Lower Back Pain? Avoid These Weightlifting Exercises!

Weightlifting is a physically demanding sport that requires strength, discipline, and proper technique. However, it’s not uncommon for athletes to experience lower back pain, a nagging discomfort that can hinder performance and disrupt training routines.

While specific exercises can help alleviate lower back pain, others can exacerbate it. Knowing which exercises to avoid can help prevent further injury and promote healing.

So what are the movements you need to avoid? Why should one avoid those movements? Keep reading to find out.

Why Avoid Certain Weightlifting Exercises

Lower back pain takes place due to various possible factors. These include poor posture, muscle strain, sprain, or even herniated discs. When you lift weights, you are placing additional stress on your lower back, which can exacerbate any existing issues.

Risks of Continuing to Lift Weights with Lower Back Pain

If you continue to lift weights with lower back pain, you risk further injury. Not only can you worsen your existing condition, but you may also develop new injuries. For example, if you possess a herniated disc and continue lifting weights, you may cause the disc to rupture, leading to severe pain and even paralysis.

To avoid these risks, avoid specific weightlifting exercises that can aggravate your lower back pain. These include activities that place a lot of stress on your lower back, such as deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses. Instead, focus on exercises that hone your core and lower back muscles without placing undue stress on your spine.

By avoiding specific weightlifting exercises and focusing on exercises that train your core and lower back muscles, you can reduce your risk of further injury and help alleviate your lower back pain.

Weight Lifting Exercises to Avoid

Be careful with weightlifting exercises if your lower back is in pain. Here are some exercises you should avoid:


Deadlifts put a lot of pressure on your lower back. If you have lower back pain, avoiding deadlifts altogether is best. Instead, try exercises like glute bridges or hip thrusts, which can work your glutes and hamstrings without pressuring your lower back too much.


Squats are another exercise that can be tough on your lower back. If you have lower back pain, it’s best to avoid heavy squats or any squat variation that requires you to hold weight on your shoulders. Instead, try goblet squats or bodyweight squats, which can still work your legs without putting as much pressure on your lower back.

Good Mornings

Good mornings are a popular exercise for working your hamstrings and lower back, but they can be dangerous if you have lower back pain. Instead, try exercises like hamstring curls or Romanian deadlifts, which can work your hamstrings without putting as much pressure on your lower back.

Bent Over Rows

Bent-over rows are great for working your upper back, but they can put a lot of strain on your lower back if you’re not careful. If you have lower back pain, it’s best to avoid bent-over rows or any other exercise requiring you to lift the weight. Instead, try exercises like seated rows or pull-ups, which can still work your upper back without pressuring your lower back too much.


Leg Presses

Leg presses can be an excellent exercise for building leg strength but can also greatly pressure your back. If you have lower back pain, it’s best to avoid leg presses or any other exercise that have you sit or lie down and lift weights with your legs. Instead, try exercises like lunges or step-ups, which can work your legs without putting as much pressure on your lower back.

Remember, if you have lower back pain, you must be careful with weightlifting exercises. Know your limits and avoid any activity that causes pain or discomfort.

Alternative Exercises

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, avoid exercises that stress your spine excessively. But worry not; there are still a lot of other exercises designed to build strength and improve your fitness. Here are five alternative activities you can do.

Glute Bridges

These are a great way to hone your glutes, hamstrings, and core without putting any pressure on your lower back.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay on your back.
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Bend your knees
  4. Raise your hips up toward above.
  5. Squeeze your glutes.
  6. Reverse the movement by lowering your hips to the beginning position.

Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are similar to glute bridges but require a bench or step to elevate your upper back. This exercise works on your glutes and hamstrings while minimizing stress on your lower back. To perform a hip thrust,

  1. Sit on the ground.
  2. Lay your back against a bench or step.
  3. Place a barbell across your hips.
  4. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling
  5. Squeeze your glutes at the climax of the movement.
  6. Go back to the initial position.


Performing this is a great way to hone strength in your legs and improve balance without putting any pressure on your lower back. To perform a step-up,

  1. Stand in front of a bench.
  2. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart.
  3. Step up onto the bench or whatever stool you have with one foot.
  4. Bring your other foot up.
  5. Step back down with one foot, whichever it is.


Doing this is a great way to build core strength without putting pressure on your lower back. To perform a plank, start in a push-up position while your arms are straight, and your hands are shoulder-width apart.

Lower your forearms to the ground and hold your body straight from your head to your heels. Hold for as long as you can, then rest and repeat.

By incorporating these alternative exercises into your workout routine, you can continue to build strength and improve your fitness while minimizing the risk of lower back pain.

Preventing Lower Back Pain While Weight Lifting

So how do you prevent back pain in the first place when you lift weights? Here are some areas you need to tick a checkmark on.

Proper Form and Technique

When weightlifting, it is essential to maintain proper form and technique to avoid lower back pain. Ensure your back remains straight and your core is engaged throughout the exercise. Use a bearable weight to maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise.


Gradual Progression

Progress step by step, and avoid pushing yourself too hard when weightlifting. This will help prevent lower back pain and reduce the risk of injury. Remember to know your limits and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.

Stretching and Warm-Up Exercises

Stretching and warm-up exercises are crucial before weightlifting. They help prepare your muscles for exercise and reduce the risk of injury. Focus on stretching your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.


Incorporating weightlifting exercises into your fitness routine can benefit overall health and strength, but be cautious if you have lower back pain. By avoiding certain exercises that put excessive strain on your lower back, you can prevent further injury and discomfort.

You, as long with proper form and technique, can safely perform weightlifting exercises that will help you achieve your fitness goals without compromising your lower back health.

By avoiding exercises like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses and instead focusing on exercises like planks, glute bridges, and leg curls, you can effectively target your muscles while protecting your lower back. Additionally, incorporating stretching and foam rolling into your routine can help alleviate any tightness or discomfort in your lower back.

With the right approach and mindset, weightlifting can be safe, even if you have lower back pain. By being mindful of your body and avoiding certain exercises, you can achieve your fitness goals while maintaining a healthy lower back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still lift weights if I have lower back pain?

Yes. However, you’re better off not lifting weights with pain in your back. Consider working with a certified personal trainer.

What are some weightlifting exercises to avoid lower back pain?

There are certain weightlifting exercises that can put unnecessary strain on your lower back and exacerbate your pain. These include deadlifts, squats, leg presses, good mornings, and Romanian deadlifts.

Perform exercises that hone your core and lower back muscles without putting excessive stress on your spine. These include planks, bird dogs, glute bridges, hip thrusts, and cable rotations.

How can I modify weight lifting exercises to accommodate my lower back pain?

You can either use lighter weights, decrease your range of motion, use machines instead of free weights, or place a support under your feet to reduce the angle of your hips.

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