The Quadratus Lumborum, aka QL, is considered by some sources to be the deepest muscle of the low back, while other sources label it the deepest muscle of the abdomen. Whichever point of view you take, fatigue and soreness in this muscle tends to manifest as low back pain. Low back pain can be daunting, but have no fear – you just need to learn how to make love to your QL! Your Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are especially helpful with this task, and are my personal favorite means of relief. When massaging the low back with the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls, they work their way from the most superficial low back muscles such as the serratus posterior inferior, all the way into the deep quadratus lumborum muscles! The YTU Therapy Balls also provide a whole lot of love to the connective tissue lining the low back. So the next time your QL is causing pain, just pull out your YTU Therapy Balls and follow along with Jill in this self-massage for the low back (and find it and more Quadratus Lumborum exercises on the Quick Fix for Lower Back video):
Read more about the Quadratus Lumborum.
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Common low back pain relief. Thank you
Loved these exercises- especially after having a sore lower back for the past week. Thank you for the awesome post!
This is one of my all time favourite YTU ball actions. I could rub out my QL all day long. Especially after long days of sitting in the lecture hall. It only takes about 5 minutes until my body starts to mold and yield to balls. My day is not begun until I have rubbed out some of the tension in my low back. I can’t even remember what I did before.
One of the hardest moves Jill shows is placing one ball on the block for added intensity for working through QL tightness. Too much for me and what I would call an “acquired taste.” Maybe one day, but my QL ball rolling is still in a kindler, gentler rolling.
OMG it is amazing how different my low back feels after this little sequence! I have been doing it after long drives and training. Im so impressed that I have been getting my friends and family to to quick ball sequences and instantly they are hooked! Thanks for posting !
The QL is a recently demystified muscle that I’ve neglected way too long with bad habits like sitting cross legged any chance I got (and with my right thigh always over my left!). Thanks for this post because it reminded me that it’s never too late to make love, not war.
The more i learn about the QL the more curious i become. as someone that spends tooo many hours stuck to a desk (and my poor psoas) i know first hand about the effects of spending too much time sitting. WHERE has my QL been all of my life? oh, neglected. now i am determined to use the YTU balls and spend time with my new found friend, the QL.
The QL is definitely high on the list for trouble shooting lower back pain. It can be sometimes difficult to localize lower back pain because once an imbalance occurs, many muscle groups can lock up around it. The therapy balls can help release tension around strains, sprains and tears. I am interested in learning more about the muscle groups involved with and causes for back pain, and what can be done to relieve it.
Love this post. The affects on posture are instantly noticable. So great to loosen it up with the therapy balls! Thanks for the post and for being such an awesome YTU teacher!
I love the analogy of “making love” to your muscles. My fiance calls it “muscular seduction”, but I think the result is the same.
This is great! I love strengthening my new found QL for stability in triangle pose and other YTU poses such as Sidewinder… now I can give it a little TLC with the Yoga Tune Up balls… Thanks again…
great!! I finally found my QL and have been waking it up and strengthening it with YTU poses. I can now offer it the love it needs with a few minutes on the balls!!
releasing and opening the QL enables me to feel a delicious stretch in the iliac crest. The balls are awesome…so much better
than tennis balls!
Working a desk job often throws my QL out of whack. Learning ways to stretch my QL every day is the only way to keep my lower back from being in pain. I’ve also found that one side of my QL may tighten up depending on where my monitor is located and how often I get up. Keeping in mind how often I get up and move around and how often I stretch my QL or use by Tune UP therapy balls also helps to ensure my back doesn’t get too bad.
Andrea and Yelimar, I totally relate to both of your comments. Glad my article could be of help!! Sending lots of love to your QL’s ladies!
oh no, Yelli got to you first! (see above) Thanks for the QL love Amanda Winkler .. I’m going to start doing this particular exercise, not just after intense core workouts (not like I do alot) but after trudging around the city all day. Carrying a heavy bag with 5 changes of clothes, water, book, snacks, etc. – no matter what shoulder I carry it on, whether or not I switch sides, even with a back pack – I end up feeling it in my lower back. It’s always one side that’s a little tweakier, but giving some love to both sides will help make a shift.
Amanda, thanks for the wonder article. I have the bad habit of crossing my left leg over my right leg and hiking my left hip up while I am at it. Sometimes I sit like this for long periods of time while I am studying or on the computer. Because of it my low back muscles are often tense.This ball series has helped me ease a lot of pain in my left QL and the massage itself is such a good reminder to be kind to my lower back and start to undo such an unhealthy habit.
I couldn’t agree more – rolling out the Quadratus Lumborum with the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls is the best way to show it some love! I remember when I first introduced the balls to my classes and we worked on hips and buttocks and then low back – after the “tough love” of rolling out IT Band, we sure were enjoying the “love bites” into the QL (roll, drop, bite), and of course the “climax” of rolling both balls through the entire lumbar spine! Wonderful Release! And now – since completing YTU L1 TT – gotta add in “Sidewinder” and “Boomerang” to make QL really feel the love! Thanks Yoga Tune Up® for providing us so many ways to get into QL – and all of our muscles!
Thanks for that new quick fix video, Amanda. I absolutely love having that as a visual aid – being French and all … lol The way I know how to access the QL seems harder to access than this technique. A & thanks for sharing!
As a hockey player, I can certainly identify with lower back pain (plus many years of sitting at a computer). Yes, the QL to the rescue. It seems because we have to use the Erector Spinae for many actions, we get by without using the QL (only to find out later we have lower back pain). Oh, yes, so many weak QL muscles. And it is also so obvious that strengthening the QL will take so much stress of the erector spinae and thus the reduce lower back pain. I like using Jithara Parivartanasana, particularly because I typically have a wide range of strength levels in the class. So while targeting the QL, each student can engage to their particular strength level.
Love diving into the muscles of the hips & back and when I learnt the name of the QL it reminded me of a a Harry potter movie mixing up potion.. Poof poof Quadratus Lumborum! Love the YTU!!!!
Awakening to the body and its functions and movements through YTU brings more clarity to my QL! Love the balls and the freedom I receive after the movement its like icing on the Cake!
I am doing the YTU Level 1 training at the moment and I’m loving the therapy ball sequences. They are sometimes excruciating but I’ve noticed a significant difference in the range of motion of my joints from before and after using them. It is such a sweet release!
Thank you so much for sharing this! I just got home from a tiring drive (driving standard in brutal traffic) and this felt amazing for my low back. I never thought about putting a block under my feet before to get into the QL! I just always got as deep as I could and assumed that would have to be enough! My QL is going to bed well loved tonight 😉
Love all this great information about the QL. As someone who has suffered from low back pain off and on for years, I am always looking for simple and inexpensive ways to relieve the pain. Along come the wonderful YTU Therapy Balls to the rescue! Yay! One more blog post to go and I’ll be on the floor doing the QL massage technique demonstrated in the video! 🙂
Thanks for all the QL “love” guys! Pete, I love the self love idea behind massaging the QL too. I have heard that the QL muscles are where we store trauma in the body, which definitely feels evident when I stretch mine!
Vivian – I don’t think you can really over-massage the QL with the yoga-tune up balls, but then again too much of anything may not be a good thing. I think the best idea is balance – I massage my back almost every day with my YTU balls, and like to do an allover massage. I think the most important thing is to listen to your body, and let it be your guide!
This exercise couldn’t have come at a better time! I just graduated a 200 hour intensive TT Yoga Training course and my low back was really shot and giving me pain. Finding such an accessible way to massage my QL was so great and it did give me immediate relief- and saved me money on having to go get more body work! I especially liked the cross fiber rolling technique with the YTU balls to target all of the deep tissues surrounding my QL as well, and putting my feet up on my coffee table base allowed me to control the intensity and ease my way into a deeper massage. Thanks for the quick and easy technique- I think it will come in very helpful for my clients/students as well!
Wow, thanks for sharing this! I know so many people who have lower back pain and continue to suffer with it as if only over-the-counter medications are the only remedy. I love the support of the therapy balls massaging and toning the QL to release tension and pain. I love how making love to your QL is so deeply self-loving and honoring. Sat Nam & Namaste.
is it possible to “over massage” the QL area with the yoga therapy balls?
Is theres such a thing as having TOO much FUN!! This summer I have been blessed with a steady stream of visitors and mini vacations! It has been a great summer, BUT I’ve been sitting a lot. YOU know what I mean; much driving/riding in the car, sittting in hard chairs of small theatres for 3 hou long shows, etc.! This lack of EXERCISE obviously weakend and shortened the QUADRATUS LUMBORUM. Sure enough I aggravated the situation through an unfamiliar movement I incorrectly executed. So here I was in discomfort of the hip area.
LO AND BEHOLD, my YTU training comes along and AFTER performing the following Hip Warm Up posture/movements:LEG STRETCHES # 1, 2, & 3; the HAPPY BABY MINIVINI MOVEMENT was the one that restabilized my pelvic region. I realize that my weak and shortened QT’s were increasingly shortening as my body “troed” to stabilize my left hip that I had anteriorly rotated through the incorrect movement.
have just experienced an increased appreciation for my regular comprehensive yoga practices plus “moves” I’ve learned through the Yoga Tune-Up programs.
Thanks for sharing. This is easy homework to provide clients who suffer from low back pain.
Thanks for the great reminder on how to access and relieve my QL! I am a chronic over-user of the back extensors and am always extra tight after a long day of teaching. Thanks again =)
I opened up YTU to find a QL blog? This is perfect since I’m suffering from low back pain on a regular basis. What I didn’t realize is that the psoas muscle and the QL both need to be strong and flexible to have a well-supported spine. I have most likely overused my psoas and it’s tight and now that is causing my QL to overcompensate and create pain. It’s a dull pain constantly. Now, after watching the video and reading this, I can massage the QL and get more that just a superficial or top layer stretch. Using the balls I can get into the deeper tissue and begin healing. YES to YTU! Make love to the QL, not war with the QL.