Exercising on a regular basis always requires dedication, but if you’re suffering from chronic back pain, then getting yourself to work out is even more of a challenge. There are so many exercises that are part of a standard routine that can exacerbate discomfort, and so many others that can alleviate pain. Which is which is not always obvious: it’s easy to go through a series of exercises, end up in pain, and then give up on the whole idea.
To help you know which exercises are making things worse and which can provide improvement, we’ve put together the following quick guide to the best and worst exercises for back pain. The best are the ones that strengthen your core, get your blood flowing, and get you moving. The worst put stress on your lower back and lead to or exacerbate disc injuries. Read and learn what to eliminate and what to add, and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying your workout routine again.
Lower Back Exercises: Worst and Best
The worst lower body exercise for those with back pain is the back squat, and the best is called the Zercher Squat. The back squat is bad for people with lower back pain because their mobility is already limited, and that leads to the pelvis compensating for the lack of movement at the shoulder. It forces you to shift your weight across your core, putting all of the stress on your lower back.
The better alternative is the Zercher squat, which starts with a barbell at waist height, and moves through a bend at the hips and knees to a squat without bending your torso. It’s a front-loaded version of a squat that allows you to maintain a neutral spine.
Abs Exercise: Worst and Best
The worst abs exercise for those with back pain is also one of the most popular: it’s the plank, and it’s a staple of every exercise class and home abs routine. You can do planks without hurting yourself, but only if you maintain the appropriate position, with your glutes contracted and your tailbone tucked under. Do this and you strengthen your core — that’s the goal of the exercise. Fail and you put painful strain on your lower back.
Working out doesn’t need to be a painful burden on your back. Choose the right exercises and maintain the right form and you’ll end up stronger and healthier.
If you have chronic back pain and need additional help, contact our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey today to set up a time for a consultation.