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QL Muscle Release

Introducing the low back muscle that can contribute to a host of low back and hip issues: Quadratus Lumborum (QL).

The QL muscle gets overworked in activity that requires spinal stability. Athletes and labor workers respond well to QL muscle release. Massage the QL if you are active in high impact sports or are physically active at your day job.

QL Muscle Release

Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Placement (above)


Target: Quadratus Lumborum

Check out anatomical considerations here: The QL Muscle

QL Muscle Release - Written Instructions

Placement for QL Muscle Release Using QL Claw

Quadratus Lumborum Placement: Place the Claw perpendicular to your spine, between the top of your pelvis and lowest rib. To locate the QL muscle, lay supine (on your back) on the floor and hike one hip up towards the ribcage. The muscle that just did work is the Quadratus Lumborum.

*images below are for a right Quadratus Lumborum muscle release*

QL Release Level 1: The Starter

QL Muscle Release 1 Using QL Claw

Don't be a hero, start here. Get comfortable breathing in this position at a cadence of 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out before moving on. The QL is more likely to release and relax if your body physiology is relaxed.


QL Release Level 2: The Digger

QL Muscle Release 2 Using QL Claw

For a deeper massage, tilt your non-trigger-side leg towards the trigger side. This position shifts your center of mass towards the trigger, which results in more pressure on the QL muscle.


QL Release Level 3: The Bruiser

QL Muscle Release 3 Using QL Claw

This level is for pain seeking psychos, with Quadratus Lumborum muscles made of wood. Don't do level 3 in front of too many people or you'll be put on a list. 


QL Release Level 4: The No-fly List

For an even DEEPER massage, assume level 3 position and slowly crunch your core - so that your head and shoulders lift off the ground. We couldn't find a guy who could tolerate this, so level 4 is not pictured.


How to know you've released a trigger point: When you release a knot/trigger point, you will feel the muscle give and will simultaneously feel the device sink in to your body. A massage generally feels less painful under higher pressure once a trigger point is released.




Check out our tutorials for releasing other low back-pain-inducing muscles below!



[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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