4 exercises that make back pain worse and 4 moves to do instead

Posted on in Industry News, News
#4 toe touches

#4 toe touches


Unlike some of the excuses we make to avoid our daily workout, an achy back is a justifiable reason to skip a workout. Here’s the catch: exercise is one of the best things you can do for an aching back because it can speed recovery and prevent back pain from returning.

Strength training is key for preventing chronic back pain. It improves the key muscles surrounding the back, like the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals, and helps those muscles support the back. Some strength training moves can cause or aggravate back pain. The experts at Prevention recently identified four moves that are likely to cause back pain and what you should do instead.

Avoid: Sit-ups. Going from lying flat on the ground to sitting upright puts a large amount of strain on your spine, especially if your core is weak.

What to do instead: Half crunches. While doing the half crunch, only sit-up to a 20-degree angle. Your shoulders should come up about 5-6 inches off the floor.

Avoid: Deadlifts. Deadlifts are an amazing move for working your entire body, but they can wreak havoc on your back if they are done incorrectly.

What to do instead: Leg press on a machine. This move strengthens your hamstrings and glutes, just like the deadlift, but it takes your back out of the equation.

Avoid: Burpees. (I can almost hear the cries of joy). Burpees are the bane of any fitness routine, but they are a tried-and-true calorie-blasting move. You should skip burpees if you have back issues or if you have a history of back pain.

What to do instead: High-intensity interval training (HIIT). Mix up your routine by doing 2-3 minutes of fast-paced cardio in between strength training sets. These bouts of high-intensity cardio will increase your calorie burn and boost your cardiovascular health without causing back pain. Some HIIT class instructors will incorporate burpees into the routine. It is best to speak with the instructor about how to modify the move if you have back pain.

Avoid: Toe touches. Hamstring tightness can cause lower back pain. If you do traditional toe touches as a way to relieve tension in your hamstrings, you can hurt your back.

What to do instead: Supine hamstring stretch. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and bring your left knee to your chest. Grasp it with both hands. Pull your knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

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