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Back to Back problems! Working out with a bad back.

Back Pain

Hello readers! Let’s get buffed out!

First and foremost, I am not a personal trainer, doctor, or chiropractor, nor have I ever claimed to be one; I am only a workout and nutrition enthusiast who loves to share ideas and information pulled from experiences and articles/books. Please take my perspective on this matter with a grain of salt and consult with your physician before pushing your body in an unsafe manner.

We have all heard people say something along the lines of, “I can’t workout. I have a bad back.” Not to take anything away from these people; they may very well have serious back issues that prevent them from committing to physical exercise, but I have learned that when there is a will, there is a way. The fact is that there is always a way to work AROUND any kind of injury. There is always an alternative to exercises that cause discomfort to someone who has these types of issues. So, good news! If you are someone who struggles with chronic back pain or other back issues, here are some tips to working through it.

  1. WORKOUT IN A POOL: If you’re someone who enjoys being in the water, awesome! Being in a pool decreases the pressure that you put on your joints, especially on your back, since you are floating and not putting the full weight of your body on your spine. By signing up for a water aerobics class or going to the local rec pool and completing a good swimming workout, you’ll still be building muscle, increasing your lung capacity, and burning a TON of calories.
  2.  USE LIFTING MACHINES: If you are an avid lifter who just doesn’t want to put the weights down to give your back a rest, try to keep your workouts exclusive to the machines. Although they aren’t as fun as free weights, sitting machines allow you to isolate muscle groups without forcing your core to keep proper posture throughout the workout. Sure, many people loves the deadlift, powerclean, bench press, and back squat, but when you have back issues, utilizing these lifts in your workout is not very beneficial, especially if you are lacking in the proper technique. Again, stick to the machines, and your back should be free from pain.
  3. SPINNING!: Personally, I don’t like spinning classes; to me they are boring, monotonous, and kind of uncomfortable (looking at you tiny seats!), but some people love spinning, and more power to them! Spinning allows you to get the biking experience without putting your body in harms way on trails or the roads, where potholes and such would cause your back discs to shift suddenly. Instead, stationary biking keeps you in one safe location with a (hopefully) certified instructor. As long as you keep correct posture on the bike and take breaks when needed, you should be able to do this without any hiccups.
  4. CARDIO MACHINE!: For all you cardio bunnies out there with back issues, running on pavements, grass, and even treadmills puts much unnecessary pressure on your spine, so does jumping rope and aerobics! Instead of doing something that requires you to “bounce”, use stationary machines such as the elliptical, stair-master, or Jacob’s ladder (if it’s available). These machines allow you to get that aerobic exercise that you love so dearly, without the risks of further ruining your back!
  5. BASIC YOGA: Because of the stress that more advanced yoga positions can put on one’s back, it is best to stick with basic yoga positions such as the mountain pose, warrior, child’s pose, triangle pose, half-moon, and legs-up-the-wall! As you strengthen your back, you could consult with your physician and (hopefully) certified yoga instructor about attempting more advanced poses!

Thanks for reading everyone! Please remember to share and comment on anything you would like to know or see in the future.