QL Butt Walks – How to Perform, Benefits and Common Mistakes to Avoid

butt walk (ql walk) exercise-min

QL butt walks involve sitting on the floor with straight legs and shuffling yourself forwards by lifting your glutes up and down, one side at a time.

This movement pattern helps loosen up and activate muscles around the hips, lower back and core… making it a really effective way to boost recovery after lifting weights, running, or doing any activity that might create tension in these areas.

In this exercise guide, we outline how to do QL butt walks properly, muscles worked, benefits and common mistakes to avoid.

So, let’s kick that rear into gear!

Quick Summary

  • QL butt walks involve sitting on the floor with straight legs and shuffling yourself forwards by lifting your glutes up and down, one side at a time.
  • This helps loosen up and activate the quadratus lumborum.
  • A weak/tight quadratus lumborum can contribute to MSK issues like lower back discomfort and stiffness.

So, What is a QL Butt Walk Anyway?

QL butt walks, named after the key muscle they engage, the quadratus lumborum, are a ground-based exercise where the action lies (quite literally) in the posterior.

It’s an exercise that takes you back to basics, where you maneuver yourself forward by lifting and lowering of your glutes, one side at a time, while seated on the floor.

Picture yourself as a caterpillar, inching forward with measured, precise movements.

Are butt walks right for you?

Butt walks look very simple, but some may find them quite difficult, so don’t force the movement. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult a Physical Therapist or CPT for personal exercise recommendations.

This unconventional routine is intrinsically tied to the human gait cycle (the way we walk).

The pelvic motion here mimics that of a standard gait… the rise, forward movement, and descent, albeit while you’re seated.

While walking is an upright, bipedal venture, butt walks flip this idea on its head… or should we say, on its bottom.

But why this peculiar movement, you ask?

The beauty of this exercise lies in its focus on activating and loosening up the muscles (including the QL) above the hips… which are often overlooked.

How to do a QL Butt Walk

To do the QL butt walk:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your back nice and straight.
  • Place your hands next to your hips on the floor or out in front of you (you could also hold a weight in front of your chest).
  • Lift your right hip up gently so your glute rises up.
  • While your right glute is up in the air, scoot it forward just a tiny bit.
  • Lower that glute back to the floor.
  • Repeat the same lift, scoot, and lower with your left glute.
  • Keep alternating so you “walk” forwards.

Coach’s Tip – This isn’t a race. Opt for slow and controlled repetitions. If you feel comfortable with the movement, try going backwards too.

Butt Walks Muscles Worked

Quadratus Lumborum (QL)

Engagement – During the butt walk, the quadratus lumborum is actively engaged as the pelvis lifts and lowers.

Importance – The QL functions as a stabilizer connecting the spine to the pelvis. Its strength and flexibility are important for maintaining proper alignment and support.


Engagement – The repetitive lifting of the glutes will help activate your largest muscle group.

Importance – Beyond aesthetics, strong glutes play an essential role in many daily movements, like running and lifting, providing stability to the hips and protecting the lower back.

Hip Flexors

Engagement – The forward movement of the pelvis during the butt walk will also engage the hip flexors.

Importance – As vital components in leg movements, well-conditioned hip flexors ensure efficiency and fluidity in tasks ranging from walking to athletic performance.

Lower Back Muscles

Engagement – The necessity of maintaining a straight back during this exercise actively works the lower back muscles.

Importance – These muscles provide support to the spine, and their health is paramount to overall back stability.


Engagement – Balancing the body while lifting and lowering the pelvis activates the core muscles.
Importance – The core muscles are integral to nearly every bodily movement. From simple standing to complex physical activities, they ensure stability and balance.


Engagement – Moving forward engages and stretches the hamstrings, located at the back of the thighs.
Importance – Serving as the body’s dynamic stabilizers, they facilitate bending, running, and jumping. Strengthening and stretching them through butt walks helps to minimize the risk of strains and enhances overall leg function.

Butt Walk Exercise Benefits

QL Activation

The quadratus lumborum (QL) is a stealthy, deep abdominal muscle that plays a starring role in lower back support.

By engaging this muscle, you’re paving the way for a stronger and more stable back, like adding hidden reinforcements to a bridge.

Side bends, side planks, and hip hikes are also great ways to strengthen the QL.

Lower Back Control

Lower back control is essential for overall stability and function, and butt walks can be a superhero in this arena.

By engaging and strengthening the muscles around the spine, this exercise helps establish a solid core foundation.

Hip Stability

Butt walks work on the stabilizer muscles, ensuring a more resilient and controlled walk.

They enhance the connection between your pelvis and lower limbs, acting as a coordinator for the different body parts.

It’s not just about mobility… it’s about control, like a conductor leading a well-tuned orchestra.

Core Activation

Core activation is more than a buzzword, it’s a fundamental aspect of physical health.

Engaging the entire core area, this exercise offers a well-rounded workout that builds strength and stability without being overbearing.

Core Stability

In terms of improving core stability, unilateral exercises like suitcase carries and fulcrum deadlifts are great options too. They allow you to strengthen the muscles around the core and lower back and make it easy to leverage progressively overload training.

No Equipment Needed

In a world filled with gadgets, simplicity shines.

Butt walks offer a no-frills, effective workout without any special equipment. Just you, your body, and some space.

A true liberation from gym confines, proving that sometimes, less is indeed more.

Great Warm-Up Movement

Butt walks serve as a gentle and thorough wake-up call for the muscles, preparing them for more strenuous activity.

This warm-up goes beyond mere stretches, getting muscles fired up and ready for action. Think of it as a friendly tap on the shoulder for your entire body, saying, “Hey, it’s time to move.”


Add Weight

The butt walk exercise is already a unique and effective way to activate often overlooked muscles, but if you’re looking to amplify the challenge, adding weight can be an excellent option.

By holding a dumbbell or weight plate in your hands, you increase the resistance and engage your muscles more profoundly.

But, exercises like side bends are perhaps more suited for adding weight if you prefer that sort of training.


While the traditional butt walk focuses on moving forward, you can turn things around by practicing the exercise both forwards and backwards.

By reversing the movement, you can challenge different muscles and introduce a new dimension to your workout routine.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Not Maintaining “L” Shape with Straight Back

Keeping your back straight is essential for the integrity of the movement.

If you’re struggling to maintain a straight back, it might suggest limited hip mobility, in which case, specific hip mobility exercises might be worth considering.

Using Ankles to Move

Your ankles might be eager to join the party, but this dance is all about the hips. Using ankles to move takes away from the intended engagement of the quadratus lumborum.

It’s like using a screwdriver to hammer a nail… wrong tool for the job.

Rushing the Movement

Speed isn’t everything, especially with the butt walk. It’s a slow dance.

Rushing the movement can reduce its effectiveness.

Swaying from Side to Side

Keep that ship steady, sailor!

Swaying from side to side is a sign of a lack of control and stability. Focus on the path, and stay the course… you’ll see more benefits.

Bottom Line

Butt walks might sound funny, but they’re a serious player when it comes to bullet-proofing your lower back and hips.

Focusing on quadratus lumborum activation, they boost hip stability, lower back control, and overall core strength.

Whether as a warm-up or a stand-alone exercise, butt walks offer a unique challenge with no equipment needed.

Give it a go, and you’ll soon find this quirky walk a valuable stride in your fitness journey.

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