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Future Fit Traning

Q is for Quadratus Lumborum

The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle is a muscle of the posterior abdominal wall lying deep inside the abdomen and dorsal to the iliopsoas. It makes up most of your middle and lower back. We have one each side of our backs. All fibres together give the muscle a rectangular appearance.


The origin:


  • Apices of the transverses processes of the lumbar vertebrae 1-4
  • Iliolumbar ligament
  • Posterior third of the iliac crest

Insertion – inferior border of the 12th rib


The action:


  • Lateral flexion of the vertebral column
  • Extension of lumbar vertebral column
  • Fixes 12th rib during respiration and laterally flexes trunk

The QL can be a common source of lower back pain as it connects to the pelvis as well as the vertebra. The cause of pain can be when the erector spinae back muscles are weak or inhibited, which can occur through poor posture for long periods of time such as in a seated position. The QL will take over supporting the spine if the erector spinae is not functioning properly. This overuse of the QL can cause restriction of the blood flow which can eventually cause muscle spasm and pain.

Continuous poor posture, especially in this seated position, can also cause kyphosis and will also put greater stress on the QL due to the weight being shifted forward and the spine and pelvis coming out of alignment. Promoting good posture and regular activity will help participants maintain a good posture and healthy muscles.


Here are some exercises/stretches for the QL:


  • The Side Plank -either on the elbow or hand, push yourself up from lying on the side so you are resting on the side of the lower foot. To make this slightly easier place the knee of the lower leg on the floor. Hold this for 30 seconds, then change sides
  • The Side Bridge – from the above starting position, hold the Side Plank but this time lift and lower the hips. Repeat on both sides
  • Cat Stretch – on all fours (Table Top), knees under hips and hands under shoulders, round the back like a cat stretching, tucking the head and pelvis under