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Working out with lower back pain: Is Working Out With Lower Back Pain a Good Idea?


Is Working Out With Lower Back Pain a Good Idea?

Many people believe that pounding through pain is necessary for keeping up with their fitness goals. Does this describe you? If so, and you maintain that attitude when your back is giving you problems, you may be paying too high a price for a great body.

What should you do if you want, or need, to exercise when your back is sore? Here are a few tips.

 Cultura / Liam Norris / Getty Images

Use Body Awareness

The old adage “err on the side of caution” is applicable when you are considering exercising with back pain present. Whenever possible, it’s best to choose a workload that keeps your body free of pain. If you can’t do that, reduce your pain as much as you can by lightening up on the intensity, and watching your body mechanics.

If you have any questions or safety concerns, chat with your doctor and/or physical therapist about them.

Have confidence in your own body awareness. You are the person who is in the best position to decide if exercise is a good course of action for you, and at what level.

Key here is paying attention to your pain intensity levels, when the pain comes on, what brings it on—especially positions and movements—and the type of pain you experience.

For example, electrical sensations, pins, and needles, burning pain, as well as numbness or weakness going down one leg or arm are suggestive of a medical condition known as radiculopathy. In this case, seeking medical attention may take precedence over getting a hard workout.

Dr. Andre Panagos, physiatrist, director of Spine and Sports Medicine in New York City, agrees, encouraging people to “take ownership of their bodies.” Panagos gives patients—not doctors, fitness trainers or exercise instructors—the credit for knowing when working out is not a good idea.

If today is not the best day to exercise, the usual recommendation is to scale back on activity levels to the point where your pain is either manageable or gone, while at the same time not succumbing to full out bed rest. Most experts say this is the quickest way to get past an episode of back pain.

Shift the Intention for Your Exercise Routine

Once you’re sure your back can handle a bit of work, get clear about the type of exercise to do.

You might ask yourself: Given my pain level (plus its location), is it better for me to stick with my usual activity, or might I be better off scaling down a few notches by means of an easier activity? An example comparison may be lifting weights or running vs. a light stretching session or an hour of aquatic exercise.

A workout to help you get past a bout of back pain is similar to an easy day workout—as long as you prioritize pain reduction.

If doing the specific movement in your chosen workout will challenge your joints to go beyond a moderate range of motion, you may need an easier activity. If not, scaling down the intensity of your usual routine may suffice.

Home Therapies to Get You Over the Hurdle

If your back pain is mild, you could try home therapies such as ice, massage, heat or over-the-counter pain medications to help you through this time. This is the route many professional athletes take when they have to deal with back pain at game time. It seems to work for them!

But home remedies are not for everyone. If you think you may have a torn ligament or a broken bone—or another significant injury—see a doctor. Other reasons to speak with your doctor include if you have a fever, unexplained weight loss, or have experienced a traumatic event. 

How About Some Walking?

One often overlooked form of exercise for people with sore backs is walking. Substituting walking for a harder workout may help you keep the health benefits of aerobic activity going—not to mention alleviating some or all of your pain.

That said, walking may only be a short-term pain relief solution.

A 2015 study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation found that while walking is associated with improvement in chronic musculoskeletal pain, including back pain, its effectiveness as a long term fix is not certain. The study authors caution that walking needs to be supplemented with specific strategies that target your back or other problem area(s).

General Strategies, Revisited

Once an injury or other cause for your back pain has been ruled out, many people find that small modifications to their exercise routine are all they need in order to continue developing fitness.

Along with the suggestions above, you may want to consider water exercise, which can take the load off your joints but still give you a full workout. Or, as discussed above, modify downward your normal routine in terms of its intensity and duration.

And adding in some yoga or core support work may help to release muscle spasms, while at the same time developing strength in the right places namely, your abs, back, and hips—all key for back pain management.

This Workout for Back Pain Only Takes 15 Minutes

It’s probably a safe bet that at some point in your adult life, you’ve experienced back pain or discomfort. Whether from a tough workout, lifting something heavy incorrectly, or just from sitting in a chair all day—we’ve all been there. If that’s the case, this workout for back pain is for you. In only 15 minutes, you can stretch out and activate the muscles you need to prevent discomfort and stay nice and mobile.

As part of our Sweat With SELF series, this workout comes with a fun, instructional video, this time starring Taylor and Justin Norris, cofounders of the LIT Method. LIT stands for low-impact training—and that’s exactly what their method is all about. In both this workout video and any other routine Justin and Taylor teach in their classes, there is no jumping, running, or weights. So if you’re also dealing with knee pain, recovering from an injury, or just simply don’t enjoy jumping, this is the workout for you. This sequence uses a foam roller, but if you don’t have one handy, you can skip those moves. (And if you’re looking to invest in one, we highly recommend these. )

The best way to improve back pain is by working on your hip mobility and core strength, SELF previously explained. Your hips and lower back are connected, and since your lower back is a part of your core, strengthening all of the muscles in that area will help support your back and prevent muscle strain and pain.

That’s why in this workout for back pain, you’ll be strengthening your glutes, stretching out those hamstrings, twisting your spine, and activating your core. Watch the free workout video below, or keep scrolling to read directions for each move along with GIF demos of each.


Do each move for 1 minute, or 30 seconds on each side.



  • Alternating Hamstring Touches
  • Hamstring Stretch Pulse
  • Alternating Toe Taps
  • Good Morning


  • Knee Tuck With Slow Rock
  • Supine Single-Leg Stretch (Repeat on Each Side)
  • Glute Bridge
  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge (Repeat on Each Side)
  • Knee Tucks With Slow Rock
  • Glute Bridge With Pulse
  • Glute Bridge March


  • Reclined Supine Twist
  • Supine Twist With Leg Extension (Then Repeat Both on the Other Side)
  • Seated Spinal Twist (Repeat on Each Side)
  • Bird-Dog (Repeat on Each Side)

Foam Rolling

  • Hip Roll-Out (Repeat on Each Side)
  • IT Band Roll-Out (Repeat on Each Side)

Should I Exercise When I Have Back Pain?

There is no doubt about it, exercise is a necessity for good health. Exercise and strength training can help build up back muscles and prevent future back pain. But should you start exercising when you are experiencing evenminor back pain?


The answer to this question is yes and no.

With any back pain, it is best to be seen by a doctor or Chiropractor first. If the back pain is severe, your doctor may want to take X-rays to get a better look at the problem. Similarly, a Chiropractor can discover the source of your pain through a series of easy questions an alignment. Often times back pain can be remedied through regular adjustments, which will make it easier to resume regular exercise again.

When it comes to working out, rigorous exercise is very popular right now. Extreme programs like P90X and Insanity have taken the fitness world by storm. However, these programs are not right for everyone, especially those with back problems. It is also a good idea to avoid lifting free weights or exercises that require repetitive bending motions, such as squats.

Also, if you have back pain after your time at the gym, you may want to avoid picking weights off the floor as well as doing too many crunches and low back extensions. To avoid further back pain, make sure you bend with your knees and not your back while performing exercises. Also, be sure to set up your exercise machine or equipment up properly. Just exercising on a machine with the improper seat height can bring on pain the next day.

So what kind of exercises can you do when you are worried about back pain? Try to take your workout to the water. Swimming laps or jogging in the water is a great workout. Water aerobics and water zumba are also a lot of fun and easy on your back. Bicycling on a recumbent bike, or walking on a treadmill can also give your back a rest.

Exercise is an important part of every day life, but the calorie burn should not have to come at the price of back pain. If you suffer from back pain, take it easy and build up strength in your back muscles. Remember to not push yourself or do any exercise that is painful.  Be sure to consult your Chiropractor or Physician for tips on how to prevent and treat back pain, and the most appropriate exercise program.

Story Credit, Image Credit

How to Exercise With Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain. If you’ve ever had it, you know how frustrating it can be — and you know how hard you want to work to avoid it. And if you’ve ever dealt with it, you also know that it’s something that’s very easy to reaggravate.

Whether you’re in the gym or elsewhere, a nagging lower back issue can feel great one moment, then feel awful the next, after you’ve stuck yourself in a position that just isn’t quite right. You can feel fine (all right, more like decent and just not in pain) while having a conversation, and then you reach for a grocery bag on the ground and feel the twinge.

Such issues can get even worse in the gym, too. One rep of, say, a barbell row can feel great. Then the next, you’ve rocked back too much and taken emphasis off the target muscles of the exercise (hint: it’s not your lower back), and then you’re workout is over and you’re cursing your whole decision to go to the gym on that day at all.

It’s a frustrating line, and it can lead you to avoid plenty of exercises — and that in turn can lead you to avoid plenty of movements that you should be training despite your back pain.

Don’t do that, though. By avoiding certain movements, you’re misunderstanding why you might get back pain, and you’re hurting your ability to build solid all-around strength. Yes, you may have back pain when you do, say, a back squat. But if you’re answer to that back pain is simply not squatting at all, you lose a valuable total-body move.

The better fix: Learn alternative exercises for the key exercises you’re avoiding. Then you can still build total-body strength and the body you want while avoiding crippling lower back pain.

Back Pain Training Keys

If you have persistent lower back pain, you can still exercise. The key thing is managing risk in all your exercise choices. There’s inherent risk in any exercise — and really in any movement period — but what you must do if you have back pain is avoid exercises with a ton of inherent risk.

In the long term, as you build more and more core strength, your back will grow stronger in more and more positions. But when you’re starting out with lower back pain, you need to minimize body positions that place the lower back at risk.

That means thinking carefully about a few ideas.

Rounding Your Back

A rounded lower back is a position you don’t want to be in with lower back pain. Avoid it by avoiding motions that have your shoulders falling below your hips. If your shoulders are always above your hips, it’s harder to round in the lower back.

Twisting At the Lower Back

Your body is meant to be able to twist and turn (and good core strength helps you resist those twist and turns, an idea called “anti-rotation” at certain points). But if you’re dealing with back pain, such twists can be a source of pain. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t twist, but you need to maintain control of those twists — and that can be challenging to do from certain positions and while holding weights in certain ways.

Arching Your Lower Back

As bad as it is to round your lower back, it’s equally bad to arch your lower back. If you have lower back pain, as much as possible, you want to keep your spine in a “neutral” position. An arched lower back can cause plenty of back pain, too. It’s less of a problem when you bend at the waist and more of a problem when you’re doing overhead exercises without proper shoulder mobility, or just if you’re going too heavy on overhead exercises.

Your Changeup Exercises

Use these exercises instead of certain traditional gym moves to spare your lower back. You can also string them together to build a solid full-body workout.

Do Fisherman Rows instead of Dumbbell Rows

The standard dumbbell row is great, but here’s the problem: Especially if you stagger your feet, you often fail to keep your hips square to the ground. And when your hips don’t stay square, you wind up generating rotation in your lower back.

The lumbar segments of the vertebrae aren’t meant to sustain much rotation, but your thoracic spine can. That’s why the fisherman’s row can be an upgrade for the standard dumbbell row. To do it, you place both knees and one arm on the bench, sort of setting yourself up diagonally on the bench. Instantly getting both knees on the bench will help you keep your hips square. Keep your core tight anyway, to keep minimizing that lower back rotation.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per arm.

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Do Goblet Squats Instead of Back Squats

The goblet squat — not the back squat — remains the king of all squat exercises because of its versatility. It’s a perfect entry-level squat, and because the weight is in front of you, your torso has to stay upright. That eliminates one of the most critical problems with the back squat: You can easily round or overarch your back.

The front load of the goblet squat will help grease the groove for proper squat mechanics, which is why it’s widely considered the best squat for you to start with in general in your training journey. And if you’re dealing with a back injury or coming off a back injury, it’s your ideal starting point.

Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 good reps.

Cable Pull Through instead of Romanian Deadlift

The deadlift and RDL are great ways to torch the posterior chain, which indeed includes the lower back. But if you have lower back issues, you mostly want to target your glutes (and in general on the deadlifts you want to target your glutes too). One easy way to focus on the glutes and save your lower back from any load is the cable pull-through.

To do it set a cable behind your body, a bit lower than hip-height, and pull it through so you’re holding it at your hips with both hands. Brace your core, push your butt back, and bend at the waist, as if doing a deadlift or RDL, letting the cable pull your butt back. Then stand up straight and squeeze your glutes, pulling the resistance back through to the front of your hips.

Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Kneeling Scrape the Rack Press instead of Shoulder Press

If there’s a common issue with shoulder presses and moves that have you pushing weight overhead, it’s that very often, you can put compressive force on your lower spine. It happens often when you go too heavy: Almost in lieu of actually driving the weight overhead, you arch at the lower back. You shouldn’t do it. And you don’t want your body to do that.

But how do you prevent that? A move like the scrape the rack press can help. The scrape the rack press has you pressing the weight overhead, but you’re not just doing that. You’re setting up in a squat rack, kneeling, facing the edge of the squat rack, and pressing up. As you press up, you have to keep the barbell scraping the rack; this prevents you from being able to arch your back, as does the kneeling position.

Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.

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5 Steps to Safely Train Around Lower Back Pain

True veterans of the iron game who have clocked enough hours under some heavy-ass loads know that lower back injuries are a frustrating part of the game. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again.


Back injuries are the price of doing business if you’re training at the right intensity. So get off your high horse and listen up. It’s just a matter of time until the iron takes you as its next victim. 



5 Steps to Safely Train Around Lower Back Pain

This isn’t your physical therapist’s handcuffing list full of dainty recommendations to lay off the weights. These tips will have you maintaining your hard-earned muscle armor and dominating your stat sheet while letting your lower back recover, thus reducing the risk of another debilitating injury. 


TREAT IT: Super D Video: Treating Lower Back Pain



1. Assess the Severity of Your Pain

Dominating sets can wait a day. We have to first figure out if you’re able to get back in the saddle or whether you’re going to wet your saddle. With every case of lower back pain presenting in a unique fashion, it is necessary to determine whether you are dealing with just another muscle tweak or an amount of structural and functional damage. 


Before you pick up the phone to throw your name on the weeklong waiting list to see your primary physician (who is probably a triathlete, if he trains at all), go through this checklist. If you are having any of the following symptoms, then you were right, your best bet is to go ahead and make that call:


  1. Tingling or numbness
  2. Loss of sensation
  3. Loss of motor control (inability to coordinate voluntary movements)
  4. Loss of bowel or bladder function
  5. Severe immobility, inability to walk



Skip the Trip to Your Orthopedist

If you made it through the checklist above with a clean slate, chances are you are dealing with a purely musculoskeletal issue. Without neurological involvement, you will be able to independently manage your painful episode. Lucky you.


The ability to successfully self-treat will save you time, money, aggravation, and your general sanity. Through my years of treating lower back pain as a sports performance physical therapist, I can confidently say that 95% of expensive diagnostic imaging procedures are downright worthless. 


“The ability to successfully self-treat will save you time, money, aggravation, and your general sanity.”

Sure, today’s imaging techniques can show structural damages in high definition, but have we forgotten about functionality? There are guys playing on Sundays in peak physical condition with imaging that would indicate a train wreck, but they’re still cashing big checks and doing it pain free. There are also desk jockeys out there hindered by gut-wrenching pain but showing clean scans.



As Tyler Durden might say, “You are not your fucking MRI.”



If your back pain is a chronic or recurring issue, the current symptomology should present in a consistent manner as previous injuries. And guess what, if you’re not willing to do things that you have never done before to rid yourself of this literal pain in your ass, then your orthopedic surgeon will be more than happy to grab the knife and open you up, cashing another absurdly large paycheck from the fat cat insurance company in the process. The choice is yours. I suggest you choose to be your own best advocate.



3. Classify Your Painful Pattern

Individuals with active and painful lower back symptoms will all be uniquely inadequate in their own dysfunctional ways. Despite the fact your recumbent bike-riding spine doc has classified your condition as “special,” it can still be categorized into one of two distinct groups: flexion- or extension-based pain and dysfunction.


Flexion-based pain and dysfunction is most prevalent within our culture of sitting, slouching, and overall piss-poor posturing. On the opposite end of the spinal spectrum, extension-based dysfunction presents more in active populations, especially those stuck in an anteriorly tilted pelvic position for extended periods of time.


FIX IT: How to Unlock Your Athletic Potential Through Good Posture


If you don’t know what I’m talking about, turn on ESPN. CrossFit has produced some of the fittest men and women on the planet, but also some of the most poorly positioned backsides for elite athletes in recent memory. And we wonder why CrossFitters continue to get injured.


Using two clearing tests popularized by the Functional Movement Systems (FMS), you will be able to determine your prominent movement dysfunction by the presence of pain while completing the motions below. If either of these tests illicits pain, that is considered a positive test. The most painful test classifies you as either flexion or extension intolerant.


Spinal Flexion Clearing Test


Spinal Extension Clearing Test


The results of these clearing tests will differentiate the daily movements and positions that will aid your path to recovery from those that will leave you flat on your back for the next three weeks, wishing you would have taken this classification system seriously.


For flexion-based dysfunction, avoiding sitting and slouching is imperative. As for extension, hanging out in an extended spinal position for long durations can exacerbate your current symptoms, delaying your recovery for a few more painful weeks.


For both painful patterns, keep moving and change positions as often as possible. Keeping your body mobile, while routinely giving your spinal structures a break, will speed up the recovery process and have you pushing new personal records in no time.



4. Avoid Heavy Front-Loaded Hip Hinges

The position you were in when you got hurt should be avoided. But don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just stay off these movements until you earn the right to program them back into your routine:


  • Deadlift
  • Barbell Row
  • Good Mornings
  • Full-Range Crunches/Sit ups
  • Back Extensions
  • Low Bar Back Squat
  • Leg Press


5. Increase Your Work Volume

In order to overload your lower body while staying within the parameters of the above programming, the overall work volume of a training session needs to increased. Volume can be most effectively manipulated by adding both sets and reps for each movement.


For single-leg primary strength movements, it is imperative not only to push as hard as possible, but to program with primary strength loads that keep you within a range of four to eight reps. Overall volume of your workout will be increased in these primary movements because they replace the traditional power work (between one to four repetitions) that is commonplace for many strength athletes. As long as you can maintain spinal positioning and stability, work towards fifty total reps per leg for single-leg work.


“In order to overload your lower body while staying within the parameters of the above programming, the overall work volume of a training session needs to increased.”

During split-stance work, strength and hypertrophy parameters are most advantageous to continue the pre-exhaustion of the lower body, while also putting an emphasis on increasing the total volume of the session. Stick to sets of eight to fifteen reps per leg, while working your way to sixty total reps per leg.



For any single-leg movement, make sure to complete all your reps on one leg before moving on to the opposite leg. This will allow you to maintain maximal tension and stability through the pillar, while not having to reset your spinal position over and over. For example, for step ups, complete six reps on the left, followed directly by six reps on the right.


You’ll know its time for bilateral work when you start shaking, are walking a little butt-hurt, and are contemplating going to the bathroom to release your demons. This is called pre-exhaustion, and the work that is put in after this level of trashing is what will keep you progressing, even with a painful lower back.


RELATED: Isometric Training: What It Is and How to Do It Correctly


Bilateral work is saved up for extended sets, finishers, and conditioning. Pick two movements that meet the criteria for safe lower-back programming (my favorite is the trap bar deadlift off platforms and isometric bodyweight squat holds), and crush them. Bilateral work is maximal effort, so go hard. Don’t worry about stressing the core. Your legs will be so fried that they will be the limiting factor to every set. Keep loads relatively light and reps to the max. Shoot for three sets of twenty-plus reps for two bilateral movements to put the final nail in this workout’s coffin. 


If you have questions on this approach or how to work your way through these steps, please post them to the comments below.


Photos 1, 2, & 5 courtesy of Shutterstock.

I Hurt My Back Lifting Weights…Now What?

If you’ve been training hard in the gym, at some point in your career you’ve probably experienced low back pain. Maybe it’s happened to you multiple times, and yes, it is extremely annoying! How did you manage it? Did you seek out medical care? From who? Unfortunately, it could be vastly different depending on who you see!

While there are many articles that attempt to show you how to PREVENT back pain from lifting weights, this article will show you how to manage it once it’s already happened! Although treating the dreaded lifter’s low back “tweak” can vary from person to person, here are some common themes and tips to help you get back to the iron!

You Don’t Need “Fixing”

Unfortunately, depending upon what medical provider you seek out, you can receive vastly different stories and advice as to how to “fix” your lifting-related low back pain. A chiropractor may press on your spine and tell you that one of your bones is “out of place” and that you need a manipulation to “put it back in.”

A physical therapist may check your pelvic alignment, see that one side looks shifted compare to the other and diagnose you with various terms such as a pelvic upslip or rotated innominate.

A massage therapist may feel your muscles, inform you that you have “fascial restrictions” or adhesions, and that you need his/her skilled hands on therapy to “break them up” and remove them.

Go to your primary care physician, and he or she may just prescribe Flexiril (a muscle relaxer) and tell you to rest until the pain goes away.

Dependence on the Healthcare System

What if I were to tell you all of these treatments, although they do have good intentions (at least I hope) are not optimal, and in even some cases…incorrect? Your spinal bones don’t go out of place, your pelvis doesn’t slip out, hands on therapy can’t release fascial adhesions, and just “Flexiril and Chill” are all very POOR pieces of advice!

Why…because they create the idea that the body is inherently unstable and weak, and that you need the help of a “skilled practitioner” to be “fixed”. All of these ideas create DEPENDENCE on the healthcare system to get you better. That’s not cool! So how do we effectively treat this? What is the role of a good healthcare practitioner?

Provide Good Education

The primary role of the healthcare provider in managing low back pain, whether it be a physical therapist, chiropractor, or physician, should be to provide solid education. It is the practitioner’s job to convey the message that back pain, from time to time, is NORMAL and usually resolves itself without treatment. Just this education alone can be enough to decrease pain, as having false beliefs about pain is often enough to…you bet…exacerbate pain!

It is important to convey the message that the spine is inherently strong and stable! While hands-on therapy may work sometimes for some people, helping the trainee self-manage by finding tolerable movements, restoring painful movements, encouraging him/her to continue training, and reducing the risk of future injuries are all pivotal areas that the healthcare provider can help with!

Respect the Flare Up. ..Find Tolerable Movements

Most of the time after the dreaded low back “tweak” many lifters will have a movement that the spine doesn’t tolerate well. For example, if you are experiencing lower back pain from deadlifting, it may hurt to bend forward, even a little bit. What you want to do in this case is realize this movement is highly sensitized and avoid it temporarily in the initial stages.

Instead of constantly painfully stretching into spinal flexion with exercises such as the sit and reach and prayer stretch, try doing 10 standing back extensions an hour. This is a way to provide threat-free, low back movement input to the brain, which can help desensitize it and decrease pain. After the injury calms down, then you can begin to slowly re-integrate and tolerate spinal flexion.

People run into trouble when they panic because they can’t bend forward…so they hastily, repeatedly, and frequently bend forward and stretch into a highly sensitized movement, which usually makes it worse!

Continue Training in Non-Threatening Positions

Here’s the truth. In most cases, after red flags have been ruled out by your healthcare provider, there is no reason why you cannot continue training through an acute low-back injury. Although this may require temporary avoidance of the movement that was associated with the injury, the bottom line is to find exercises that don’t hurt…and load them.

In the case of the lifter’s dreaded low back “tweak,” lunges and other single leg variations will be your friend. If you hurt your back deadlifting and you are temporarily unable to bend forward without pain, lunges are a great alternative that allow you to get one hell of a lower body training effect without having to fear re-injury.

Other exercises to consider include, step ups, split squats, and low-level core work such as deadbugs, birddogs, and plank variations. All of these movements allow you to continue MOVING and LOADING, giving your brain non-threatening stimuli to help decrease pain and promote recovery.

Don’t Let Fear Get the Best of You

Catastrophizing and kinesiophobia are two thought processes that many people with an acute injury experience. People who catastrophize tend to see the worst possible outcome and obsess over their pain…it’s all they can think about! This catastrophizing can easily lead to kinesiophobia, or fear of movement as well. So how does one address this?

This is where I believe the healthcare practitioner can play another HUGE role! Providing the education that acute low back pain in the lifter sometimes just happens can be enough to desensitize the system and reduce pain.

Additionally, it should also be stated that most of these cases get better on their own as well…without any treatment. Remember, although it may not feel like it at the time of an acute low back injury, your body is adaptable and robust!

Reintegrate the Painful Movement Pattern

After the acuity of the injury passes, and the high irritability decreases, it is imperative that you begin to re-integrate the painful movement pattern. For example, if you had an injury that caused severe pain with bending forward try utilizing graded exposure drills such as squat to stand, cat/camels, and quadruped rockbacks to SLOWLY re-integrate spinal flexion! Here’s an example of a lumbar flexion restoration series I typically recommend:


The health care provider should tell the client that it’s ok to have a little bit of pain/discomfort with these activities, as long as the pain doesn’t persist for hours after completion of the activities. This is called the process of habituation, where you provide the body with a stimulus that’s uncomfortable and you ask it to adapt to it. If it’s the correct intensity and dosage…it will!

Help Reduce the Risk of Further Flare Ups

While the aim of this article is to provide a guide of what to do when the lifter hurts his/her back, it is of utmost importance to also employ strategies to reduce the risk of further flare ups as well.

Load management is key here, as many will want to jump right back into their prior working weights as soon as possible. I recommend a conservative approach to slowly getting back.

For example, if you hurt yourself deadlifting 365 for a set of 5, after employing some of the tactics above, try working up to 265 for a set of 5, then add 10 lbs to the bar every session until you get back to 365. Yes, this takes 6-weeks, and some may not have the patience for this, but it’s better than jumping right back to 315 and re-injuring!


You don’t need fixed! Although manual therapy can help desensitize the nervous system in SOME cases for SOME people, it is not NECESSARY for a positive outcome. Most of these cases improve on their own with education and load management alone.

Respect flare-ups and find tolerable movement patterns. Don’t aggressively stretch or mobilize into the painful pattern as soon as you injure yourself. It may take temporary avoidance of the painful pattern and frequent movement into a non-threatening pattern to help calm down the pain.

Continue training in non-threatening ways. Utilize single-leg variations to continue training through an acute low back injury. This is a great way to continue loading the lower extremities while temporarily promoting less load through the spine.

Don’t succumb to castrophizing and kinesiophobia. The dreaded low-back tweak usually feels like the worst injury in the world when it happens. It’s important to know that although it feels like the end of the world, take a deep breath and realize it’s only temporarily.

Reintegrate painful movement patterns. After the injury calms down, it’s imperative to re-integrate the painful movement pattern.

Take action to reduce the risk of further flare ups. Don’t jump back into the ballgame too soon. A slow approach will promote longevity and be a safer approach!

How to train around a lower back injury

Back injury and pain can be very debilitating. It’s only when you have serious back pain that you come to understand that every human movement involves your vertebral column. Mild back pain makes sitting, standing, and moving uncomfortable while severe back pain can leave you completely incapacitated.

Because the spine is such a complex structure, it is ESSENTIAL that you get any back pain and injuries assessed by a medical professional. The last thing you want to do is turn a mild injury into something more serious by ignoring any pain or other symptoms.

However, if your doctor says it’s okay to do so, it’s often possible to train around back pain. You might not be able to play rugby until you are healed, but you should be able to maintain fitness and strength so that you can return to the playing field with a bang and not a fizzle!

Prevention of back pain  

With back pain, like all injuries, prevention is always better than cure. Many instances of back pain and injury can and should be avoided in the first place. Obviously, injuries that happen during a match or because of an accident are unavoidable, but even then, there is a lot you can do to lower your chances of suffering debilitating back pain and injuries.

Develop a 3D core

Core is the collective term used to describe the muscles that surround your midsection and support your spine. In many ways, these muscles act a lot like a weightlifting belt, talking pressure off your spine.

Lots of ruggers engage in regular abs training, doing sit ups, crunches, and planks during their workouts. However, these exercises only really affect one aspect of your core – the anterior or front core which is made up from rectus abdominus.

If you want to develop a bulletproof core, and a stronger spine by default, you need more than sit ups. You also need to work your midsection from other angles too.

There are five types of spinal movements available, and that means you need to include five types of core training in your workouts. Those movement patterns are:

  • Flexion – crunches, sit ups, etc.
  • Extension – back raises and hyperextensions, etc.
  • Rotation – cable woodchops, Russian twists, etc.
  • Lateral flexion – side bends, etc.
  • Bracing – anti-movement exercises e.g. planks, side planks, Pallof presses, farmer’s and waiter’s walks, etc.

You don’t need to include all these exercises/movements in every workout, but you should endeavor to do them all on a weekly or bi-weekly basis e.g. flexion on Monday, extension on Tuesday, rotation on Wednesday and so on.

Hamstring flexibility

Tight hamstrings are a leading and often avoidable cause of back injury and pain. Tight hamstrings can cause your lower back to become rounded. A rounded lower back is a weak lower back. When you round your lower back, stress that should be borne by your muscles ends up on your ligaments, and your intervertebral disks are pushed toward the rear of your spine, where they may put pressure on your sciatic nerve. This is a common cause of back pain.

Long periods of sitting combined with tight hamstrings can wreak havoc on your spine, and while there might not be much you can do about habitual sitting, you can make sure your hamstring flexibility is up to snuff.

No time to stretch? Think again! You can easily improve your flexibility while you are watching TV. Alternatively, you could also try yoga– an activity that is surprisingly compatible with rugby.

Rounded back lifting? Just say NO!

Lifting with a rounded lower back is the best was to pick up a back injury – and probably a serious one at that. Your spine should be neutral when lifting which means it should be slightly (and tightly) arched.

Tight hamstrings can make this difficult, as can poor kinesthetic awareness and a weak core. Using too much weight or just sloppy technique are also contributing factors.

Except for specific spinal flexion exercises like crunches, you should avoid rounding your lower back during training whenever possible. This may mean you need to modify your workout but if that means fewer back injuries, that small sacrifice will rewarded.

90,000 20 back exercises to help relieve back and spine pain.

Back pain became a disease of the modern generation . The more people are engaged in sedentary work , the greater part of the population worries about pain in the lower back, neck and spine . When should pay attention to and how to get rid of unpleasant pain ? In this article you will learn about the largest muscle in the body – back .We will also tell you about the 20 most effective exercises with an emphasis on the lower, middle and upper back .

Basic Tips to Get Rid of Back Pain

Back pain is typically the response to back injury . That is why we have prepared 12 basic rules , which must know every . These are simple and effective techniques , allowing to avoid problems with the spine or relieve unpleasant pain .To prevent the initial symptoms of chronic diseases of the spine, it is necessary with a combination of physical activity , exercises to strengthen the body and stretching. Follow the rules below and you will avoid back problems.

1.) Limit time spent in bed

How long do you spend in bed when your back hurts? Experts advise people with back pain not to lie in bed for more than 3 days .At the same time, if you like to laze around in bed, think about the position of the spine and better give preference to sports . [1] [4]

2.) Train and strengthen your back

Even a short walk is a great medicine for your back , and simple back exercises can do wonders . But if you suffer from back pain , avoid sports and back muscle tension. A suitable sporting activity is running, skating, swimming, dancing, stretching or horse riding. [1] [9]

3.) Keep your back in the correct position

Make sure your spine is in the correct position during the day. Think about whether you are sitting properly in your workplace. Maintain the correct posture, try to keep your spine as straight as possible . [1] [2] While sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor with resting your upper back against the back of the chair .We also recommend placing a small cushion under the lower back.

4.) Visit a specialist

Ibalgin or aspirin will not help with back problems , so you should contact a physiotherapist who will prescribe rehabilitation exercises. As a last resort, consult a doctor. [1]

5.) Strengthen the abdominal and back muscles

An effective way to relieve pain – Strengthen the abdominal and back muscles .If you train your back, then will definitely think about strengthening the abdomen , because oblique abdominal muscles serve to rotate the torso , as well as to flex the spine. [1] [3]

6.) Apply ice or heating pad

In case of swelling , apply ice to the place of edema, and in case of back muscles pain, we recommend using a heating pad or a warm bath . [1] [2] [4]

7. ) Sleep in the correct position

Poor quality mattresses can also cause back pain .So if you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees . If you fall asleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees . Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended, as damages the cervical spine. [1] [2]

8.) Stop smoking

It’s no secret that smoking has a negative impact on health . However, few people know that it also damages the spine . The study confirmed that smokers are more likely to suffer from back pain than non-smokers.[1] [3]

9.) Relax

Try meditation, yoga, pilates or tai chi as a tool to relax and stretch the spine . These exercises will help you relax your back and use all the muscles of your back . [1] [3]

10.) Go to massage

But be careful and do not resort to fanaticism . Massage times a week for 10 weeks can really help relieve pain.Going to an experienced chiropractor is also a good way to help your spine. But visit only a certified specialist. [3]

11.) Take Vitamin D, K and Calcium

Strong and healthy bones are the prevention of osteoporosis, which is one of the most common causes of back pain , especially in women. Therefore, we recommend to increase the intake of vitamin D, K and calcium to prevent this disease.[4] [5]

12.) Wear comfortable shoes

It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and avoid high-heeled shoes . Wearing high-heeled shoes causes pain and increased pressure. At the same time, shoes with a height of more than 3 centimeters create a destabilizing balance , which negatively affects back support.

When should I see a doctor?

In case you follow above advice and your condition does not improve, you should see a doctor .Alerts can be following criteria [15]:

  1. Back pain lasts longer than 6 weeks
  2. Pain increases with time
  3. You under 20 or over 55
  4. Even a small touch hurts you
  5. Temperature increase
  6. Rapid weight loss for no apparent reason
  7. Tingling in the legs
  8. Feeling weak
  9. You started to urinate slowly or suffer from urinary incontinence

If you notice these symptoms , it doesn’t mean that you have back pain. Nevertheless, it would be good to go to the doctor and get tested.

Worst Possible Causes of Back Pain

Neglecting symptoms can lead to very serious health problems . Most of them are the cause of serious illness. [16] The most serious diseases of the spine include:

  1. Cancer , in which pain occurs due to the fact that the tumor is pressed against the spine .This is a type of pain that is worse and does not affect body position or physical activity . Patients experience the greatest pain caused by cancer during sleep or when lifting weights. [17]

  2. Spine infection causes back pain when it occurs near the spine. However, this disease is very difficult to detect. [18]
  3. Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a disease in which part of the largest artery, the aorta, is enlarged.Back pain is caused by swelling or cracking of an artery near the spine . It usually occurs in 90,003 elderly obese hypertensives or smokers. [19]
  4. Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes persistent pain and poor back mobility . This disease affects men more often than . [20]

These diseases affect a minority of people with back pain. A much more common cause is osteoporosis, shortened or weakened muscles in the center of the body, or prolonged damage to the spine from sedentary work.

20 Most Effective Back Exercises

Today, back pain is increasingly felt by both the younger and the older generation. Reasons for can be as follows [12]:

  • shortened muscles
  • weak muscles of the center of the body
  • sedentary work
  • pinched nerves
  • Frequent carrying of a heavy bag on one shoulder
  • osteoporosis
  • obesity
  • heavy weight during pregnancy

One way to relieve pain is to regularly strengthen the muscles in the center of the body. Save time and start training today ! Here is a list of the most effective back exercises, a combination of exercise and stretching.

1. Flying dog

Kneel down and put your hands on the floor, to make your body look “like a dog” . Stretch your right arm forward and at the same time pull your left leg back. Keep your back and hips straight, parallel to the floor . Stay in this position for 30 seconds , then return the arm and leg to the starting position.Repeat this exercise alternately changing the right and left sides of . An alternative would be to simultaneously raise the right arm and leg. [27]

2. Raising the pelvis

Lie on the mat, place your hands along your body. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the mat. Pull up your glutes and abdominal muscles and lift your hips to a height of about 15 centimeters above the floor . Your body will form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds and slowly lower your hips to the mat. Repeat 30 times. [7]

3. Raising the pelvis with the leg

Lie on the mat , place your hands next to each other, bend your knees. Lift your right leg and grab your thigh with both hands. Gently pull your knee towards your chest and your left leg towards the center of your body. Lift your pelvis up . Return to the starting position after a few seconds.Repeat, alternately changing legs, 20 times with each. [7]

4. Bar

Step into the plank position . Transfer the stress of your body to your fingertips and forearms. Keep your elbows under your shoulders, and your neck parallel to the ridge of . Your body should look like a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Load all muscles and maintain tension . Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, focusing on correct technique.[7]

5. Side rail

Place your left hand and your left thigh on the floor. Extend your legs so that your body is in line . Tighten the muscles in the center of your body . Transfer your body weight to left palm and left foot. Raise your right hand and keep your head straight. Your body will resemble the letter T . Stay in this position for 30 seconds, and then change sides.[7]

6. Deep lunge back

Place your feet at shoulder width apart, rest your hands on your hips . Bring your left leg two steps behind you. Bend both knees 90 ° and stretch. However, keep your left knee off the floor. Keep your right knee exactly . During this exercise, you use the 93,003 muscles in the center of your body and legs. Repeat the exercise 20 times. [8]

7. Swimmer

Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Extend your arms and legs further out . Raise both legs and arms off the floor so that your body does not look like an arc of . Then, alternately raise your right arm with your left leg and your left arm with your right leg. Repeat for 30 seconds. [8]

8. Back plate

Sit on a yoga mat. Place palms on the floor behind your back .Stretch your legs, tense your muscles and lift your body . Your body should form a straight line from head to toes . Hold this position for 30 seconds. [8]

9. Sphinx

Lie on your stomach, stretch your legs. Bend your elbows and rest on your elbows , keep your neck straight. Tighten your back muscles and lift the front of the body at the elbows. Z Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times. [11]

10. Rotation of the knees

Lie on your back put a towel under your head . Spread your arms, bend your legs at the knees and place on your left side. Keep your knees together and slowly move your legs to the right . Please note that must not lift your back and shoulders off the mat. Repeat the exercise 8-10 times . [14]

11.Cat’s position

Put your knees and palms on the floor, keep your hands shoulder width apart . Inhale, pull your chest up and arch your back, like a cat . Pull your head and neck up. Exhaling , straighten your back and lower your head so that you can see your legs. Repeat 10 to 15 times. [22]

12. Position of the cobra

Lie on your stomach, stretch your legs, rest your palms on the floor .Use the center of your body to straighten your arms. , keep your elbows straight. Return to the starting position after a few seconds. Repeat exercise 15 times . [22]

13. Exercises for abdominal muscles

Lie on your back, put your palms behind your head . Bend your knees and keep your feet on the ground. Using the abdominal muscles, try to bring your right elbow to your left knee. Keep your right foot off the floor .Return to starting position and repeat with the left arm and right leg. [21]

14. Fitness ball exercises

Place your back on the fitness ball as if you are going to lie on it. Keep your knees bent. Place your arms behind your head and use your abdominal muscles to pull your chest and shoulder blades up. Then return to the starting position. [21]

15. Dog position

With this exercise you stretch your entire back .Just stand on your feet, bend to touch the floor with your palms . Stand in this position for 10 seconds, contracting all of the muscles. If your back or hips begin to hurt, bend your knees slightly. [21]

16. Pulling the knees to the chest

Lie on your back, stretch your legs . With both hands, take your right leg just below the knee and try to pull it up to your chest. In this position, count to 5, and then change your leg.Repeat 10 times with the left and right legs alternately. [21]

17. Wall Squat

Put your back on the wall. Move your feet one step away from the wall , leaning firmly against the wall with your back . Slowly start squatting . The goal of this exercise is to bend the knees at a right angle so that the knees do not interfere with movement. Hold this position for 5 to 8 seconds , then slowly return to the starting position. Do 3-4 approaches 10 times. [21]

18. Exercise with massage roller

For this you will need massage fitness roller, which is an excellent tool for relaxing muscles . Lie on the mat, bend your knees and keep them shoulder width apart . Place the roller under your back and place your hands behind your head. Lift your hips and transfer your weight onto the roller. Use roller to massage the entire back .[28]

19. High bar

Exercise for 2 persons . Do the plank exercise. Lift your entire body up so that your weight is on your palms and toes. Be careful not to hurt your back . Keep the muscles of the body in tension and hold for at least 1 minute in this position. [21]

20. Circular rotations with shoulders

Place your feet shoulder width apart , grab your shoulders with your hands and start making circular movements , then change direction. Repeat 10 times. [26]

We hope these exercises will help you overcome your back pain once and for all.

What is your experience with doing back exercises ? What exercises do you practice daily ? Write to us about it in the comments , and also share this article so that your friends and acquaintances receive the necessary knowledge about back pain.

Fitness with a “problem” back – fitLabs / Irina Brecht

Avoiding strength training and leading an immobile lifestyle with a “problem” back does not relieve problems.The modern approach to rehabilitation after trauma involves early mobilization immediately after the end of the inflammatory phase (when pain and swelling pass). This not only helps to avoid muscle wasting, but also speeds up the recovery process – damaged tissues with blood flow receive more nutrition and hydration.

The causes of pain can be very different, and they are not always associated with injuries and hernias. First of all, you need to find out how serious everything is. If you have any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and see a doctor:

  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the legs.
  • Loss of motion control.
  • Restricted mobility up to the inability to walk.
  • Acute pain.

Avoid axial load on the lower back with a heavy weight

Temporarily abandon all exercises with high torque on the lumbar discs:

  • Deadlift and Romanian Rods
  • Tilt Rod Row
  • Bends with a barbell on the shoulders
  • Hyperextensions
  • Barbell Squat

Avoid hard exercise

Avoid difficult exercises that require good technique and coordination:

  • Burpee
  • Swings
  • Miscellaneous explosive movements

Kinetic Chain Improvement

Joints in the human body alternate according to their functions:

The lumbar spine requires stability – this is its main function as a joint.Stability is the ability to resist movement in one part of the body while movement occurs in another part of the body. Excessive stiffness in one joint causes compensatory mobility in the adjacent one. For example, a rigid and immobile thoracic spine forces the lower back and cervical spine to move instead, which can cause cumulative disc injuries. Therefore, it is worthwhile to include exercises for the mobility of the thoracic region and hip joints in the training.

Strengthen core muscles

The traditional approach to strengthening the back is to pump it on special simulators and in different “boats”.But isolated power work is not only ineffective but can be harmful. The core muscles are not just the extensors of the back; together, they form a ring around the lower back. On top of this ring has a “cover” – the diaphragm, and below – the muscles of the pelvic floor. The core muscles work as a team to solve the difficult task of stabilizing the lower back. Therefore, you need to train movement, and not a specific muscle. When all muscles are equally strong, the load is applied evenly, and a very strong structure is obtained.

The role of these muscles is not to create an effort, but to transmit it along the floors of the body: from the legs to the arms and vice versa, preventing the lower back from moving.These are exercises for opposing movement in the back – in statics and dynamics.

Cor is divided into 4 types, it turns out four groups of exercises that need to be included in training:

Front cor:



Rotary core:

Neutral back

The neutral position of the spine is a fundamentally important condition for the technique of all exercises.The quality and safety of your training depends on this. It is helpful to practice stick exercises along the spine to practice a neutral back position.

Do not stretch the lower back

The lumbar spine does not need flexibility, so it does not need to be thoughtlessly stretched.

Some people experience a false sense of relief when stretching the lower back, but this is a neurological phenomenon that makes them less sensitive to pain for a while. The feeling after stretching creates the illusion of something useful, but this is not a solution to the problem, and the pain usually returns.

Make one-legged exercises basic

One-legged exercises should be the basis of the program, they allow you to load the target muscles just as well, but they load the lower back much less. Two-legged exercises – with light weights and only after working out the lower body in one-legged exercises.

Select 1-2 pelvic dominant and 1-2 knee dominant exercises in each of the three groups: one-legged, split-stance, two-legged.

It turns out the following matrix:

Increased workload

In strength training, it is important to constantly progress in the load.The traditional option is to increase working weights, but for a problem back, this may not be the main solution. Instead, the emphasis is on increasing the amount of work: add sets or increase the number of reps.

In any one-legged exercise, you must do all repetitions first on one leg and only then move on to the other.

90,000 9 light exercises for low back pain that will take you a minimum of time

We spend most of our lives in a sitting position.It doesn’t matter how old you are, 20 or 60, many of you have probably experienced discomfort and pain in the lumbar spine at least once. Fortunately, there are exercises that can help prevent or relieve this unpleasant symptom.

Today Bright Side shares with you stretching exercises that will help you cope with lower back pain.

1. Child Pose

  • Get on all fours and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • Gently lower your buttocks to your heels.
  • Lower your head to the floor and bring your palms forward until your arms are fully extended. Remain in this position for 30 seconds.

2. Quadruple

  • Lie on the floor and bend your knees, the distance between your feet should be equal to the width of your hips.
  • Bend your left leg, lift your right foot and place it on your left knee, wrap your hands around your left thigh and slowly pull it towards you.
  • The head and shoulders must remain on the floor.You should feel a stretch in your right thigh.
  • Hold your legs in this position for 30 seconds. each one.

3. Twisting

  • Lie on the floor and bend your knees, take your legs to the side, for example to the right.
  • The left foot should be on the floor and the right ankle should be over the left knee.
  • Place your hands next to your head, with your right knee strive down (towards the floor). Stay in this position for 30 seconds.alternately for each side.

4. Lunges

  • Lunge with your right foot forward, rest on your hands.
  • Note that the right hand should be to the left of the leg.
  • Step your right foot about the width of your right hand.
  • Next, without moving your arms, swing your hips forward to stretch the front of the thighs, and hold this position for 30 seconds. Do the same with the other leg.

5.Raising legs

  • Spread your legs wide, with your socks to the sides. Keep your back straight, tighten your abs, while your shoulders are lowered.
  • With an exhalation, lower yourself slowly, as if sitting on a chair, spread your knees to the sides.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.

6. Slopes

  • Start with your feet wide apart and your toes pointed forward.
  • Exhaling smoothly, bend down, keep your back straight, knees slightly bent.
  • Relax and hold this position for 30 seconds, and then slowly rise.

7. Cow Head Pose

  • Sit on your buttocks and bend your knees.
  • Place your right foot behind your left knee and place it on the floor to the left of your pelvis. Place your knees one above the other.
  • Raise your arms slightly to level the position of your pelvis, and then lower yourself down, evenly distributing your weight. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

8. Seated crunches

  • Sit with your legs straightened, then bend your knees and bring your left leg over your right, placing it on the outside of your right thigh.
  • Bring your right foot closer to your right buttock.
  • Next, bend your right arm at the elbow and put it behind the left knee, as if keeping yourself in a twisted state. Hold this position for 30 seconds. and repeat the same for the other leg.

9.Happy child

  • Lie on the floor, as you exhale, pull your knees to your stomach.
  • As you inhale, grasp the outer sides of your feet with your hands.
  • Slightly spread the knees to the sides slightly wider than the body, pull the knees towards the armpits.
  • Keep your shins perpendicular to the floor. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.

We hope that you will take note of these exercises and relieve the unpleasant symptom of lower back pain.

Illustrator Anna Syrovatkina specially for AdMe.en

Exercises not to be done for back pain

Back pain can be a symptom of serious disorders in the body only in some cases. Therefore, with back pain, you can and should continue to be active, since a long lack of physical activity can aggravate the condition. Physical therapy helps to reduce pain. However, it should be remembered that there are exercises that are contraindicated for back pain.

When performing some exercises, the pressure on the intervertebral discs increases, as a result of which the pain increases.Neurosurgeon Vadim Ilyashenko spoke about what exercises should not be done and how they can be replaced.

Do not: rolls on the back. This exercise helps relieve pain for a while, but it also puts more pressure on the intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine. The nucleus of the intervertebral disc is displaced towards the spinal canal, where the roots of the spinal nerves are located. As a result, the pain sensations increase.

Alternative: while lying on your back, bend one leg and pull it to your chest, the other leg is straight, the back is straight, the lower back does not bend.Hold this position for 10 seconds, then switch legs. Do it 5-10 times on each leg.

Do not: bend forward from a standing position. Although stretching the muscles of the buttocks and the back of the thighs can reduce back and lower back pain, this exercise, like the previous one, increases the pressure on the intervertebral discs.

Alternative: Lying on the floor, lift one leg and straighten it with an elastic band, strap or towel, the other leg is straightened on the floor.Hold this position, and then do the exercise on the other leg.

Do not do: full amplitude twists. When performing such exercises, the muscles of the lower back contract and the load on the spinal discs increases. In addition, very often this exercise is done incorrectly – the back of the head is squeezed too much by the hands and the neck is bent.

Alternative: To reduce the load on the lower back, perform crunches with partial amplitude. Lying on your back, bend your knees, press your lower back to the floor, keep your hands at your temples or keep along your torso.Next, lift the body without lifting the lower back from the floor (only shoulders and head). The trunk lift should be done with the abdominal muscles, not with the back muscles. Do not bend your neck or tuck your chin against your chest.

Do not: lifting the legs while lying down. When performing this exercise, as well as during twisting, the lumbar muscles are strongly contracted and the load on the intervertebral discs increases.

Alternative: Superman Exercise. Lying on your stomach, simultaneously raise your straight legs and arms up, hold this position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.This exercise puts more stress on the intervertebral joints, so if they are causing back pain, the pain may worsen.

Do not perform exercises leading to hyperextension of the lower back (hyperextension, hyperextension). Such exercises place an enormous strain on the spinal discs and can even lead to disc herniation. Do not bend your back too much when doing the exercise.

Alternative: Quadroplex or “hunting dog” exercise.Get on all fours, stretch one arm and the opposite leg parallel to the floor, hold this position, and then repeat on the other side. The back should remain straight. If you are having trouble doing this exercise, try stretching only your arm and only your leg first.

Experts do not recommend doing exercises for back pain, especially those in which the discs are compressed, immediately after waking up, since after a long rest, the nucleus of the intervertebral disc is most saturated with moisture and is more vulnerable.An hour or two after lifting, the discs will return to their normal state and then you can start doing the exercises.

These recommendations are based on many years of research by Stuart McGill, Head of the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Waterloo (Canada).

Back pain: how to exercise correctly

Doctors are not in vain always agitate us to lead an active lifestyle. Lack of regular activity and love for a quiet pastime sooner or later lead to a weakening of muscle tissue.

Weak muscles do not support joints and the spine, and as a result, the back begins to ache.
Age-related osteochondrosis, hernia and protrusion of the lumbar spine are, as a rule, a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle and weakening of the muscle corset.

Back problems can be earned by playing sports, but then we will talk about sports injuries due to improper training technique or excessively heavy loads.

One way or another, but the ever-aching lower back, which limits your movements and creates tangible discomfort in life, is not a factor that you can put up with.

Do not postpone rehabilitation until later and do not hope for an eternal stay on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Learn to help yourself!

We will show you how to do this …

1. Find out how serious this is

What exactly happened to you, only a doctor can reliably say after appropriate examinations and testing. Any your assumptions are just assumptions, since completely different diagnoses can have similar symptoms and manifestations.

You can seek help from a surgeon-traumatologist, neurologist-vertebreologist, osteopath. But just know that the doctor can make the final diagnosis only after an MRI of the lumbar spine, which will show what exactly the problem is: in the joints, vertebral discs, intervertebral space.

X-rays in some cases may be ineffective, as they only show the condition of the discs.

Be sure to go to the doctor if:

– Your legs tingle and / or numb, their sensitivity is lost;

– You lose control over your movements;

– You have limited mobility, up to the inability to walk;

– Pains move from one part of the spine to another (for example, from the lower back to the thoracic region or to the hip).

2. Try yourself to identify the movements that cause pain

Spinal dysfunction is always associated with two types of movements: movement for flexion of the spine and movement for extension of the spine.

Pain during flexion of the spine is usually experienced by people who have led a sedentary lifestyle, often stooped while sitting. And pain during extension of the spine is more common in active people who tried to sit up straight, who had problems with the position of the feet when walking and anterior pelvic tilt (lumbar lordosis).

Also, this type of pain can be found after improper workouts in the gym, when a barbell or dumbbells were lifted with an arched back, which destabilized the spine.

To check after what movements your back hurts, just first bend your back and bend down to your feet, stand there for about a minute and straighten up. Did your back start to hurt even before the extension? This means you have difficulty flexing your spine.

Next, lie down on the floor and bend in the spine (exercise “cat pulls up”), if you feel pain, it means problems with unbending the spine.

When the essence of pain and the cause of the pain are determined, treatment should be started (massages, electrophoresis, joint injections of chondrotoprotectors, kinesiotherapy sessions are often prescribed), after which physical rehabilitation will follow. Let’s talk about her …

3. Do not train with heavy weights

When you feel relief and / or the doctor has given the go-ahead for rehabilitation training, you can return to an active lifestyle. Now this is especially important, because the stronger the muscular corset, the better the spine and vertebrae are supported, the less likely the pain will return quickly.

If you decide to return to training in the gym, then remember that you are prohibited from all axial exercises on the spine and loads on the lower back with heavy weight.

These exercises include deadlifts and romanian deadlifts, bent-over barbells, bends with a barbell on the shoulders and chest, lifting the barbell from behind the head, twisting with the lower back off the floor, squats with a barbell, hyperextension.

4. Improve the kinetic chain of joints

In our body, everything is interconnected and the work of the joints too.The lumbar spine, according to its purpose, should be motionless, but the thoracic and hip regions, on the contrary, are mobile.

The mobility of some departments leads to the stability of others and vice versa. That is, if there is no mobility in the thoracic or hip region, then the lumbar region will lose its former stability and gain compensatory mobility, which is bad for the lower back.

Therefore, in case of problems with the lower back, it is necessary to increase the mobility of the thoracic and hip regions, as well as strengthen the abdominal muscles, which will help stabilize the vertebrae.

5. Exercise with a neutral back position

The exercise technique for back pain assumes a neutral position of the spine. To understand in what position the spine is in the neutral stage, you need to perform exercises with a straight stick tied to your back. Your spine should be located along this stick and not bend, not bend in a tangent to it.

When you practice keeping your back straight, you will understand how deep you should sit, how low you can bend down.

The following exercise will help to “lock” the lower back in a neutral position:

1. Stand up straight and tense your abs to the maximum.

2. Inhale with the diaphragm (upper abdomen) into the tense press.

3. Catch the position of the lower back at this moment and maintain it until the end of the workout.

Neutral spine position will reduce the risk of injury that can occur from improper training with a sore back.

6. Do exercises on one leg

When you do exercises on one leg, you redistribute the load from the spine to other parts.One-legged exercises should be the base of your training program.

7. Gradually increase your training volume

The complication of your rehabilitation workouts should not be due to an increase in the working weight on the simulators, but due to the number of approaches and repetitions.

If your back stops hurting, then just increase the number of approaches and repetitions of exercises in the usual program. It is not worth increasing the working weight, since problems with the lower back involve refraining from lifting large loads.

8. Pump the part of the back where you have pain

As we have already said, the stronger the muscular corset, the better the muscles support the vertebrae, the less mobility and nerve entrapment they have. To improve your condition, you need to pump muscles in the part of your back where pain is most felt. How to do it – a professional trainer will tell you.

9. Hang on the horizontal bar

It is known that hanging on a horizontal bar helps to stretch the spine.If you have no contraindications to such an exercise, if the vertebral discs do not move during traction, then be sure to weigh on the bar for 20-25 seconds a day.

When hanging, try to relax your back as much as possible and stretch your spine. For people with a backache, 1-2 approaches are enough per day.

10. Eliminate treadmill workouts

People with back problems are better off avoiding the shock load on the spine that is present when running on a treadmill.It is better to use an ellipsoid or an exercise bike for cardio loads.

Moderate treadmill training is allowed only in special shoes with shock-absorbing soles, at a slow pace and at the time of prolonged remission.

After 2-4 months of rehabilitation training, persistent improvement usually occurs. It even becomes possible to switch to standard workouts without burdening and overstraining. Just remember that your intervertebral hernias and osteochondrosis have not gone anywhere, but simply do not make themselves felt.

In order not to remember the pain again, undergo a course of treatment with a doctor, take supportive medications and do not abandon your workouts. Your back muscles and abs should not lose their tone, otherwise they will not be able to hold the vertebrae, and their destabilization will return again.

Listen to how you feel during your workouts. Successful rehabilitation and good health!

Was our article helpful? Then like us and write in the comments, do you have back pain, and what kind of workouts do you practice in this case?

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90 000 Physiotherapy exercises for back pain

Movement for Health – 16 Effective Exercises for Back Pain

Strong trunk muscles reduce pain in the intervertebral joints and slow down wear and tear.Exercise is an effective remedy for back pain, including exercise programs, pool exercises, and Nordic walking.

A set of physical exercises for back pain is aimed at increasing muscle strength and stretching. On average, charging should be given 20 minutes 2-3 times a week. Consult your doctor before exercising.

Strength Training

Head lift

Head Lift – Neck Muscle Exercise

Starting position:

  • Sitting on a chair, knees bent at a 90 ° angle.
  • Tilt your torso forward, keeping your back straight.
  • Place your elbows bent at a 90 ° angle on your hips.
  • Place the band on the back of your head, holding it with slight tension.


  • Raise your head against the resistance of the expander.

Head Lift – Neck Muscle Exercise

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Vary the resistance of the expander by varying the length of the expander
  • Choose resistance so that you can easily do 10-15 reps
  • Increase resistance two weeks after starting
  • Rest for 30 seconds between sets


  • Keep your back straight
  • Keep your neck and head straight
  • Perform small-amplitude movements

Shoulder Workout

Shoulder movement – exercise to train the muscles of the shoulder girdle

Starting position:

  • Sitting on a chair, knees bent at a 90 ° angle.
  • Wrap the expander around the door handle of the closed door (or other stationary object at the height of the door handle) and grasp the ends of the expander in your hands.
  • For a secure grip, it is recommended to wrap the ends of the band around your wrists.
  • Stretch the expander by bending your elbows.
  • Hold your arms and expander so that they form a horizontal line.


  • Stretch the expander against its resistance.When moving, hold your arms and the expander so that they are in one line.

Strengthening the upper back and back muscles of the shoulder girdle

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Vary the resistance of the expander by varying its length
  • Choose resistance so that you can easily do 10-15 reps
  • Increase resistance two weeks after starting
  • Rest for 30 seconds between sets


  • keep your back straight
  • abdominal muscles should be tense
  • arm movements should be straight
  • bring your shoulder blades together, but do not bend your arms

Long Back Training

Long back muscle training

Starting position:

  • Sitting on a chair, knees bent at a 90 ° angle.
  • Wrap the expander around the door handle of the closed door (or other stationary object at the height of the door handle) and grasp the ends of the expander in your hands.
  • For a secure grip, it is recommended to wrap the ends of the band around your wrists.
  • Stretch the expander.
  • Hold your arms and expander so that they form a line that slopes slightly downward.


  • Pull the tape towards your thighs against the resistance of the expander.

Training of the long muscles of the back

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Vary the resistance of the expander by varying its length
  • Choose resistance so that you can easily do 10-15 reps
  • Increase resistance two weeks after starting
  • Rest for 30 seconds between sets


  • keep your back straight
  • abdominal muscles should be tight
  • pull the tape towards your hips

Extension of the trunk

Extension of the trunk – training of muscles of the lower back

Starting position:

  • Standing with legs slightly bent at the knees and hips.
  • Grip the ends of the expander securely.
  • Stand with two feet on the expander.
  • Tilt your torso slightly forward, keeping your back straight.
  • Pull on the expander.
  • Keep your arms straight.


  • Pull the expander straight up.
  • Keep your back straight while straightening your entire body.
  • Keep your legs in the starting position.

Lumbar muscle training

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Vary the resistance of the expander by varying its length
  • Choose resistance so that you can easily do 10-15 reps
  • Increase resistance two weeks after starting
  • Rest for 30 seconds between sets


  • keep your back straight
  • abdominal muscles should be tense
  • knees should be slightly bent
  • arms extended forward

Leg Straighten

Glute muscle training

Starting position:

  • Get on all fours.
  • Press the knee joints together.
  • Support the weight of your torso with your elbows.
  • Hold the edges of the expander in your hands.
  • Place the expander over one foot.


  • Overcoming the resistance of the expander, extend your leg so that it is in line with your torso.
  • Return to starting position.

Glute muscle training

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions
  • Change the resistance of the tape by changing its length
  • Select the length of the tape so that you can easily perform 10-15 repetitions
  • Increase the resistance of the tape no earlier than after 2 weeks of doing the exercise
  • between sets take 30 second breaks


  • keep your abdominal muscles tense
  • do not tilt your torso forward or back
  • your knees should be slightly bent

Side bends

Thigh abductors training

Starting position:

  • Standing on a firm surface, feet shoulder-width apart
  • Take both ends of the expander in your right hand
  • Lean to the side, keeping your back straight
  • Stand with your right foot on the belt loop
  • Pull the expander without bending your arm


  • Pull the expander straight up
  • Keeping your back straight, tilt away from the expander

Training of the abductor muscles of the thigh

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions
  • Change the resistance of the tape by changing its length
  • Select the length of the tape so that you can easily perform 10-15 repetitions
  • Increase the resistance of the tape no earlier than after 2 weeks of doing the exercise
  • between take 30 second breaks for sets


  • keep your back straight
  • keep your abdominals tight
  • head, neck and back should be in a straight line


Abdominal muscle training

Starting position:

  • Bend your knees to a 90 ° angle and spread them slightly to the sides
  • Keep your lower back on the floor
  • Place your head on the floor
  • Keep your elbows at your sides and your forearms on your chest (not on the neck)


  • Raise your head, shoulders, and chest without lifting your lower back off the floor.

Raising the upper body from a prone position

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • take 30 second breaks between sets


  • the lower back must be firmly pressed to the floor

Leg Raise

Training of abdominal muscles and hip flexors

Starting position:

  • Lying on your back on a hard surface
  • Bend your knees to a 90 ° angle and slightly spread them to the sides
  • Place your hands on the floor alongside your body
  • Place your head on the floor


  • Raise legs so that the angle between the legs and the body is approximately 90 °.
  • Do not straighten your legs at the knee joints
  • When performing the exercise, rest your lower back on the floor

Leg Raise

Run mode
  • 2 sets of 10-15 reps
  • take 30 second breaks between sets


  • the lower back must be firmly pressed to the floor
  • a pillow can be placed under the head


Forced head tilt to the side

Stretching of the lateral muscles of the neck

Starting position:

  • Standing on a hard surface
  • Feet shoulder-width apart
  • Legs slightly bent at the knees
  • Place your hand on your head and place your hand over the opposite ear
  • Keep your hand in the same plane as torso


  • Press your head on the shoulder
  • Keep your back straight
  • Legs should remain in the starting position
  • You will feel the tension in the neck muscles
  • The stretch can be increased by pulling the free arm towards the floor
Run mode
  • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


  • keep your back straight
  • look straight ahead
  • knees should be slightly bent
  • tilt your head to the side
  • with your other hand, rest on the floor

Forced head tilt forward

Stretching the muscles of the neck

Starting position:

  • Standing on a firm surface
  • Feet shoulder-width apart
  • Legs slightly bent at the knees
  • Clasp your hands and place them on the back of the head so that the elbows are pointing forward



    9022 Press with your hands on your head from back to front
  • Keep your back straight
  • Legs should remain in the starting position
  • You will feel a stretch in the neck muscles


  • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


  • keep your back straight
  • knees should be slightly bent

Pelvis tilt

Stretching of the groin and hip flexors

Starting position:

  • Standing on a firm surface
  • Feet shoulder-width apart
  • Stretch your arms in front of you


  • Keep your back and legs straight
  • Forcefully tilt or “push” 9032 pelvis forward 902 feel the tension in the groin
  • You can increase the tension by moving the pelvis (not the trunk!) slightly to the side


  • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


  • you need to forcefully move / “push” the pelvis forward

Deflection to the side

Stretching of the lateral muscles of the trunk

Starting position:

  • Stand on a firm surface, feet shoulder-width apart
  • Legs slightly bent at the knees
  • Keep your back and head straight
  • With your left hand grasp the handle of a closed door or other stationary object
  • Place your right hand (forearm ) on the right thigh


  • Bend forward
  • Try to keep your arm, neck and torso in line
  • Slightly turn your pelvis to the right, and your torso to the left (as if you are leaning on a curved line)
  • You will feel muscle tension from shoulder to pelvis
Run mode
  • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


  • keep your back straight
  • knees should be slightly bent
  • arms, neck and back should be in line
  • slightly turn the pelvis to the right, and the torso to the left (as if leaning on a curved line)

Forward tilt

Stretching of the lumbar muscles

Starting position:

  • Sitting on a hard surface
  • Bend your knees slightly
  • Do not press your knees together
  • Keep your back, neck and head straight
  • Place your hands on your knees

9000 902 Exercise:

3 Tilt your torso without bending your back and neck

  • Stretch outstretched arms to the tips of your toes
  • You will feel the tension in the muscles of the lower back
  • Runtime:

    • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


    • when bending forward, keep your back straight (also do not bend your neck)
    • bend your legs


    Stretching of the muscles of the lower back, lateral muscles of the abdomen and gluteal muscles

    Starting position:

    • Lying on your back on a firm surface
    • Extend your right leg, bend your left leg and place your left foot on your right knee
    • Place your left arm outstretched on the floor
    • Put your right hand on your left thigh

    9000 Exercise

    • Rotate the left leg to the right (toward the outstretched right leg)
    • At the same time, rotate the torso to the right
    • The left arm should remain on the floor to prevent the rotation of the chest
    • The head should be turned in the opposite direction
    • You will feel tension in the lower back, buttocks and on the outside of the thigh


    • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


    • do not lift your hand off the floor
    • turn your head in the opposite direction


    Stretching the gluteal muscles

    Starting position:

    • Lying on your back on a firm surface
    • Extend your right leg, bend your left leg and place your left foot on your right knee
    • Place your left arm outstretched on the floor
    • Put your right hand on your left thigh

    9000 Exercise

    • Rotate the left leg to the right (toward the outstretched right leg)
    • At the same time, rotate the torso to the right
    • The left arm should remain on the floor to prevent the rotation of the chest
    • The head should be turned in the opposite direction
    • You will feel tension in the lower back, buttocks and on the outside of the thigh

    Dosing regimen:

    • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


    • the lower back must be pressed to the floor

    Reduction of the shoulder blades

    Stretching of the muscles of the shoulder girdle

    Starting position:

    • Sitting on a chair, knees bent at right angles
    • Keep your back and head straight
    • With your left hand, grasp the closed door handle or other stationary object
    • With your free hand, grasp the forearm of your right hand


    • Move your shoulder blades back
    • The neck muscles should be relaxed
    • You will feel a stretch in your back and shoulders
    • The stretch can be increased by moving the left hand closer to the wrist of the right hand

    Dosing regimen:

    • 1 time on each side for 10-15 seconds


    • keep your back straight
    • arm should be extended
    • pull your shoulders back (bring your shoulder blades)

    Diagnostics and treatment

    Types, causes and treatment of back pain


    What exercises to do for back pain – Beauty

    First of all, see a doctor

    Photo: pixabaycom

    Usually aching pains and “shooting” in the spine appear after 40-45 years – by this time the joints become weaker, physical activity decreases and there is a lack of calcium in the body. However, some people, due to sedentary work and the individual characteristics of the body, start to worry about back pain much earlier. We will tell you how to find the true cause and deal with it.

    Complete examination of the body

    The first step is to go to the doctor and talk about the symptoms.Back pain can be caused by both temporary discomfort, for example, a cold or muscle tone, and chronic diseases of the spine in the acute stage. Take a general blood test, which, by the level of leukocytes, will tell the doctor if there is inflammation in the body. Further, the doctor may prescribe an x-ray, an ultrasound examination of the vessels, or a consultation with a massage therapist who will detect muscle tightness. We do not recommend self-medication – even in the most hectic schedule, you can find time for your health.

    Muscle relaxation training

    After the examination, you will find the cause of the pain, which should be taken into account when choosing an activity. If you have no contraindications, sign up for yoga and stretching. Go to class at least 2 times a week to see the result. Warn the trainer that your back hurts: he will tell you about the peculiarities of the exercises. In short, you need to be careful when twisting your body and bending forward. During training, focus on your own feelings – the muscles should stretch, but not hurt.

    Strength training in the gym

    If you do not have a herniated disc and dislocation of the spinal discs, we recommend doing resistance training. The core of your training program should be pelvic exercises – deadlifts, pull-ups, side-pulls. For example, the Roman barbell row, block pull to the belt, pull-ups in the gravitron and from the crossbar with an elastic band, dumbbell extensions to the sides and forward. These exercises use the muscles in your back, shoulder girdle, and arms.Strong muscles will help you maintain your posture, which will ease back pain over time. At first, work out with a trainer who will control the correctness of the technique and select an individual program for you.