Issue #164


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Crystal Cooper

Video Interview with Amateur Figure Crystal Cooper

Crystal Cooper, Casey Oliver, Alicia Melelani, Brittany Rice & Andy Borneman

Should you train your QL specifically?
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Pro Figure Thais Werner


Should You Train Your QL Specifically? by Tina Jo Orban ACE, ISSA, CFT, CMT.

The QL aka the quadratus lumborum (“kwah drat us lum bore um”) is an interesting nearly never discussed muscle, except perhaps in physical therapy settings. No one ever really trains the QL in the gym. Do they? Should they? I say yes. In my work as a CMT, I see a lot of imbalanced bodies. One phenomenon is a disproportionate number of men (sorry was that un-PC) who inexplicably fail to recognize they have lower extremities. You all know what I am talking about: The lower slim white chicken legs on a fellow with a tanned, buffed upper-body. That imbalance creates havoc on the body. It usually manifests in back or hip problems. While that imbalance is extreme example, I would like to focus on the QL muscle that is actually a deep-interior posterior spinal muscle. It works in conjunction as a complex with the internal and external obliques in trunk lateral flexion and rotation. But the QL— as I so affectionately term the ‘golpher’s muscle’ does a very specific unique movement in the body: hip up slip. Visualize cocking your hip up to one side. The Qaudratus Lumborum runs from the inferior border of the 12th rib and the transverse processes of L1-L5 and inserts on the superior border of the posterior iliac crest. Lots of anatomy jargon, but just picture the bottom of your last rib on your back to the top of your back hipbone. It is a broad flat muscle about four inches wide and is shaped squarish (more of a rectangle) thus the moniker Qaudratus. People come into our studios all the time usually with unilateral imbalance in this spinal pelvic muscle. We usually access it from the lateral fibers and it feels like a brick. Golfers repetitive torso torsion creates havoc usually on the left side as the QL is called upon over and over for the swing of a right- handed golfer. But what about you in the gym? The QL can be trained! And not just as a stabilizing muscle, such as when you train back or trunk muscles like abs or obliques. When you do hanging-leg raises to the side you actually are directly working the QL against lower extremity weight and gravity of course! Thus, hanging-legs-raises— bringing your hip side up toward your ribs actually targets internal obliques and hits the QL Hard. So, this is one great exercise for the QL. Here are a couple of other exercises to train the QL. One is called Pavlov’s Press, the other is (you already know this) Side Plank. (Warning you will be asked what muscle you are training when you do some of these exercises. Training the QL exclusively is advanced and specific. I spent a lot of volunteer work in physical therapy settings and witnessed some exercises you don’t see in the gym. But let me tell you as a massage therapist exercising this muscle and keeping it strong staves off low back pain. Conversely a spasming QL (which is usually a weak one that cannot handle new workloads put on it) is no fun. I work on them all the time. Below are a couple of stretches I have included after the workout.

The Exercises: Quick and Dirty Triple Set.

  • Side Hanging Leg Raises Three Sets 15-20 reps. (see reference image)[1].
  • Pavlov’s Press Three sets of 8-10 reps. (see reference video).[2]
  • Static Side Planks Three sets hold thirty seconds (*if you’re a plank pro shoot for one minute). Rest one Minute (see footnote image).[3]

Stretching your QL: lateral flexion standing


  • Standing, place your left hand on left hip.
  • Push your hip towards the right.
  • Whilst reaching over to the left with your right hand, tilt your torso to the left.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the right side.
  • Repeat on other side.


[1] https://alphamenz.com/best-ab-exercises-abs/best-ab-exercises-abs-hanging-corner-side-obliques-workout/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikyEx09Sd1U

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWjA_wU3Sng


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