A question I get a lot is why does exercise make my back pain worse? Or is exercise good for my back?
The answer for the most part is that yes, exercise is great for your back, but it is important you do things
safely and correctly. Here are some reasons why you might be exercising incorrectly and how to address
1. You think you have good technique, but you don’t.
It can be difficult to know if you are doing exercises correctly. Often an exercise can feel hard, so
we assume it is good and we are doing it correctly. However, we might not be getting the benefits
we should. If our joints are in a poor position when exercising, it can stress the back and make us
use the wrong muscle.
Look at the photo of the high plank above. The back is arched too much. This might feel hard but
it is using the back muscles rather than the core muscles. Deadlifts and squats can be similar it is
important to push the hips back and keep the chest up to make sure you are not stressing the
back but really working the glutes and hips. The BackAware Belt gives you feedback on your
position through the APP or by the belt gently vibrating when you are in a poor position so you
can learn how to lift and exercise correctly.
2. You constantly do the same routine.
You need balance in your program. If you are constantly doing the same exercises or focusing on
the same areas, it may lead to muscle imbalance that could lead to problems. Make sure you
balance push exercises like press ups and bench press with pull exercises. Include some
flexibility and core work in your gym or exercise routine also.
3. You are lifting too heavy based on your capacity.
I am all for lifting heavy and building maximal strength but you need to build up to this in a phased
approach. There are two goals you need to have achieved before you try and focus on maximal
strength. The first key goal to achieve is good movement. You should have good movement at
your hip and ankles and good core stability. This provides a foundation to increase weight to the
The second goal should be improving a term called work capacity or anatomical adaptation. Both
of these terms essentially relate to preparing your body for gym/strength training. You should be
comfortable doing squats, deadlift patterns and push and pull exercises for 15 to 15 reps
before trying to lift heavier for more reps.
This is needed so that your body builds a robustness to be able for the weight and loads you are
trying to lift and doesn’t break down.
These are some tips for better gym workouts. Sign up for our book and we give a video tutorial on
correct technique for all the key gym exercises.