T Nation

Insanely Tight QL Muscle?


#1

Hey guys, so Ive noticed all the time after lifting, my sides are always super tight. Not so much my lower back, but where the QL is and a little lower. During deadlifts and rows ect, even though my core is braced and I use the proper muscles, it is always super tight. I have tried foam rolling, hip stretches, ect but just cant seem to fix this issue.

Has anyone on here had this issue and used certain stretches or exercises to fix it?


#2

Activate those glutes! Tennis ball and all that stuff. Check out your hips, are they even? I thought I knew what the QL was but then I looked it up and was wrong.


#3

I actually believe my hips are uneven as I do feel a tilt in them. I have looked up ways to fix this, but cannot figure it out for the life of me. Any suggestions?


#4

I had a similar problem. Things that helped me;

-Activate Glutes. I tried several exercises. Many didn’t help. Finally, I tried Clam Shells and they worked great. Now I do them with a mini-short band around my knees so I don’t have to do 100.

-Do abs. I know everyone does abs, but you gotta do them right. Think about pulling the ribs towards the pelvis (pulldown abs). Or pulling the pelvis towards the ribs (leg raises). Picture your QL stretching out and relaxing as your abs contract. If your QL is tight, your spine is arched backwards. Use the abs to pull your pelvis towards your ribs and return your spine to neutral. Pulldowns abs, with a band looped over the power rack work great for this.

-Work the obliques. When I started, my obliques sucked. I couldn’t “feel” them working. I did lots of 1 Arm Farmer’s Walk. Even though I couldn’t actively contract my obliques, they HAD to work on this move. After a few weeks I started doing sidebends with dumbbells and kettlebells. You don’t have to bend over too far, work the obliques, not the lower back. Also, make sure your spine is neutral.

-Standing calf raises on 1 foot. When I first tried these I was all over the place. My feet and calves didn’t work symmetrically! No wonder my hips and back sucked. I also had trouble standing up straight and bracing properly. As this improved my hips felt way better.

-Single leg work. My feet and calves sucked. My obliques sucked. My lower abs sucked. My hips were crooked. Of course my legs were not evenly developed! For 6 weeks I did everything 1 leg at a time. All sets and reps on the weak leg or side first, then match with the stong leg/side.

-Wearing a belt. I started wearing my belt for all rows, lunges, shrugs and lifts where I was standing on my feet. Before every set I made sure to get my spine neutral, and push my abs “out,” or into the belt. This helped keep my core neutral, and not over-arched.


#5

Awesome advice FlatsFarmer! I will add all of that into my training. I do notice that my left leg is MUCH weaker than my right which could also play a major role in this. I looked up a forum on here lastnight after posting this and saw a guy who recommended pistol squats and goblet bulgarian squats. Will be adding those also. Thanks!


#6

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
I had a similar problem. Things that helped me;

-Activate Glutes. I tried several exercises. Many didn’t help. Finally, I tried Clam Shells and they worked great. Now I do them with a mini-short band around my knees so I don’t have to do 100.

-Do abs. I know everyone does abs, but you gotta do them right. Think about pulling the ribs towards the pelvis (pulldown abs). Or pulling the pelvis towards the ribs (leg raises). Picture your QL stretching out and relaxing as your abs contract. If your QL is tight, your spine is arched backwards. Use the abs to pull your pelvis towards your ribs and return your spine to neutral. Pulldowns abs, with a band looped over the power rack work great for this.

-Work the obliques. When I started, my obliques sucked. I couldn’t “feel” them working. I did lots of 1 Arm Farmer’s Walk. Even though I couldn’t actively contract my obliques, they HAD to work on this move. After a few weeks I started doing sidebends with dumbbells and kettlebells. You don’t have to bend over too far, work the obliques, not the lower back. Also, make sure your spine is neutral.

-Standing calf raises on 1 foot. When I first tried these I was all over the place. My feet and calves didn’t work symmetrically! No wonder my hips and back sucked. I also had trouble standing up straight and bracing properly. As this improved my hips felt way better.

-Single leg work. My feet and calves sucked. My obliques sucked. My lower abs sucked. My hips were crooked. Of course my legs were not evenly developed! For 6 weeks I did everything 1 leg at a time. All sets and reps on the weak leg or side first, then match with the stong leg/side.

-Wearing a belt. I started wearing my belt for all rows, lunges, shrugs and lifts where I was standing on my feet. Before every set I made sure to get my spine neutral, and push my abs “out,” or into the belt. This helped keep my core neutral, and not over-arched. [/quote]
This guy is right.

Good core movements I personally like.
Dead bugs while holding a big ball
plank rotations
bird dogs
pallof press

Those aren’t your typical “ab” exercises. They work much more than that.


#7

Pallof press was one I forgot to mention. You can do them standing, or half kneeling to challenge hip stability as well as abs.

I also did some 1 arm presses with a dumbbell from this half kneeling position. Rows on a cable with 1 arm in the half kneel. Shrugs one arm at a time, etc.


#8

Lots of great advice here and I’ll second and third a lot of whats already been said.

I’d also add that one handed farmer walks (suitcase carries) should be done for time, not weight. When you first pick up the weight, you should be able to keep your ribs directly over your hips and not have to hike your hips at all to stabilize. If you have to do weird things with your hips or lean over to one side, the weight is too great. As you fatigue, you should be feeling it in your abs. If you start to feel it in your back, put the weight down. You want to build endurance in your abs but also retrain your QL to not jump in and try to stabilize as soon as your abs fatigue.

Also, tractioning the hips worked very well for me. I used a iyengar yoga sling and it felt awesome. I’d highly recommend it.


#9

Great Point Doc!

The point of all of these exercises is to retrain the QL and abs, and the way they work together. So, don’t worry about the weights, or even the specific movements. Get the abs tight, glutes in, and spine neutral. Then begin with the easiest moves you can do, and still maintain position with no leaning/hip hiking.

Start with easy stuff like lunges holding onto something for support. Don’t worry about working your glutes, concentrate on getting into the lunge position while maintaining the neutral spine.

Then try unloaded Bulgarians. Focus on maintaining your neutral position while doing a more extreme motion. Get better at doing the motion right, don’t be in a hurry to add tons of weight.

Pistol squats would be a great “feat” to work up to, but not if your QL kicks in, forces you to over-arch, and do ugly pistol squats. The goal isn’t to get to the pistol squats as soon as possible, the goal is to do a build up to a challenging move like a pistol squat, while maintaining perfect neutral spine postion.


#10

Awesome advice thank you all! I actually have been following some of the top strongman competitors and alot of them actually use that yoga sling for their hips. That will definitely be something I am going to invest in as my hips are always feeling extremely tight. One thing that has helped me in this last week which actually stopped my QL from feeling tight on my deadlifts, is the valsalvar maneuver (sp?).

I highly recommend anyone, even experienced PLers to watch alot of Chris Duffins videos on core bracing ect. I believe I was holding my air alot into my chest and less into my stomach which could have lead to the tightness in the QL. Taking a break from compound movements today, think I will try those exercises you all recommended.

Thank you!


#11

Yeah, if I breathe into my chest my back kinda naturally extends. If I breathe “down” into my belly my back goes to neutral.

I’m glad you found Chris Duffin. I got a lot of ideas from him (Band Resisted Stallions, Romanian DL’s against bands, Bottoms up Kettlebell Presses) but his videos are so lengthy and in-depth I’m reluctant to suggest them.

Also check out(Dr.?) Kelly Starret on youtube. He does a much better job of explaining things than I can.