Seven Exercises to Avoid If You Have a Bad Back

Description: Do you have back pain? These are the seven exercises you should never do.

One of the most common reasons why people miss work or go to the doctor is back pain. In fact, back pain was ranked as one of the top 10 diseases and injuries that account for the highest number of disability-adjusted life year (DALYs) per the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study. In highly industrialized countries, the incidence of low back pain is estimated to be at 60 to 70 percent range. In the U.S. at least 80 percent of Americans complain of this condition.

You don’t have to be a senior citizen to be slowed down by a bad back. The World Health Organization says that prevalence rate for children and adolescents is lower than that of adults but it is slowly rising. Back pain prevalence increases between the ages of 35 and 55 years, according to the said organization.

If you always have nagging pain in the back, you naturally don’t want to do exercises that can aggravate the situation. So which exercises should you avoid to protect your back ? Any gym you decide to visit weather it is LA Fitness or Snap Fitness you will see people exercising all kinds of ways. Here are the top exercises you should completely shun if you’re being slowed down by a bad back.

Bent Over Row

The bent over row is a great exercise for strengthening the upper and lower back. It even targets the shoulders and biceps. But it puts a lot of strain on the lower back since there is no support given to that part of the body when you row.

Instead of doing a bent over row, you should settle with single arm dumbbell rows. Or you may want to do reverse pull-ups when you are at a gym like Anytime Fitness.

Back Squats

Back squats are also very dangerous for people who have nagging back injuries. Doing this exercise is particularly risky if you place all of your weight on your back. It can also cause people to round out their backs to compensate for their added weight, which is bad news as it can place a lot of strain on the lower back.

Leg Raises

One of the worst exercises that you can do if you have a bad back is the leg raises. Instead of doing this exercise, do reverse curl-ups which can work on the abs but put less torque on the back.

To do reverse curl-ups, lie flat on your back with your arms extended and the palms down. Bend and raise your knees until they are set at a 90 degree angles to the torso, with your feet off the floor.

Then bring both of your knees to the chest as you lift your hips off the ground. Release and go back to the original position. Repeat.

Straight Leg Deadlift

This exercise should only be avoided if you can’t do it right. When done correctly, it can target your glutes and hamstrings without causing a lot of strain on the lower back. But the problem is that it can be hard to get the form correctly, even for gym rats.

Usually, people have the tendency to round out their backs as they drop the weight. This results to a lot of strain on the back and significantly increasing risks for injury.


Sit-up is one of the more popular exercises for toning the midsection and achieving a six-pack abs. But you’d like to avoid this exercise if you have a bad back because it puts a lot of pressure on the upper and lower backs. There’s also a tendency for you to pull on your neck as you do this exercise, and this thumps the upper back muscles.

Your back pain will also get worse when you do this exercise, because it is likely that your hips will flex to pull your body off the floor so as to complete the movement.

So what should you do in line of sit-ups? Perform planks instead to build a solid core.

Torso Twists

If you want to work on the obliques or side muscles, then you will likely perform torso twists. But you must avoid this exercise in case you have a bad back. It is one of the top spinal stenosis exercises to avoid and even if you have a good back, you should keep the movement controlled and slow. The very fact that you are twisting the upper body while the lower body is kept at the same position would be very bad for your back. The movement can place a lot of strain on the spine and back muscles. Worse, it can result to nerve damage.

Back Hypertensions

This exercise is also referred to as “Supermans.” It is one of the best exercises for the lower back. But then again, you should not do this if you have a nagging back. The inability to maintain a tight form during this exercise can cause a lot of pressure on your back and only worsen your injury.

These are seven of the worst exercises that you should avoid if you have back pain. Don’t force the issue with these exercises, and instead perform alternative workouts that are not as damaging to the back.

Category: Featured