It seems almost anyone over the age of 25 has dealt with back pain in one way or another. Whether it’s from just picking something up improperly or being in one position for long periods of time, or having an injury from a sport or accident.
There is a very real chance that back pain will be a part of your life
at some point, but you can minimize the chances of it being part of your workout by avoiding these five common workout mistakes.
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1. Over Extending The Lower Back
Extension patterns can be seen in these photos.
Extension most often occurs when we either don’t have the stability to hold a neutral position which causes us to use extension to stabilize with bone on bone contact, or we don’t have enough mobility so we use extension to compensate.
Both examples will eventually lead to back pain. To fix this you need to focus on learning to keep a neutral spine. A good drill to help you find neutral is the Dead Bug.
2. Picking Up Weights Improperly
Most people tend to pick things up in the fastest, easiest way possible, instead of focusing on keeping a flat back. Unfortunately, the fastest, easiest way is often done by bending over at the lower back.
Instead, practice sitting back into your hips and standing up while you keep your spine neutral.
3. Setting Down Weights Improperly
Very similar to number two, setting weights down improperly can also lead to back pain. This is most often seen in exercises that require you to place the weight back on the ground when you are done like: deadlifts, lunges, carries, etc. To fix this, remember to sit back into your hips while keeping a flat back.
Don’t just bend over with weights in your hands, that is just asking for an injury!
4. Not Leading with the Hips
When doing lifts like the deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, and Hip Thrusts it is easy to let your lower back do a lot of the lifting in these exercises. This is often due to you starting the movement by lifting your shoulders and then pushing your hips through instead of starting the movement by pushing hips through and lifting your shoulder at the same time.
A cue that I find helpful for this is thinking “lead with the hip”
5. Rotating Through the Back
When performing exercises that require you to rotate, like Med Ball Tosses and core work that has rotation, most people will gain the rotation through their lower back. This,over time, will result in an injury in the low back. The lower back is not designed to go through large degrees of rotation.
When performing rotation think of your shoulders and hips being attached to one another. If your hips move, your shoulders will move as well. Where you get in trouble is when your hips stay still and your shoulders and lower back do all the movement.
In the end, if you are able to avoid extreme end ranges of the spine (bending over, extending at the lower back, and rotation) your back will be happier.
So, avoid these five mistakes next time you are in the gym.
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