Is targeting the quads the best way to reduce back pain? I tried this yoga routine to find out

Yoga With Adriene's recent yoga flow is lower-body-focused, targeting the hips, quads, glutes, and hamstrings

Woman doing yoga quad stretch at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I often deal with aches and pain in my back and lower body, mostly when I'm working at my desk. I do core workouts and hip-strengthening exercises to help with this, but I'm always looking for other options. 

Yoga instructor Adriene Mishler, known online as Yoga With Adriene, recently shared a routine to reduce lower back pain. In the flow, as well as opening up the hips, she offers exercises that stretch the quadriceps in the front of the thigh.

I decided to try it to see if it could relieve my lower back pain. I also wanted to use the routine to stretch my legs as I had DOMs (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness) from a strength workout a few days prior.

The routine takes 15 minutes and you don't need any equipment, so you can easily do it from home. I tried it on my lunch break during a busy work day. 

Watch Yoga With Adriene's 15-minute quadricep-focussed flow

I usually focus on the posterior chain in my workouts and do lots of glute exercises, as this is my weak area. I'm probably guilty of not paying enough attention to my quads, but this routine revealed that these muscles were pretty tight. I felt a big stretch across my front thighs during the routine, particularly during the exercise which involved pulling my foot up to my glutes (butt muscles).

I wondered if the tightness in this area could have contributed to my daily discomfort. I chatted with trainer Pippa Sealey, who explained that it's unlikely to be the sole contributing factor to back pain. She recommends a comprehensive approach to strength training and mobility work if you suffer from aches and pains. 

"Incorporating exercises that strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and the muscles and joints along the posterior chain is helpful to combat lower-back pain," she explained. 

I still enjoyed the combination of stretching and mobilizing exercises in Mishler's flow, particularly the hip-opening elements. I would be tempted to combine it with some dynamic movements and turn it into a lower-body warm-up, but I don't think doing this routine by itself will relieve my daily aches and pains. 

Need something support your stretching routine? Our guide to the best yoga mats can help

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.