The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle is a deep low back muscle that is crucial for spinal strength and stability. If you want a strong and sturdy low back, Quadratus Lumborum exercises are not to be skipped. Follow along for our top 3 Quadratus Lumborum exercises for building strength and endurance in the QL muscle.
Why Do Quadratus Lumborum Exercises - Back Of Steel?
Dealing with debilitating back pain can put your life on hold. Pain every time you stand up or bend down to pick something up. That is no way to live. If you are serious about strengthening your low back with the most effective exercises to prevent ever dealing with the misery that is lower back pain, then check out my Back Of Steel Program along with learning these 3 Quadratus Lumborum exercises below.
Back Of Steel works by building potent strength and endurance in the areas of the body that help prevent lower back pain. Back Of Steel shares the unique principles I have learned after 5 years of trying to solve my back pain puzzle: to train the lower back for sheer resilience and bulletproofing, to protect the spine instead of contributing its demise.
Quadratus Lumborum Muscle:
The Quadratus Lumborum muscle is crucial for high impact movements and spinal stability. The QL muscle stabilizes in awkward positions, holds you upright while carrying objects, and keeps the spine neutral while playing physically demanding sports. If you want strength, stability, and confidence that your low back will hold up no matter what life throws at you, make sure to include Quadratus Lumborum exercises into your routine (and for Quadratus Lumborum pain relief check out QL Claw). A strong Quadratus Lumborum is a vital piece of a strong, functional low back and core.
Quadratus Lumborum Exercise 1 - Side Plank
The basic. No equipment needed, just you and the floor.
To perform the side plank, elevate the torso and legs off of the ground as shown in the image below. Keep the body tight and straight with a neutral spine throughout the duration of the sets. The side plank is a great for abdominal strength in addition to being a great Quadratus Lumborum exercise.
Goal: perform two minutes of total work in each side plank position. This can be 6 sets of :20 each, 4 sets of :30, or 2 sets of 1:00. The goal is to build not only strength, but also endurance in the Quadratus Lumborum muscle. A strong Quadratus Lumborum is great, but a QL that can withstand fatigue and stay strong longer is more valuable.
- Support the upper body with the elbow instead of the hand
- Place the top foot on the ground in front of the bottom foot
Quadratus Lumborum Exercise 2 - Suitcase Carry
The moderate. Grab a weight a walk around.
To perform the suitcase carry (also known as one arm farmer's carry), simply pick up a heavy weight with one arm and walk around. Make sure to hold strong, straight posture and to keep the core tight. If you can't hold steady and strong posture, lower the weight and build up.
Goal: Perform 3 sets of 1:00 walks (each side) with a heavy weight that you can comfortably carry. This will typically be around 20-40% of your bodyweight. Like with the side plank, the goal here is not only to build strength, but also endurance. This Quadratus Lumborum exercise will push QL muscle strength and endurance to their limits.
- Use a dumbbell, kettlebell, or a 45 lb plate with handles
- Walk or stand in place
Quadratus Lumborum Exercise 3 - Overhead Paloff Press
The advanced. Resistance band or cable attachment required.
To perform the overhead Paloff Press, first secure a resistance band to a fixed object. The band should be ideally about shoulder height while kneeling (not pictured), but higher or lower will have the same effect. Next, grab the band and step out from the fixture so that there is ~20lbs of tension. Kneel high on the ground and face 90 degrees away from the band fixture. Press the band overhead, pausing at the top. You should feel a deep effort from the side of the body.
Goal: Perform 3 sets of 10-20 reps, with a pause at the top of each rep. Try to stay as tight and stable in the spine as possible. This will likely be a new sensation if you have not done this Quadratus Lumborum exercise before, so start light and work up with levels of resistance that you can safely control.
- Use a cable or a band
- Kneel or stand
Check out how to do these 3 Quadratus Lumborum exercises in the videos below!
For a comprehensive, value-packed lower back strengthening program, check out Back Of Steel! Back Of Steel is a 3 day per week supplemental program to build serious strength and endurance in the areas that need it. In it you will find principles on training with the lower back in mind, a bank of exercise movements, exclusive video access, and the actual program.