Contrary to belief, experiencing low back pain with exercise is NOT a bad thing. Assuming it is not emergent pain, some discomfort with activity is your body letting you know...
If you are doing an exercise and you start to feel some low back pain, the first thing you should do is stop and modify your set up.
This is why your warm up is important. It’s NOT just for getting your heart rate up or to sweat. If that were the case, I would just have all my clients get a parking ticket to get them “warmed up”.
Use your warm-up sets to play with foot position, depth, hand position, etc. to make sure that once you start your working sets, you are ready to go.
Of course, if your lower back is bothering you during your working set, modify positions and see if that will help decrease or take away your discomfort.
Warm-Up Sets: When you perform an exercise with little or no weight to get ready for your working set i.e. Bodyweight Squats or Squats with Barbell
Working Set: When you perform an exercise with the appropriate weight for your program or for the day i.e. Squats with 200lbs
When all else fails, this is when you modify the exercise entirely. For example, if you are doing a push up and it is bothering you. Try to do it on an elevated surface as a modification.
If modifying your positioning does not do the trick. Try to minimize the load. This may be decreasing the weight involved from 40lbs to 20lbs. It may also mean decreasing the repetitions of the exercise from 8 to 6.
I have had clients who can lift 60 lbs for 4 repetitions but anything over that causes pain. So, we minimized to sets of 4 until they were able to move up in reps then weight.
The point of that story is that it was not their lower back that was the problem, it was the load. So, we had to heed the warning from her back and give it time to adapt to that load. Now, 60 lbs is what we use for warm up :)
If you have modified and minimized but things are still not feeling better, this is when you “move along”. Meaning, continue on with exercises that do not cause lower back pain.
This does not mean STOP exercises or moving.
Movement is medicine.
So, if you can’t lunge then do a squat. If you cannot squat, hold a heavy weight and march in place.
There is ALWAYS something that you can do.
Seek Advice From Medical Professional:
Sometimes, all the effort in the world can be made, but you just cannot shake that lower back pain.
If that is the case, this is when the help of a medical professional can be helpful. I am not one to say that you need to see one if you try the prior steps. 8 times out of 10, that is what you need to get back to working out.
That said, if this is the 2 out of 10 when you cannot shake that low back discomfort, you may benefit from a thorough evaluation to determine what the cause of your low back pain is. This will not only help you get rid of it but also prevent it from happening again.
Lower back pain can be debilitating. Don't let it limit you from doing the things that you love any longer.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from lower back pain and you are in the Washington, DC metro area, schedule a FREE Performance Consultation with us to take the next step in finding out the cause of your lower back pain.
All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.