The quadratus lumborum originates from the upper part of the top of your pelvis and attaches to your 12th rib and lumbar vertebrae. Its primary function is to help move your body side to side and rotate left and right. The National Academy of Sports Medicine suggests that the best exercises for the quadratus lumborum are the ones that train abdominal stability and incorporate different movement patterns with the abdominal, back and hip muscles, such as rotational movements.
The stationary chop works on core stability, which also includes your quadratus lumborum and surrounding muscles. While performing this exercise you move your arms across your body from a high position to a low position without moving your torso. Use a cable column machine for this exercise. Set the height of the handle to the highest setting. Grab the handle with both hands, and stand with your left shoulder facing the handle about one foot away. Stand with both legs about shoulder-width apart. Pull the handle down and across your body toward your right hip. Hold this position for one second, and reverse the movement slowly. Do not rotate your body. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on each side of your body.
This exercise is simply a mirror image movement of the chop, except you move your arms across your body from a low position to a high position. Set the height of the handle to the lowest setting, and stand with your left side facing the handle. Grab the handle with both hands. Pull the handle up and across your body toward the upper right part of your head. Keep your hands close to your body. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on each side of your body.
Lateral Flexion Stretch
Stand about an arm's distance away from a sturdy, vertical beam or pole with your feet together and your right shoulder facing the pole. Lean your torso toward the pole and grab it with both hands. Your right arm should be below you and your left arm should be over your head. Push your hip toward your left to increase the stretch. Hold for five to six deep breaths. Perform an extra set on the side that feels tighter.
Many people perform lateral bend exercises to strengthen the quadratus lumborum or to reduce body fat from the sides. However, working this muscle in this manner will not improve abdominal or full-body strength or reduce your waistline. Physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Movement," recommends that you perform full-body exercises that work multiple body parts in different directions so that all core muscles, including the quadratus lumborum, function more naturally. These exercises include squats, multi-planar lunges, Olympic lifting, sprinting with direction change, and throwing medicine balls.
- "Movement"; Gray Cook; 2010
- "NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; Michael Clark; 2007
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.