Exercises to Avoid With Back Pain

Back pain is usually caused by weak muscles, as the muscles of the back, abdomen, and buttocks all support the core, according to bigbackpain.com. Performing exercises to strengthen the muscles that support the core can prevent, reduce and eliminate back pain, but there are some exercises that should be avoided so as not to aggravate the pain. Shortened muscles, tight back muscles, tight buttocks muscles, and tight hamstrings affect the alignment of the spine and are the main causes of back pain, particularly in the lower back region. It is important to learn which exercises are safe and effective for people suffering with back pain, and which to avoid.

Contact Sports

According to “Back Pain Expert,” any exercise that involves putting the body in positions of extreme flexion or extension increases the risk of worsening back problems. Contact sports are best to avoid if you have a back injury, as there is the possibility of getting hit by an opponent, causing the weakened muscle to endure a more severe injury. Aggressive sports that involve other team players, bending, running, swinging a bat or racket, or jumping are the types of sports that you should avoid if you have existing back pain.


Weight-lifting is an exercise that will exacerbate existing back pain, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Bending over and lifting weights strain the lower back and cause muscles to shorten and tense up. When lifting any object, it is best to lift by bending your knees and squatting to pick up the object. If you pick up an object or weight while holding the weight away from your body, it is likely that you will engage the back muscles to assist in your lift. If you have back pain and must pick something up, you should keep your back straight and keep the object close to your body, while also avoiding twisting your body.


While it is beneficial to strengthen your abdominal muscles by doing sit-ups, this exercise puts strain on your back muscles and should not be performed if you have back pain, according to BrianMac Sports Coach. Working your abdomen also works the muscles in you back and can cause lower back pain. When you do sit-ups, the motion reduces the natural curve from your lower back, making it flatter, straining your neck muscles, and shortening your abdominal muscles.

About this Author

Amy Pellegrini began writing professionally in 2005 and has since published various articles, press releases, blogs, poems, and features on a number of topics. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.