Back pain is a pretty common issue for most Americans. In fact, almost 80 percent of us will have back pain at some point in our lives. That doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid things at the gym like weightlifting, though. Joel Freeman, Beachbody Super Trainer, passed along a few tips that will come in handy for anyone who has ever experienced lower back pain at the gym.
“When it comes to back injuries, the biggest thing people forget is they’ve got to stretch first and after [strength training],” Joel told POPSUGAR. “You have to limber up when you have back issues. Your nerves get so tensed up that you’ve got to give your body the opportunity to stretch out before you start going into any exercises that will exacerbate the issue. That’s number one.”
Never hit the weights before making sure your body is nice and supple. Dynamic, fluid stretching is the best thing to do before any workout session rather than the longer static stretching.
Joel’s other tip is to “stay away from those exercises that will compress your spine — anything that you’re putting on your back.” That means you should avoid back squats or any other squat variation where you have the weight resting on your back. “You can do a lot of other varieties — front-loaded squat weight, and you can use the leg press machine that isn’t compressing the spine,” Joel advised. “Stay away from the squat rack. It’s just not necessary at this point.”
This is especially important “when your core’s not strong enough to support those things,” according to Joel. So in addition to following these two tips from Joel, it’s a great idea to work on strengthening your core.