5 Workouts To Avoid With Lower Back Pain, Because We Know The Struggle Is Real
You know the feeling: You're halfway through a challenging workout, you kind of want to submit to the sweet release of death in a puddle of your own sweat, but you're hanging on because you're actually really proud of yourself for #KillingIt. Then suddenly, your lower back feels like a giant rhinoceros plopped his big butt down on top of you. Seriously though, an aching lower back is the worst, and it can be so debilitating as you go about the rest of your day, which is why it's crucial to know which workouts to avoid with lower back pain so you don't fuel the fire any further.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, over 30 million Americans struggle with lower back pain on the reg, so yeah, you are far from alone on this one, fam. Some cases can be more serious than others (such as osteoporosis, or a major injury to the lower back), but oftentimes, lower back pain is caused by something as mundane as sitting hunched over a desk for hours on end. Perhaps that rings a bell? For many, it totally does, and the technical name for the pain is "extension syndrome."
While the right kind of movement can be incredibly therapeutic and healing to your lower back, the wrong workouts can easily turn an aching back into a full-on, throbbing disaster that leaves you couch-ridden for days. Here are five workouts you should probably avoid whenever your lower back is acting up.
1. Uphill Treadmill Trudges
I see you, walking on that treadmill incline, trying to make those #BootyGains. But, girl, this type of workout is doing no favors for your lower back, and the stress on your hammies can create an aggressive amount of strain in your lumbar region.
A good alternative here is to try the StairMaster instead of the treadmill. The use of your quadriceps and hip girdle muscles will protect your spine, and your lower back will thank you for it.
2. Crunches On Crunches On Crunches
If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, it's probably in your best interest to say goodbye to crunches in your workout. (TBH, I'm sure you're not that sad to see them go.)
The momentum required to go from chillin' on the floor to an upright position tends to put too much of a strain on your lower back, which can potentially lead to even more severe pain than you were experiencing before.
However, it's important to keep in mind here that your back troubles could actually be caused by a weak core, so don't think you should skip out on ab workouts altogether. Instead of crunches, try incorporating loads of plank variations into your routine to strengthen your abdominals and support your spine.
3. Lifting Weights Above Your Head
I know you might love working out that upper bod (anyone else think toned arms and shoulders are sexy AF?), but doing so could be compromising your lower back more than you realize.
Lifting weights over your head can lead to compression in your spine, causing a major flare-up in your already achy symptoms.
Try doing moves that stay below the head, like bicep curls and lateral raises. Anything that stays level with your heart will let you continue with your fitness goals, without aggravating your pissed off lumbar region.
4. Certain Yoga Poses
Yoga is honestly an incredible remedy for lower back pain, but there are some moves you'll want to avoid like the plague if your aches are acting up.
Break up with forward folding and intense backbends for the time being, as they'll only aggravate your symptoms. Instead, try a supine hamstring stretch to open up tight hammies and release tension in your lower back.
5. Any Workout That Involves Burpees
Burpees shouldn't be making an appearance in your fitness routine if you're dealing with an achy back. (First crunches, now burpees? Don't you love me right now?)
If you're searching for a HIIT replacement for this body-burning move, you can try performing high-speed intervals on the elliptical as an alternative.