You have chronic lower-back pain that inhibits you from performing big moves like deadlifts and bench presses.


Research shows exercise is more beneficial for alleviating lower-back pain (LBP) than rest, so merely taking off a couple of weeks from the gym may not help much. But neither will gritting your teeth and training through the pain.

According to Carwyn Sharp Ph.D., C.S.C.S., chief science officer of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, your first step should be to see a medical professional who has experience. “While most people have LBP of unknown cause or origin, others may have a structural or trauma-induced issue with their vertebrae, nerves associated with the spine, or the spinal cord itself. This is not the time to man up—a serious back injury can hurt you for the rest of your life.”

Once you’re cleared to train, Sharp recommends integrating exercises to increase your gluteal, lower-back, and abdominal strength (e.g., plank progressions, glute-ham raises, Supermans, etc.) into your program, as well as incorporating trunk, hip-flexor, and hip-extensor mobility moves.


Don’t sit too much. “Sitting for long periods of time may contribute to or exacerbate your back pain,” Sharp says. “So get up and move throughout the day. Go get some water and walk the stairs for five minutes every half-hour.” 

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