How effective a workout routine is at getting you in shape is largely determined by proper positioning. If you perform the exercise using correct form, then you’ll get the desired result without hurting your spine. If you demonstrate poor posture, however, you may find that your back will suffer even if you are a corporate athlete. Below we list five of these pain inducing workout routines to stay away from.
Straight Leg Deadlift
If you execute the straight-leg deadlift as it should be, then you’ll find that it is perfect for working out almost all of the major muscle groups in one single lift. Do it wrong, however, then all the weight will rest squarely on the back, and the muscles do not benefit at all.
- The Wrong Way. Allowing the spine to curve while lifting. Can you say, Ouch!?!?
- The Right Way. Keep the core tight and straighten the spine which will place it in a pain-free position. When lifting the weight higher than the knees, use the core and the hips to draw the weight upwards.
Double Leg Raises
Double leg raises also put a tremendous amount of pressure on the back. When the legs are raised, the back is inevitably curved. The weight from the legs then grinds the spine into the floor. Even if you are using cushioned mats, you are likely to feel some form of discomfort. This pain continues without interruption as the legs are raised and lowered.
- The Wrong Way. Allowing the legs to freely raise and lower with no support whatsoever under the back.
- The Right Way. There really is no 100% ‘right’ way to do this exercise as each body is different. A correct technique, however, would be to place your hands underneath your lower back or butt for a little extra support. Lift the legs and return them to the floor in a controlled and slow manner. Even better, try lifting one leg at a time.
Yes, we know that the military still enforces standard sit ups as a part of their training regiment. Science, however, has proven over and again that traditional sit ups are horrible for your back and workout trainers agree. In fact, placing your hands behind your head places an unnatural strain on your neck, shoulders and upper back, while gravity is pulling down on your lower back. There’s no question that sit ups are great for the abs, yet, the reality is that only 20% of your mid-section benefits from the exercise.
- The Wrong Way. Standard sit ups and crunches are all bad. Stop doing them.
- The Right Way. Opt for a well-positioned plank. Practice impeccable form and see how long you can hold yourself up. Not only will your abs thank you for it, but several other muscle groups as well, and you won’t have to compromise the health of your back.
For many a powerlifter, the squat is sacrosanct - and deservedly so. Like many of the other exercises on this list, the squat works wonders for the entire body. But therein lies the problem. The rest of the body is either not ready for such heavy dead weight, or the weightlifter is not using proper form. Bad form + excessive weight = recipe for a bad back.
- The Wrong Way. Placing too much weight on a curved back and a caved in chest. The lower back will feel it almost instantly
- The Right Way. The perfect squat is not only attainable but highly beneficial. If you’re a beginner, then start with light weight until you have achieved proper posture. Keep your feet at hip-width. Keep your head up and facing forward, your chest projected outward, and concentrate all of the weight on the heels. Make sure the upper leg is parallel to the floor and keep your knees positioned behind your toes. Always keep the spine in a neutral position to eliminate direct pressure. Only add weight once you’ve mastered the technique.
The old standby has stood the test of time as yet another great full-body exercise. As with all of the other exercises on this list, it all comes down to proper placement of the body directly over the floor. Without correct form, you are doing your back more harm than good.
- The Wrong Way. Allowing your core to droop or arch along with butt. The elbows are flared out and the hips move up and down with the motion. You will eventually feel pain both the back and shoulders as well as the lower neck at times.
- The Right Way. Just the opposite. Keep a tight core, tuck the pelvis in and keep your spine level at all times. Position your body so that your head, back, and butt are all in a straight line. Tuck in your elbows for support, and keep the hips level with the rest of the body.
Are You Currently Experiencing Back Pain
If you exercise routine is triggering pain in your lower or upper back, shoulder, or neck, then it’s time for you to visit Bomberg Chiropractic. We specialize in chiropractic care as well as movement based massage and hydro massage therapy. All of these are designed to work out your back pain. We can also give you suggestions on how to properly workout so that you protect and preserve your spine. Call us today at 763-450-1755. Our office is located right here in New Hope, Minnesota.