then you go to stretches?

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