Working out is an important aspect of staying healthy. As we get older and back pain becomes more prevalent, we are often told certain exercises help prevent or alleviate that pain. On the other hand, some exercises can actually make the problem worse. Whether it’s bad form or generally puts stress on your back, here are 4 exercises you should try to avoid if you’re worried about hurting your back.
Planks are great for working your core muscles but bad form can put unnecessary stress on your lower back. Because of how difficult the plank position can be, some people have a tendency to allow their hips to sag which in turn hyperextends your spine. Instead, focus on keeping your shoulders in line with your hips. Doing so will keep you from overarching your back and receiving the greatest benefits from the exercise.
In some ways, push ups are a form of plank that adds in some upper body movement. For that reason, it’s important to carry over the good form you’d use during planks when you’re knocking out those push ups. Some tips to avoid putting stress on your lower back are stopping at the transition points to check your posture as well as doing push ups in front of a mirror. Do both and you minimize your risk considerably.
There are several types of lunges but they have similar pitfalls if you’re not careful. People have a tendency to let their knees cave inward during lunges which puts undue stress on your hips and lower back. For best results, flex your abdomen and take special care to keep your spine in a neutral alignment.
While you might not associate pull ups with back pain, there is real risk involved. As you begin to pull yourself upwards, there is a tendency to push your hips in front of you, extending your spine and putting your lower back in harm’s way. Instead, push your knees a bit in front of your hips while you’re pulling yourself up, focusing on always keeping a natural, neutral alignment in your back.