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It’s hard to think about any negatives or drawbacks when it comes to exercising. After all, it’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of activity each week to maintain good health. And, of course, we would never tell anyone not to exercise. It should be a part of your daily routine. There are countless benefits to physical activity, so make sure you’re doing something that works for you.

But, not all exercises are created equally. If you have a bad back, certain types of workouts or even individual moves could be contributing to your pain. 

We’ve talked before about some of the best exercises for those with a bad back. But, what about the worst? Could you be exacerbating your back pain with the exercises you’re doing each day? 

Let’s take a look at some specific moves you should be avoiding if you want to stop back pain before it starts.


Sit-ups are one of the most classic exercises you can do. While they might be good for your abs, they are incredibly hard on your back. They put a lot of pressure on your discs, which can create excess pain for even the healthiest of individuals. Plus, they only work about 20% of your abdominal muscles. You’re better off trying a different ab exercise.


Squats are great for your glutes and can help to strengthen your legs. But, they can be hard on your back, especially when they’re done with improper form. Until you’re sure you’re doing squats the right way, opt for wall sits that will support your back as you try to strengthen your glutes and legs. 


Most people know that running can be hard on your feet and knees, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your back. It’s the pounding of your feet, especially on pavement, that creates pressure on your discs and could even cause them to become inflamed or “slip”. If the pain becomes too bad, you might need to see an experienced professional, like Dr Ian Edwards Chiropractor

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope is a great way to get a quick cardiovascular workout in. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, so it can break up the boringness of traditional workout routines and help you to feel like a child again. 

But, once you’ve finished your workout, you probably won’t be feeling very childlike with serious back pain. 

Like running, jumping rope puts a lot of pressure on your back, every time your feet hit the ground. It’s a harsh exercise that might be fun in the moment but could leave you in a lot of pain in the days that follow. 

While you don’t need to avoid these exercises completely, keep them in mind if you tend to struggle with back pain. By finding alternatives or only doing them periodically, you can manage your pain and work on strengthening your back, rather than causing it to hurt. Focus on the exercises that are actually good for your back, and you can put together a fitness routine that will leave you feeling great.


  1. Really good point to look at the exercises that could be making back problems worse, even without us realising it. Pre-illness days, I used to do a lot of sit-ups and ab crunches. I’m not sure I’d want to risk a single one now with my stoma. I used to do some squats too but pretty much all exercise went by the wayside with illness and fatigue. I have done some gentle squats though but specific ones that the physiotherapist suggested to help strengthen my hip muscles and back. It helps strengthen muscles, but does nothing to help nerve damage sadly. Still, it’s important to get specialist advice on these sorts of things like you say because there are ways of doing it that might help, and ways that might just make things worse. xx


    1. Thanks, glad you liked the post. I am sooooo like you after four spinal surgeries to lumber and cervical I could do serious damage if I tried any exercise not approved by my pain team so I just try to walk daily but the recent weather has put a stop to that 🙁 stay safe and take care. Xx


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